Seeing Movement, Being Moved: An Exploration of the Moving Camera

University of Chicago
Logan Center for the Arts, Room 201
915 E. 60th St.

October 27-29, 2016le_mepris_godard_0

Seeing Movement, Being Moved: An Exploration of the Moving Camera is the first major conference to explore the history, aesthetics, and theoretical implications of camera movement.

The moving camera emerged a prominent feature of cinema soon after its invention. Cameras were placed on moving sidewalks and elevators, on the front of trams, boats, and (especially) trains; they constituted one of the main attractions in early cinema. As narrative cinema developed, camera movements retained their importance: serving as the stylistic flourish for a range of directors in the silent cinema; functioning as a central technique in Classical Hollywood Cinema; signaling the uniqueness of many art cinemas of the post-war period; and gaining new life with digital technologies of image production and manipulation. They are, in short, an omnipresent aspect of the history of film style, technique, and ideology.

Despite this prominence, camera movements have remained surprisingly marginal and elusive in critical work. Often brought up within analyses of films and filmmakers, they are rarely the explicit subject of analysis themselves. This is reflected not least in the absence of a canonical or systematic study of camera movements, whether in English or in other languages (French and German most notably). Moreover, unlike aspects of cinema such as acting or (especially) editing, camera movements have not attracted multiple theories or models of explanation. Most often, they are taken to establish a sense of space within a continuous temporal duration, all the while generating an expressiveness that works in conjunction with the events or dialogue taking place.

This conference aims to change this state of affairs. It does so by bringing together a group of seven scholars who are actively working on problems in camera movement.

  • Jennifer Barker (Associate Professor, Moving Image Studies Program, Department of Communication, Georgia State University)
  • Eugenie Brinkema (Associate Professor, Department of Literature, MIT)
  • Tom Gunning (Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Art History, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, and the College, University of Chicago)
  • Patrick Keating (Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Trinity University)
  • Ryan Pierson (Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Media, and Film, University of Calgary)
  • Scott Richmond (Assistant Professor of Cinema and Digital Media, Cinema Studies Institute, University of Toronto)
  • Kristen Whissel (Professor, Department of Film and Media, University of California-Berkeley)


Department of Cinema and Media Studies
The Franke Institute for the Humanities
The Film Studies Center
The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought
Department of Art HIstory
Mass Culture Workshop

Organized by Daniel Morgan and Jordan Schonig
Contact: jschonig@uchicago.edu




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