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Message posted on 19/10/2019

Call for Chapters: ON DEMAND. EXPLORATIONS OF COMMISSIONED AUDIOVISUAL PRODUCTIONS

Call for Chapters – Book proposal to be submitted to PALGRAVE publisher

Editors:

Alex Vailati (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil).

Gabriela Zamorano (El Colegio de Michoacán, Mexico).

Proposed book title: ON DEMAND. EXPLORATIONS OF COMMISSIONED AUDIOVISUAL PRODUCTIONS

Timetable Please send initial expressions of interest or enquiries preferably by November 15th, 2019. Abstracts of chapters (350-500 words) should be submitted to editors Alex Vailati (alexvailati@gmail.com) and Gabriela Zamorano (zamoranog@gmail.com) by December 2nd, 2019. Final manuscripts (between 6000-8000 words) should be submitted to the editors by May 29th, 2020 (or earlier).

Details of the book.

Over the last two decades, the advent of cheap, user-friendly video technologies has contributed to a huge revolution in representational agency. Videos are now made by production units that are at times comprised of families, churches, musical groups, community associations or other institutions. Thus, videos produced and distributed within local and atypical networks profoundly shape contemporary imaginaries. The contemporary film production industry is also evolving as a result of this phenomenon. With the affirmation of nonlinear editing and DSLR video-recording technologies, the field of “social video”, as it is emically known, is becoming increasingly solid. Depending on the production context, some of these practices are explained as “vernacular” or “popular” video.

On a global level, there are production companies specialized in recording specific moments of social life. The example of the so-called family cinema phenomenon is among the most relevant practices. Marriages, birthdays and births are some of the family events that videos turn into “facts” and memories. In these films, we find highly sophisticated cinema languages and continuous aesthetic experimentation coupled to ingenious distribution strategies, often through social networks. These videos, in fact, result from interesting processes of negotiation and interaction between clients and video makers. Other production realms include the proliferation of low-budget musical clips and fictional shorts that, while mimicking film industry aesthetics, involve expressions of local concerns and fantasies around issues such as social status, violence and migration.

An analysis of the fields of family and vernacular cinema helps reveal how these topics remain on the outskirts of ethnological research. For example, an examination of experiences with “family film archives”, which is a recognized field of historical and film studies, shows how these media become “memories” of events for families and individuals and enable addressing issues of intimacy and affection.

The aim of this book is to discuss ethnographic possibilities for addressing the relevant fields of “commissioned” and “vernacular” audiovisual practices and archives. Beginning with family cinema, the panel will explore different fields, such as videos commissioned by ethnic organizations, institutions or political networks. We will address the importance of field-based research on how “on-demand videos” are produced and circulated from an economic, political and aesthetic perspective. This can be a key strategy for understanding how imaginaries and subjectivities are “locally produced” and how they relate to both local realities and global narratives.


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