Berkeley Film & Media Seminar

Balcom_Array copy

Symphony of the Digital City, and Other Metaphors: Ben Balcom’s Array (2013)

Thu, Apr 28, 2022, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Zoom meeting

Jaimie Baron, Visiting Scholar

The Department of Film & Media would also like to apologize for any harm caused by the promotional image for the previously announced lecture. That was not the intent, but we acknowledge that intent doesn’t control all of the potential effects of an image. We apologize for any offense caused by this image and have learned from the feedback. The Department remains committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and anti-racism.

The cinematic city symphony form emerged in the early 20th century as a response to both new representational technologies and transformed urban spaces. Dziga Vertov’s 1929 film Man with the Movie Camera, for one, self-reflexively documented a composite of Soviet cities, articulating the experience of the human body moving through and physically interacting with urban space. Nearly a century later, Ben Balcom’s digital video, Array, reflects a relation between human and urban space further transformed. Indeed, this video suggests that the human body has been removed from this relation, replaced by a disembodied, digitally mediated drift through urban cyberspace. This talk explores the question of whether such a drift can be considered a symphony or whether other metaphors might better describe our contemporary sense of the city as we encounter it primarily through screens and mapping software.

Jaimie Baron is a Professor of Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She is the author of The Archive Effect: Found Footage and the Audiovisual Experience of History (Routledge, 2014) and Reuse, Misuse, Abuse: The Ethics of Audiovisual Appropriation in the Digital Era (Rutgers, 2020) as well as many journal articles, book chapters, and reviews. She is the founder, director, and co-curator of the Festival of (In)appropriation, a yearly international festival of short experimental found footage films and videos. She is also a co-founder and co-editor of Docalogue, an online space for scholars and filmmakers to engage in conversations about contemporary documentary, and the Docalogue book series published by Routledge Press. She also recently co-edited a collection entitled Media Ventriloquism: How Audiovisual Technologies Transform the Voice-Body Relation (Oxford, 2021).
Zoom registration required for attendance.