Critics Choice VI: On Collectivity - Atlantique

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During the International Film Festival Rotterdam (22 January - 2 February 2020) Mati Diop's

beautiful film Atlantique (2019) was shown. See here for a trailer. Dutch release 13 February 2020.

As part of the Critics Choice program I made a video essay for this film that can be watched here

See for the full Critics Choice program, curated by Dana Linssen and Jan Pieter Ekker,

IFFR's website or the flyer.


Poëzie van Buitengewone Perceptie

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2 december 2019, 16.30 uur:

Tijdens haar residency in Eye ging Pisters op zoek naar beelden die ‘het onzichtbare verbeelden’ en beelden die ‘innerlijke percepties’ weerspiegelen. Films waarin de grens tussen werkelijkheid en fictie vervaagt en categorieën als ‘normaal’ en ‘abnormaal’, 'zin' en 'waanzin' in elkaar overvloeien.In het eerste deel van haar presentatie vertelt Pisters over haar onderzoek in de Eye-collectie, waaruit blijkt dat dat onze opvattingen over normale en buitengewone of waanzinnige perceptie nogal zijn verschoven.

Bij haar zoektocht stuitte de hoogleraar op het werk van beeldend kunstenaar en experimenteel filmmaker Ansuya Blom, van wie het filmmuseum recentelijk een aantal films heeft verworven. Blom laat zich onder meer inspireren door het werk van Sylvia Plath, Richard Pryor en Franz Kafka, schrijvers die de innerlijke belevingswereld tot uitgangspunt nemen. Pisters gaat met de kunstenaar in gesprek over haar werk en laat vijf van de door Eye geacquireerde films zien: Lady Lazarus (1984), Amazing Grace (1989), Joe Faces (1995), Hither Come Down on Me (2007) en Lola Magenta (2018). Zie ook de website van EYE.

A Trail of Blood Cinepoetics Lecture at Arsenal

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CfP "Intelligence" Special Issue NECSUS

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Necsus Spring 2020 #Intelligence Call for Submissions

Guest edited by Patricia Pisters (University of Amsterdam) and Ruggero Eugeni (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milano).

The advent of new algorithms of machine learning and AI is producing a profound revolution in societies: indeed, the ‘algorithmic turn’ involves cultural, cognitive, emotional, and practical layers of everyday life; from this point of view, AI directly concern cinema and media at almost three levels. Read further at Necsus online.

Media as Pharmakon: Mental Health in the Digital Age

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18 April 2019: Spui25 in cooperation with the Amsterdam Research Institute of the Arts and Sciences

Are digital media like narcotic drugs? Such comparisons have become increasingly common in the rampant discussion on smartphone and technology addiction. In his book 'Plato’s Pharmacy' (1968) philosopher Jacques Derrida discusses the ambiguity of the “pharmakon”, designating both poison and medicine, depending on context and individual differences. Can our contemporary media be seen as pharmaka for our mental health? For the 5th session of the “SAY AAHH!” series Amir Vudka, Patricia Pisters and Marlies Brouwer will discuss their ongoing work on this topic. In the field of psychiatry, articles appear about smartphone technology in obsessive compulsive behavior (OCD) and depression; burn-out and other mental health problems in youth are increasingly related to digital media culture. At the same time media in themselves are never just the only cause. Furthermore there is an increase in the use of all kind of media technologies (apps, VR) to diagnose and even treat these new types of mental wounds. So how can we discuss both the positive and negative effects of media in relation to mental health? The speakers for the 5th session of the “SAY AAHH!” series provide short lectures, which are followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

About the speakers

Amir Vudka is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Media Studies of the University of Amsterdam. He is a film programmer at Theater De Nieuwe Regentes (The Hague), and the artistic director of Sounds of Silence Festival for silent film and contemporary music. He has published extensively on film and philosophy. 

Patricia Pisters is professor of Film at the Department of Media Studies of the University of Amsterdam. Currently she is scholar in residence at EYE Film Institute and research fellow at Cinepoetics at the Freie Universität Berlin. 

Marlies Brouwer is a researcher and psychologist at Amsterdam UMC, location AMC. She coordinates the new Transitiecentrum voor Affectieve Stoornissen (TAS), an outpatient clinic for young adults with depression, and investigates the use of e-health, wearables, biological measures, and using new technologies in the clinic.

War and the Screen Machine: Film Lecture

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War and the Screen Machine: Film Lecture by Patricia Pisters

9 mei 2019: EYE Film Institute. See interview about this presentation here.

In his book War and Cinema, Paul Virilio has shown how military technologies of enhancing perception and logistics of warfare have developed in pair with cinema and entertainment media. Ranging from colour film during the Second World War to video games and drone operations in more recent times, there is a tight link between war and media technologies.

In her lecture, Patricia Pisters will sketch an overview of the most recent developments in the tight bonds between war and media. She will discuss different media strategies to ‘cover’ the war, ranging from causing a massive shift in public opinion through television coverage during the Vietnam War, to an almost disappearance of the actual war in favour of television images (the emergence of CNN’s 24/7 coverage of the first Gulf War in 1990-1991), to warfare as a ‘battle of screens’ in our contemporary networked social media culture, where war diaries of soldiers on the battlefield, surveillance images, embedded journalist reports, documentaries, vlogs and other media strategies are part and parcel of the battlefield and the refraction of point of views that fight for attention.

The lecture will be illustrated with extended clips from various war films such as Brian De Palma’s Redacted, a film that is entirely told via different types of screens and shows many of the challenges and implications of modern mediated warfare. Besides the ways in which modern war tactics involve media, special attention will also be paid to the traumatic and post-traumatic effects of these (mediated) experiences, and the extents to which such films as The Hurt LockerStop-LossIn the Valley of Elah and Standing Operating Procedure address these after effects. While we see that the human eye (and entire body and mind) is placed at an increasing distance in the war machine, what will happen when ‘screen machines’ will start to think and act for themselves in AI weaponized future battles?