We are happy to announce that this year’s NECS topic is ” Transitions: Moving Images and Bodies”.
We highly encourage you to submit your papers.
You can find all the details here.
The NECS 2020 Conference aims to explore connections between media and a series of developments within our current era that can be grouped under the term “transitions.” In order to explore this connection, we can perhaps begin from the most general meaning of “medium” as a form and instrument for the expression of a mediation, i.e. a shift, a motion and therefore also a “transit.” According to Bolter and Grusin’s famous idea of “remediation,” every kind of media can be considered in a certain sense as a form of “remediation,” a translation between new and old media. This is the general framework in which the conference is conceived, considering media as instruments of different kinds of transition.
“Transit” is a suitable concept for describing our contemporary period inasmuch as it represents an exemplary state of being “between”: between a point of departure and an increasingly precarious point of arrival, between a past that is receding and a future that can only be imagined. From this standpoint, “to transit” means above all to abandon one’s assigned condition in order to choose a new one, a new condition that represents the outcome of an overcoming, even as it bears witness to a remainder, a survival of the past. Transit here is the provisional suspension of a state of things, passing through a similarly provisional loss of identity that contributes to the creation either of a new order or, on the contrary, of no order at all. In this sense, a reflection on “transits” also offers an occasion to think about historical and cultural heritage, about traditions and the way they might survive in the future. This perspective includes research into different kinds of archives, starting from audio-visual ones.
Defined in this manner, “transit” can encompass many of the phenomena that characterize the contemporary world and its trajectories. One of these is no doubt the migration of women, men and children who decide to leave their countries in order to undertake journeys that, in many cases, have no precise destination. This enormous mass of bodies in movement, carriers of desires as much as anything else, forces us to interrogate ourselves and perhaps obliges us to reflect on the migratory phenomena as a magnifying glass through which to read and interpret our contemporary era, not only in problematic terms but also – and above all – as a vital occasion for rethinking the world’s geo-political balance. Reflecting on contemporary migration is thus a precious tool for revitalizing discussions of “globalization”: a phenomenon that today quite clearly requires radical rethinking, beginning with a new general mapping of the world affected by the daily trajectories of migration. Audiovisual media are of course fundamental in this process of progressive remapping of the old world through the stories that migrants bring with them during their long journey: this includes both stories that migrants tell by themselves (using mainly social media) and the migratory stories that have inspired artists, writers, musicians and directors.
Today there are not only populations or individuals in migration; there are also images, forms and narratives in motion that, crossing through different times and spaces, demonstrate the need to render various traditional concepts—e.g. border, gender, medium, work, text—mobile and invest them with new meanings. As borders are crossed, genders contaminated and media converged, works and texts become the open field for these processes of hybridization, the most easily recognizable cypher of contemporary culture. The category of “transit” allows us to try and interpret sexual, cultural and gender orientations that today form the outline of a world in which there are no more clear separations and distinctions. The contemporary media panorama, through mixing different languages, formats and codes, clearly shows – perhaps more than any other area – the labile character of borders in discussion.
The NECS 2020 conference thus aims to embrace the idea of transit – in the broad sense that we have described above – as a privileged keyword for interpreting contemporary audiovisual media. The relations and overlapping demonstrated by phenomena of different orders represent an occasion and starting point for a detailed reflection that touches on different but contiguous approaches to audiovisual media: gender studies, post-colonial studies, global studies, translation theory and, of course, sound, cinema and media studies.
The NECS 2020 conference call there seeks presentations not only on technological devices for communication systems, but also on bodies, languages and images that run across and overlap within our contemporary world. In this context, we imagine the conference and its confrontations as enabling a space for an act of transversing (a ‘transit’ in itself), in which borders between objects and disciplinary zones can be usefully redrawn.