Forging: Authenticity in the Making

Forging: Authenticity in the Making

Leiden, Netherlands, 14.-15. March 2014

9th NECS Graduate Workshop
Hosted by Leiden University and Leiden International Short Film Experience

Call for Papers

Forgery is the consciously deceiving replication of a product or a manner of production. Depending on its object, its counterpart could be authenticity, originality, integrity, and/or truthfulness. The latter are widespread values which tend to determine the judgement passed on products and producers, as well as rule considerations about groups and peoples who contextualise them and consume them. This matrix of assessment is not without complications, all the more when it comes to cultural products because they acquire worth on many levels simultaneously (aesthetic, ethic, political, technical, theological, teleological, etc). In addition to that, the ease to reproduce, emulate and replicate, provided by professional devices and lay customer gadgets, makes cultural evaluation of forging even more intricate. This workshop aims to dwell on the matter as regards audiovisual artefacts, with an emphasis on cinema. On which grounds should we praise or condemn forged movies/videos, their makers and their audiences? Is the matrix of values above actually tenable? Can individual and collective identities subsist within / exist without some forging? We invite papers that address the workshop theme from different stances, including (not limited to) the following:

Forging the maker

Authentic artists, authentic filmmakers: self-expression and integrity, commoditisation and entertainment, symbolic ambitions and practical needs. Posers or die-hards.

Filmmakers as theorists on artistic forging, e.g. Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop, Orson Welles’ F for Fake. Taking a stance through audiovisual discourse.

Replica’ construction: forging aesthetics vs. aesthetics of forging; imitation vs. originality; copycat mimesis vs. creative sampling. Can modernist or postmodernist perspectives help us figure out replication?


Forging the audience

Politics of forging: fictitious audiences, concepts of ‘nationalism’, ‘folk’, ‘tradition’, and (geo-localised) ‘style’. Is the burden of history a product of forging?

Concoction of online/offline personae. Filmmaking audiences and self-forging. Handheld technologies of forging in times of social media preponderance.

Forging cultural conglomerates and collective identities. Prescription of normative frameworks –questions of gender, ethnicity and creed. Post-colonial and critical theories on media culture. Hegemonic world pictures and alternative (cyber) spaces.


Forging the product

Make believe to un-believe: how do we know if something is fake? From false emotion in a performance through to digital clones and SFX.

The actual value of forged works: artistic, aesthetic, monetary, symbolic. Multi-level judgement of cinematic works. Conflated grounds of assessment.

Ethical perspectives on forgery. Moral philosophy and law. Legal frameworks, liability, intellectual property, copyright. Boundaries and blind spots.

Mockumentaries, documentaries, news, and lies: unreliable sources about the past and the present. Concealed dissociations between reality and the moving image. Reality, hyper-reality, and unreality.

Submissions deadline: February 7th, 2014

Please address abstracts (300-500 words) along with institutional affiliation and brief biographical note to: Notification will follow shortly thereafter.

The conference language is English.

Participants will need to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. Travel information as well as a list of affordable hotels and other accommodation will be provided in the beginning of January.

Conference attendance is free, but valid NECS-membership is required to participate.
Participants must register with NECS at and pay their fee by February 1st. For the terms of NECS membership, please also refer to our website.


Carlos Miguel Roos (Leiden University/Ghent University), Chris de Selincourt (University of the Arts, London), Gavin Wilson (York St John University)