Screen Media and Theory Workshop: Uncertainty, Turbulence and Moving Image Archives

Convened by Dr Annie Ring (University College London) and Dr Lucy Bollington (University College London)

This workshop will explore how experimental film and other screen media practices have engaged with concepts of uncertainty and turbulence through their use of found and mixed footage and other archival material from the mid twentieth century to the present day.

Uncertainty and turbulence are two of the defining experiences of late modernity. Despite the technological changes of the digital revolution making increasingly vast amounts of knowledge available, new possibilities for data manipulation and anxieties about a post-truth era are combining to produce a historical moment more knowledgeable and yet more uncertain than ever before. Given this context, the dubious place of the archive as authoritative store of knowledge has seemingly reached its lowest point, and yet screen media practices have continued to turn to archives of different kinds in order to grapple with uncertainties and turbulence in their aesthetic forms. At this workshop, we will reflect on contemporary phenomena of uncertainty and turbulence from a range of formal and theoretical perspectives, conceptualising these terms in relation to issues such as postproduction, post-representation, the attention economy and shifting ideas about data, the crowd and the commons. In so doing, we will place particular emphasis on how screen media work produces novel pathways into thinking about and refashioning notions of uncertainty and turbulence, and ideas about the archive in the contemporary era. The talks by academics and artists and a theoretical discussion session with pre-circulated readings will address the use of moving image archives in new screen media, including postcinema, art film and web based narratives, as well as looking back to lost footage from resistant filmmaking projects and the use of the moving image in recent alt-right media practices.