From Sensation to Synesthesia: The aesthetic experience and synestesia in film and new media.

From Sensation to Synesthesia: The aesthetic experience and synestesia in film and new media.

Rome, Italy, 26.-27. February 2015

12th NECS Graduate Workshop
26-27 February 2015, Sapienza University of Rome

From Sensation to Synesthesia: The aesthetic experience and synestesia in film and new media.

This workshop aims at elucidating how cinema and new media products can be considered synesthetic machines. The idea is to develop and share a study in deep on the relationship between media and the synesthetic engagement, and discourses on Philosophy, Neurosciences and Neuroaesthetic of the cinematic experience will be welcome. The workshop will encourage deepening media theories towards a discussion that involves both new media and film.

Programme

Thursday 26 th February

9:00 Registration 9:30 Welcome Speech Andrea Minuz (Sapienza University of Rome)

9:40 Introductory Speech Alena Strohmaier (NECS Graduates representative)

9:50 Keynote Lecture
Enrico Carocci (Roma Tre University)
Affect in Perception: Theorizing Fascination in Film Experience

10:50 Coffee break 11:00 Keynote Lecture
Michele Guerra (University of Parma)
Motor Cognition at the Movies, or How to Handle the Cinesthetic Viewer

12:00 PhD Department Lecture
Paolo Bertetto (Sapienza University of Rome)
Cinema and sensation: The synesthetic machines

13:00 Lunch break

14:00
First panel

Zoe de Ligt (UvA - University of Amsterdam)
On Being Sentient Meat. True Detective and the self in posthumanism

Karol Jóźwiak (University of Łódź)
Inventing the senses. Polish new media art and synesthesia in '60s - '80s

Chair: Enrico Carocci

15:30 Coffee break

15:40 Keynote Lecture
Wanda Strauven (UvA - University of Amsterdam)
I Touch, Therefore I Am: Some Thoughts on the Shift from Synesthetic to Tactile Spectatorship

16:40 Final discussion

17:00 Screening
A selection of films by Paolo Gioli, introduced by Paolo Vampa

Friday 27 th February

9:00
Second panel

Irina Schulzki (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich)
Synaesthesia and Gesture in Sergei Eisenstein’s Theory of Montage

Dan Leberg (Concordia University, Montreal)
“Unless we’re part of the same dream”: Screens, Stages, Actors, and Empathy

Chair: Michele Guerra

10:30 Coffee break

10:40
Third panel

Malgorzata Bugaj (University of Stirling and University of Edinburgh)
Cinematic smellscapes and smellers: Alexandra’s and Jasminum’s exploration of olfactory experience

Chiara Castelli (Libera Università IULM, Milan)
Perception, cognition and empathy in the cinematic vision

Lindsey Lodhie (Harvard University, Cambridge)
Artificial Tears: Affective Media and the Mise-en-Scène of the Scientific Lab

Chair: Francesca Scotto Lavina

13:00 Lunch break

14:00
Fourth panel

Marie Rebecchi (Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3)
From Painting to Film: Abstract Cinema and Synaesthesia

Tommaso Isabella (University of Bergamo)
«The murmur of existence»: Siegfried Kracauer and visual listening

Chair: Rossella Catanese

15:30 Coffee break

15:40
Fifth panel

Calvin Fagan (Queen Mary University, London)
The sensory experience of drone piloting in Omer Fast’s 5,000ft is the Best

Corey Kai Nelson Schultz (Goldsmiths University, London)
The Sensation of the Look: The Condemnatory Gazes in Laurence Anyways

Chair: Valentina Valente

For any inquiry about the workshop, please do not hesitate to contact the organising committee
(Rossella Catanese, Valentina Valente, Francesca Scotto Lavina)
rossella.catanese@uniroma1.it or valentina.valente@uniroma1.it or francesca.scottolavina@gmail.com
 

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Call for Papers

The work of art was defined by Deleuze and Guattari as a block of sensations. The aesthetic fruition actually manages to involve the cooperation of two or more senses, and evokes multiple sensations in the subject. This mechanism is known as synesthesia. This concept has been developed by artists since the end of 19th century.
Nowadays neuroscientists argue that synesthesia is a perceptive tendency some people can experience. Some perceptual stimuli involve a simultaneous activation of different brain areas that allow the subject to perceive several sensations at the same time. The neural networks underpinning synesthetic perception enable cognitive and emotional processes of the aesthetic fruition. The recent discovery of mirror neurons (Rizzolatti et al., 1996) dramatically proved the main role of the empathy and of the intersubjective experience.
These elements can be easily connected to the current media landscape and how it works. The convergence culture deeply modified media by using new technologies and new ways of production. Cinema and new media practices aim at intensifying visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. They create audiovisual works of art joining movement-images, sounds and environment in order to evoke synesthetic mechanisms. This approach overcomes the figurative paradigm grounded on the visual and auditory predominance. So the role of the body becomes crucial in the artistic experience; according to Shaviro, the cinematic experience becomes embodied because of the continuity between the physiologic and affective reactions of the body.  Moreover, Sobchack deals with the carnal identification and Marks talks about aptic perception. They both were inspired by Lacan’s theories and Merleau Ponty’s phenomenology. Nevertheless, some neuroscientists such as Varela and Gallese have given rise to a fruitful dialogue between phenomenology and neurosciences perspectives and it keeps alive the debate on naturalizing the aesthetic experience on the basis of cognitive sciences.
The creation of synesthetic effects into cinematic texts was already experienced by early cinema (so-called "cinema of attractions") and Avant-garde that worked on the audience involvement through live music and sound, applied colour and cutting techniques, engaging spectators by showing catalogues of images-events. These techniques recall the ones used by some post-modern forms of cinema, too, through the massive use of digital effects. It implies the transition from the only scopic drive to the immersive experience of the sensation-image (Jullier) that involves the whole body.

This workshop aims at elucidating how cinema and new media products can be considered synesthetic machines. The idea is to develop and share a study in deep on the relationship between media and the synesthetic engagement, and discourses on Philosophy, Neurosciences and Neuroaesthetic of the cinematic experience will be welcome. The workshop will encourage deepening media theories towards a discussion that involves both new media and film.
We solicit papers that consider, combine or supplement any of the following suggestive (rather than prescriptive) topics:

- Aesthetics and perception through the audiovisual media;
- Neuroscience and cinema: sensations, emotions and human brain;
- Spectator’s engagement: brain & body in film and new media;
- Hybrid media and hybrid perception;
- Media archaeology and immersive synasthesia;
- Digital technologies and the "expanded" experience.

Please address abstracts (300-500 words) along with institutional affiliation and short bio to: graduates@necs.org

Deadline for submission: 15 December 2014. Notification will follow shortly thereafter.

The workshop language is English.

Sapienza University will not provide refunds: participants will cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. Workshop attendance is free, but valid NECS-membership is required to participate.

Organizers: Rossella Catanese, Francesca Scotto Lavina, Valentina Valente (Sapienza University Rome)

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