Sapientia University, Department of Film, Photography and Media
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XIV. International Film and Media Studies Conference in Transylvania

Cluj-Napoca, May 25-27, 2012.
Conference venue: Sapientia University, Str. Matei Corvin nr. 4.



Photos from the conference can be seen here

Conference report written for the online journal Scope by Francesca Minnie Hardy can be read here.

Keynote speakers:

  • YVONNE SPIELMANN Research Professor and Chair of New Media at the University of the West of Scotland.
    Milestones of her researches into intermediality, video art and hybridity in the media: Intermedialität: Das System Peter Greenaway (Intermediality: The Peter Greenaway System), 1998; Video: The Reflexive Medium, 2010; Hybridkultur (Hybrid Cultures), 2010
    Title of the presentation: Seeing to Believe – Sensing to Know: From Film Form to Perceptual Environment



  • LAURA U. MARKS, Dena Wosk University Professor of Art and Culture Studies, School for the Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.
    She is the author of: The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses, 2000; Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media, 2002; her most recent book is: Enfoldment and Infinity: An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art. The MIT Press, 2010.
    Title of the presentation: Thinking Like a Carpet: Embodied Perception and Individuation in Algorithmic Media


Ever since its beginnings, cinema has always had a profound experiential quality: images not only move, but they move our senses. Whenever we go to the movies we not only "see" the film, and the world of the screen not only "communicates" a message to us: we get to be immersed in a unique environment that engages our senses and our minds on different levels of consciousness and perception. However, in the past decades we could witness an incredible multiplication of the technologies through which moving images can be produced, distributed or received. Reflecting on the process a series of new theories (like "re-mediation" or "media convergence") emerged to describe the interconnectivity between different kinds of audio-visual media. Paradoxically, despite having to deal with the diversification of the moving images, in most of these approaches there has been a marked emphasis on the unifying effect of digital media as well as the general blurring of traditional media boundaries and medium specificities in our current post-media condition. Nevertheless, we might argue that new forms entail new experiences, and the sensual encounter with the medium still matters, perhaps more than ever. Some of the latest trends in art cinema have specifically moved towards a "cinema of the senses" and a "cinema of the body," while a great number of popular new technologies have been devised for the explicit purpose of heightening our sensations while viewing the moving images. Moreover, cinema has not only found new outlets and dazzling ways to capture our attention, but it has also been placed literally into our hands: the domestication of visual media has brought us "in touch" with images as never before, and produced new "hands-on" practices and new sensations, new sensibilities regarding moving images.
In light of these, in our upcoming conference we invite presentations that offer a closer examination of the sensual aspects of moving images from a variety of viewpoints, challenging the ideas that might downplay their relevance in the age of media convergence. We propose to concentrate on the experience, on the sensations generated by the diverse forms of moving images and in various styles, genres and cultural environments throughout the history of cinema and screen media.
Presentations for our conference might draw inspiration from a large array of theoretical sources, among others: Thomas Elsaesser's and Malte Hagener's recent handbook, Film Theory: An Introduction through the Senses (2009); the vast literature on the phenomenology of moving pictures from Vivian Sobchack (e.g. Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture, 2004) to Martine Beugnet (Cinema and Sensation: French Film and the Art of Transgression, 2007); Laura U. Marks's books discussing haptic imagery and its connections to representations of cultural difference (The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses, 2000; Touch: Sensuous Theory And Multisensory Media, 2002); as well as Gilles Deleuze's ideas on the "logic of sensation," Jacques Rancière's philosophical investigations into the politics of aesthetics and the "distribution of the sensible" (The Politics of Aesthetics, 2006, The Future of the Image, 2007), or approaches in visual anthropology in the wake of Paul Stoller's "sensuous scholarship" (like: David MacDougall's The Corporeal Image: Film, Ethnography, and the Senses, 2005).

Proposals may address (but are not limited to) the following questions either from a theoretical point of view or through concrete analyses of films:

  • Sensing visual media - sensing the media within media: a) examining sensations in moving images and new media practices b) re-examining questions of intermediality, inter-sensuality and interactivity in the age of media convergence.
  • Film history through the senses: paradigms/auteurs of cinema exploring sensations and emotions in film history. (E.g. Claire Denis, Wong Kar Wai, Pedro Almodovar, the Quay Brothers, etc.)
  • Re-booting the "cinema of attractions:" a) labyrinthine experiences: sensations in (or versus?) popular mind-games narratives in contemporary movies or computer games, b) from haptic images to hyper cinema: sensual encounters in 3D movies.
  • Changing sensations of the "real:" a) naturalistic trends in contemporary cinema (the Eastern European boom of micro-realism, the new realism in American independent films, e.g. Ramin Bahrani, etc.), b) from the medical gaze of "the clinic" to the hyper-real naturalism of CGI.
  • Sensing the difference: identifying "sensual" markers of culture, ethnicity, gender in films (E.g. "sensible" differences that may define European, Asian, and diaspora cinemas, etc.)

Download the pdf version of our CFP here.

We invite both proposals for individual papers and pre-constituted panels. Panels may consist of 3 or 4 speakers.

We address this call for papers not only to university scholars, researchers but also to students of PhD programs, or even to M.A. students who wish to engage in a debate on the given topic.

The conference proposes to facilitate academic communication between existing centres of research specializing in film and media studies within different universities, and at the same time, it encourages students on different academic levels to be initiated into scientific research.

The time for presentations is limited to maximum 20 minutes, followed by a 10 minute debate.

Deadline for the submission of proposals: 15 January 2012.
We will notify you about the acceptance of your proposals by: 22 January 2012.

Submission of proposals: please complete this submission form and send it as an attachment to the following address:

The best papers written based on the conference presentations will be published in English in our department's international, peer reviewed scientific journal (Acta Universitatis Sapientiae. Film & Media Studies).

The official language of the conference: English and Hungarian (with papers presented in parallel sessions).

Conference fee (which includes participation, conference buffet and banquet): 100 EUR, special fee for MA and PhD-students: 75 EUR. The fee is to be paid on the occasion of conference registration.

Recommended possibilities of accommodation:

To help you make your own booking, here is a list of hotels and hostels located in the vicinity of the conference venue, at a maximum distance of 15 minutes' walk. You can make your reservation either by phone or via e-mail (usually the hotel/hostel staff speaks English). Please note that the Conference itself makes no bookings. However, if all your attempts to reserve a room prove unsuccessful, do contact the organizing committee.

Fullton Hotel ***
Tel./fax: +40 264 597 898; tel.: +40 264 597 766

Hanul Fullton (Fullton Inn Hotel) ***

Tel: +40-264-484748, +40-364-144756
Fax: +40-264-484748

Hotel Transilvania ***
Tel.: +40 264 594 429

Melody Hotel ***
Tel.: +40 268 510 800; +40 730 031 415

City Plaza Hotel ****
Tel.: +40 264 450 101; fax: +40 264 450 152

Transylvania Hostel
Tel.: +40 264 443 266; mobile: +40 371 172 075

Retro Youth Hostel
Tel.: +40 264 450 452; mobile: +40 755 114 989

Hostel Heltai
Tel./fax: +40 264 590 096

City Center Hostel
Tel/fax: +40 264 594 454

Travel information

Cluj Napoca Airport:
Low-cost flights to Cluj:
Clickable, searchable map of Cluj:

Cluj Napoca Airport is located at an 8 km distance from the city, so it is easy and fairly cheap to get to the center by taxi or bus.


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