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[ecrea] CFP - FAScinA 2018

Tue May 22 18:33:41 GMT 2018

*Call for Papers*

*Forum Annuale delle Studiose di Cinema e Audiovisivi _ FAScinA 2018*

*Universit**à di Sassari*

*Sassari, 11-13 October 2018*




*Women Bodies in Italian Cinema*

Now in its seventh edition, the Forum Annuale delle Studiose di Cinema e Audiovisivi confirms its commitment to the multiplicity of perspectives and potential cross-overs that has been its peculiarity since its beginnings. The 2018 event focuses on the body of women in the Italian cinematographic and audio-visual scenario.

Studying the body (and the bodies) on screen implies, first of all, the taking into account of two distinct, yet inter-related, dimensions. On one side, films (and audio-visual productions in general) represent bodies, as they translate them into visual and sound images constructed through multiple forms of the gaze that charge them with ever-changing meanings; in so doing they project them out of the physical and “carnal” world towards a universe of fantasies, patterns and imaginary repertoires.

On the other side, though, bodies are also (and above all) one of the most important material through which film, television and electronic arts create and develop their discourse, their “audio-visual word”: some examples of such a dynamic are how the gestures and voices of the actors and actresses take part in the production and formation of the story in narrative cinema, how the bodily performance lays at the basis of the experimentations of video-art, or the absolute centrality of the body (talking, dancing, singing, always “present”) that has marked the TV communication since its origins.

The research on the body in film and audio-visual productions implies a confrontation with a structurally amphibious object. Bearer and producer of meaning at the same time, the cinematographic body offers itself as a /representation/(and, therefore, as the embodiment of a multiplicity of social, cultural, “authorial” meanings) and as a /performative entity/as well, able to create meanings through its physical being.

In addition to these two dimensions, the study of the body (or rather the bodies) of women raises three further questions. Firstly, starting from one of the seminal texts of feminist film theory, the well-known /Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema/by Laura Mulvey, the representation of the female body on screen tends to be translated into a psychoanalytic tension between active subject/passive object, where the active subject would correspond to the male gaze: the feminine body would then be reduced solely to a passive object of the gaze, a visual “spectacle” that serves only as a vehicle of the male desire.

This reading of Mulvey’s text – that was referred primarily to some specific patterns of Hollywood classical cinema – has been widely re-elaborated by film scholars and in particular by feminist criticism, giving life to a multiplicity of interpretations as well as approaches that diverge from the psychoanalytic point of departure. However, when women bodies are at stake, the tendency (in mainstream media discourses) is to replicate and sometimes “deplete” this reading, erasing almost completely the possibility of different interpretations, such as the idea of the female body “exceeding” or “resisting” the “traditional” norms of the gaze, of its being (even if only partially) not reducible to established representative patterns.

Secondly, examining the female body on screen and on TV asks for an exploration of the associations and intersections that the representations of the bodies – their very “presence” and visibility – put into being with other discursive fields such as fashion, aesthetic canons, and lifestyle models typical of specific periods and cultural contexts. The bodies of the actresses, performers, showgirls – in an even more evident and “pressing” way if we compare them to the male ones – are part of a circularity of influences and mirrorings that move from the audio-visual text towards society and culture, and vice-versa.

Moreover, the relationship between “film and skin”, recalled by the title of this Forum, also acquires a sort of discourse density when the body is interpreted as a “surface”. According to Giuliana Bruno, in fact, the body can be understood as a space of transition and exchange, and therefore as a medium. In this sense, the female body acts as a screen, building a weave of relationships between the inside and the outside, the real and the virtual, and enabling a series of metaliguistic and metaphorical refractions.

On the basis of these premises, FAScinA 2018 intends to promote an extensive reflection on the body of women in Italian film and media, seen both as a /representation/and a /performative entity/.

Concerning /representation/, the aim is to investigate the multiple strategies through which films and media productions create and showcase women bodies and the function of these media representations in the socio-cultural defining and re-defining of the body. In particular, we will welcome proposals dealing with:

- typologies and morphologies of the female body in the different periods of Italian film history, genres, authorial poetics, audio-visual experimentations, etc.;

- declinations of women’s media body in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, ability or disability, and social class;

- standardization vs “excessiveness” of the female body in film and media;

- the bodies of the divas seen as cultural and commercial products;

- the norms of film and television industry and their impact on the construction of female bodies;

- the ways in which media products and the discourses circulating in the mediasphere produce repertoires, iconographies, images, perceptions, patterns and meanings able to affect the construction and transformation of women bodies in the social sphere (through strategies of imitation, adaptation, refusal, re-appropriation, subversion, etc.).

Regarding the second axis, the idea of the female body as /performative identity/and producer of meaning, we will welcome proposals that take into account:

- the role and the uses of the body in the construction of different styles of performance, according to the historical context, genres, authorial politics, the corpus of a specific actress, etc.;

- the feminine actorial performance as an extreme act (transformations of the body, risk factors, performative excess as a refusal of submitting to gender and social rules, and so on);

- female body as “sign” in audio-visual research (from body-art to video-art, from experimental cinema to the most recent experiences in multi- and cross-medial arts);

- the female body as “surface” and “screen” in theoretical and critical terms, as well as in video-art, photography, and experimental cinema;

- the relationship of the body of the actresses with fashion and with the construction of specific beauty standards: the public representation of the private bodies of the actresses (gossip, social media, etc.).

Proposals – title, abstract (max 1000 signs), cv - are to be sent to ( /at/ <mailto:( /at/> by July 1st, 2018.

The acceptation of the proposals will be notified by July 15th, 2018.

The participants will be asked to submit a short text (10.000 signs without footnotes) with a set of images (max 8 images 300 dpi) by September, 1^st , 2018, to be published in the permanent section /Smarginature/of the magazine /Arabeschi/.

The language of the Forum is Italian.

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