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Videographic Criticism: Aesthetics and Methods of the Video Essay

Videographic Criticism

Videographic Criticism
Image Credit: Photo by Skye Studios on Unsplash

Symposium | Friday, 21 June 2019 | 9:00–16:30

ACUD-Kino (Veteranenstraße 21) | Berlin

Organizer: Kathleen Loock (Kathleen.Loock@fu-berlin.de)

Both roundtable discussions held at the one-day symposium “Videographic Criticism: Aesthetics and Methods of the Video Essay” on 21 June 2019 were recorded. The videos are available under the following links:

Videographic Criticism Symposium:
Roundtable 1
Videographic Criticism Symposium: Roundtable 2

This one-day symposium is dedicated to videographic criticism – a digital method that uses the materiality of film and media to produce audiovisual analyses, commentaries, and scholarship. It brings together practitioners, curators, scholars, and teachers to present their recent videographic work and to exchange ideas about their individual approaches to videographic criticism and their preferred aesthetics and methods for producing video essays. The participants will also discuss the potential of the video essay for critically engaging with and studying film and media texts as well as its promises for scholarship, teaching, and forms of public engagement.

Free and open to the public.


9:00–9:15           Welcome

9:15–10:45         Film and Media Scholarship in the Digital Age

Allison de Fren (Occidental College / NYU Shanghai), “The Scholarly Supercut: A Critical Approach to a Fannish Practice”

Kathleen Loock (FU Berlin), “Deep Focus: On the Process and Affordances of Videographic Scholarship”

Chloé Galibert-Laîné (École Normale Supérieure, Paris) and Kevin B. Lee (Merz Akademie Stuttgart), “Desktop Subjectivity as Videographic Methodology”

10:45–11:00       Coffee Break

11:00–12:00       Roundtable

with Allison de Fren, Kathleen Loock, Chloé Galibert-Laîné, and Kevin B. Lee

Moderators: Julia Leyda (NTNU Trondheim) and Volker Pantenburg (FU Berlin)

12:00–13:30       Lunch

13:30–15:00       Theory, Practice, Performance

Liz Greene (Liverpool John Moores University), “Brows on Fleek: Shaping Stories from Eyebrows to Scousebrows”

Shane Denson (Stanford University), “The Algorithmic Nickelodeon”

David Verdeure (Filmscalpel / LUCA School of Arts), “Rebuilding the Shrine: Artisanship and Technology in the Performative Video Essay”

15:00–15:15      Coffee Break

15:15–16:15      Roundtable

with Liz Greene, Shane Denson, David Verdeure

Moderators: Evelyn Kreutzer (Northwestern University) and Nguyen Tan Hoang (UC San Diego)

16:15–16:30      Concluding Discussion


Allison de Fren is a media theorist and practitioner whose work focuses on the intersection of gender, media, and technology. She is currently a Visiting Associate Professor in the Interactive Media Arts program at NYU Shanghai and a permanent faculty member of the Media Arts & Culture Department at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Her documentaries and audiovisual essays have been screened internationally, and her videographic criticism published in [In]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film & Moving Image Studies, Fandor: Keyframe, and Hyperhhiz: New Media Cultures.

Shane Denson is Assistant Professor of Film & Media Studies in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University. His research and teaching interests span a variety of media and historical periods, including phenomenological and media-philosophical approaches to film, digital media, comics, games, videographic criticism, and serialized popular forms. He is the author of Postnaturalism: Frankenstein, Film, and the Anthropotechnical Interface (Transcript-Verlag/Columbia UP, 2014) and co-editor of several collections: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives (Bloomsbury, 2013), Digital Seriality (special issue of Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, 2014), and the open-access book Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film (REFRAME Books, 2016).

Chloé Galibert-Laîné and Kevin B. Lee are a filmmaking-research team specializing in videographic essays. Their work explores contemporary audiovisual media through online, amateur and found footage contexts in relation to the politics of authority, self-expression, and the histories and theories of cinema. In 2018 they were grantees of the Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fund and artists-in-residence of the European Media Art Platform (EMAP). They have presented their works at the Austrian Film Museum, London Essay Film Festival, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Ars Electronica Festival and the Impakt Festival.

Liz Greene is a Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking at Liverpool John Moores University. Her research interests are in film sound, the audiovisual essay, and documentary film. She has published articles in a number of journals and edited collections and is the co-editor of The Palgrave Handbook of Sound Design and Music in Screen Media: Integrated Soundtracks published in 2016. She has also worked in the Irish film and television industry for the last 18 years and is currently directing a documentary film on the place and significance of eyebrows in Liverpool.

Evelyn Kreutzer is a PhD candidate in Screen Cultures at Northwestern University and a graduate fellow at the Block Museum of Art. Her work focuses on taste politics in uses of European classical music in American TV and video art of the Cold War era. She holds an M.A. in Screen Cultures from Northwestern University and a B.A. in North-American Studies and German Literature from the Freie Universität Berlin. Her further research interests include videographic scholarship, sound studies and museum practices. Evelyn has presented her work at conferences such as SCMS, Screen and Music & The Moving Image. Her audio-visual essay “Berlin Moves” was published in [in]transition in 2018.

Julia Leyda is Associate Professor of Film Studies in the Department of Art and Media Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Trondheim. She teaches and researches in the areas of screen cultures of climate change and is currently working on contemporary Norwegian screen petrocultures. She is the author, editor, or co-editor of Todd Haynes: Interviews (2014), Extreme Weather and Global Media (2015), American Mobilities: Geographies of Class, Race, and Gender in US Culture (2016), The Aesthetics and Affects of Cuteness (2017), and Reframing Todd Haynes: Feminism's Indelible Mark (forthcoming).

Kathleen Loock is a postdoctoral researcher at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin. Her research focuses on Hollywood’s remaking practice, seriality, and the role memory and cultural repetition perform on the level of identity formation and imagined collectivization. She is author of Kolumbus in den USA (Transcript-Verlag, 2014), co-editor of Film Remakes, Adaptations, and Fan Productions (with Constantine Verevis, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and has edited several special issues: Serial Narratives (LWU: Literatur in Wissenschaft und Unterricht, 2014), Exploring Film Seriality (Film Studies, with Frank Krutnik, 2017), and American TV Series Revivals (Television & New Media, 2018).

Nguyen Tan Hoang is Associate Professor of Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of California, San Diego. His research interests include Asian American visual culture, Southeast Asian cinema, queer cinema, experimental film, race and pornography. His experimental videos have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, and the Pompidou Center in Paris. He is the author of A View from the Bottom: Asian American Masculinity and Sexual Representation (Duke UP, 2014) as well as articles in Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, Visual Anthropology, Porn Archives, Porn Studies, and Vectors.

Volker Pantenburg is professor of film studies at the Free University of Berlin. He has published widely on essayistic film and video practices, experimental cinema, and contemporary moving image installations. His book publications in English include Farocki/Godard: Film as Theory (2015), Cinematographic Objects: Things and Operations (2015, edited) and Screen Dynamics: Mapping the Borders of Cinema (2012, coedited). In 2015, he cofounded the Harun Farocki Institut.

David Verdeure is a producer and director of corporate videos. His Belgium-based production company mainly works for industrial clients, for (local) government authorities and for cultural institutions. He is a guest lecturer in Film Analysis and in Audiovisual Criticism at LUCA School of Arts. Under the Filmscalpel banner, David creates and curates video essays.