So I found out yesterday I’ll be going to the SCMS — Society of Cinema and Media Studies — conference in Los Angeles next year. This is somewhat exciting news because it would be my first conference with a significant group of film and television scholars.
But going to conference is sometimes fraught. Scholars apply months before their presentation date, so unless you pitch something brand-spanking new, the topic will be incredibly old by the time of your presentation.
In this case, I’m presenting a paper on “mumblecore” that I wrote well over a year ago. The paper is now in review at Cinema Journal, so, by the time of the conference, hopefully it will already be in print. Anyway, the paper was my first and last breath on the genre. Focusing on Joe Swanberg’s LOL, already old with a 2006 release, the paper argues that mumblecore cannot be understood outside of a “digital culture” moment and is a unique and important artistic “movement” (which is already over). Here’s the abstract:
Using the works of Joe Swanberg, primarily LOL, and weaving in films from other directors, this paper argues for mumblecore as a distinct form of realism based on a “digital aeshetic,” an aesthetic not merely in style and form, but also in the themes emanating from this form. This digital aesthetic, a result of theories from film and new media history, supports what I call “networked film,” both of which make mumblecore distinct from prior attempts at realism in film and distinguish it as an early 21st century phenomenon. Thanks to Leo Charney for advising me on this project.
Now that I’m researching web series and YouTube vlogs, I’d really love to present on that. It’s newer and fresher. But that will have to wait to 2011!
Sometimes — only sometimes! — the academy gets on my nerves. Still, I’m excited to speak at SCMS. Really fantastic scholars attend every year.