What is Cinema?

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Seminar Film & Philosophy

Directed by Josef Früchtl, Christoph Lindner and Patricia Pisters
Coordinator: Philipp Schmerheim

Fridays 3-6 pm:
2011: October 7, November 4, December 2
2012: February 3,March 2, April 13, May 11, June 8 

Cinema has died many times. With the invention of every new technology, its funeral was arranged repeatedly: the introduction of sound, the emergence of television, the video tape  and digital technology all stirred debates about the end of cinema. 

In today’s culture of mobile screens and social media, cinema is challenged once more. Some argue that cinema will only survive virtually, in the museum or on the web, as art or as information. Others consider the moving image on screen as the fundamental medium of the modern age with the film screen at its origin; or focus on the fundamental relation between cinema, movement, and thinking. Although very often a technological change is at the basis of a changed conception of the cinematographic image, the questions around cinema and film go beyond any technological determinism. Questions of realism, aesthetics, and ideology have always been profoundly related to any theory or definition of cinema or the cinematographic. 

This year’s Phd seminar will look at the triple question “What is cinema? What was cinema? What will cinema be?” from different angles. Of course we will revisit Andre Bazin’s seminal text of the 1950s “What is cinema?” where he proposes actually several answers to this seemingly simple question. But many other questions will be addressed as well: the indexical relationship to reality seems to be replaced by a performative one;  ideological cinema has made room for political film (often used by non-professional groups and individuals) in a DIY aesthetics. And how is the moving-image still connected to movement in thinking as film-philosophy? Is there a special relation between cinema and the body, cinema and the brain? We will address all these questions and more by looking at the ways in which we have encountered the cinematic in the past, where and how we see film in the present, and muse about its future destinations. 

If you want to participate, please contact the organizers and coordinator of the seminar. Details of the program will be send to you.