11th Conference of the International Society for Intermedial Studies : "Rethinking Intermediality in the Digital Age"

Cluj-Napoca – 24 to 26 October 2013

Between 24 and 26 October 2013 the 11th Conference of the International Society for Intermedial Studies (ISIS), entitled Rethinking Intermediality in the Digital Age was held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The conference was organized by the Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania as the event launching the new research project of the Department of Film, Photography and Media, entitled Re-mediated images as figurations of intermediality and post-mediality in Central and East European Cinema, supported by a grant from the Ministry of National Education, CNCS – UEFISCDI, project number PN-II-ID-PCE-2012-4-0573. The project leader is dr. Ágnes Pethő, Professor, Head of Department and author, among others, of Cinema and Intermediality: The Passion for the In-Between (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011).

Keynote speakers of the conference were Marie-Laure Ryan, independent scholar (Colorado, USA), expert in the theory of transmediality and of the domain of narratology, author, among others, of Avatars of Story (2006), Narrative across Media: The Languages of Storytelling (2004), Narrative as Virtual Reality. Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media (2001); Henry Jenkins, from the University of Southern California (USA), author of the highly influential theory on media convergence expounded on in the volume Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (2007); and Joachim Paech, University of Konstanz (Germany), one of the founders of research on intermediality in film and author of Menschen im Kino. Film und Literatur erzählen (2000), Literatur und Film (1997), PASSION oder Die EinBILDungen des Jean-Luc Godard (1989), as well as several seminal articles on the theory of intermediality in film, literature, and new media.

The call for papers formulated by the organizers proved to be tremendously successful. An impressive number of conference proposals were submitted: more than 150 participants from five continents and more than 22 countries contributed to the three-day event. The presentations covered a wide spectrum of topics related to intermediality, transmediality, multimodality, media convergence, remediation – an invitation to rethink the listed terms in the context of the digital age. Participants addressed a broad range of questions relating to ‘old media’ and ‘new media’ and their possible interactions, focusing on the wide array of intermedia phenomena and novel types of relationships that new media have produced, but also on how pre-digital media relations can be re-evaluated and how historical paradigms of intermediality may already be distinguishable viewed from the standpoint of the contemporary media landscape.

On the first day Marie-Laure Ryan delivered a keynote lecture with the title Transmedia Storytelling: Myth or Reality? Further on, the four parallel panels dealt with the following topics: (inter)media theory; intermedia poetics, word and image; pictoriality across media: painting, theatre, film; intermediality in visualizing music, mood, and subjectivity; the sensual image and the in-between; literature in-between media; the politics and poetics of performance; sound studies and intermediality; performativity, performance, and new media; intermediality in Japan and South Korea; relocating the cinematic; digital archives, companies and brands.  

The conference continued on the second day with Henry Jenkins’ keynote lecture entitled “All over the Map”: What Oz the Great and Powerful Can Teach Us about World-Making, as well as with panel lectures on various aspects of intermediality such as intermedial folds: literature, photography, film; theatre and theatricality in the Digital Age; intermediality in video games (and their adaptations); digitalized film; intermediamorphosis: improvisation, intermediality and human / digital interaction; from home / amateur film practices to user generated video; literature in the Digital Age; the analogue and the digital / the real and the intermedial; adaptations in the digital age; archival narratives, cinematic nostalgia; at the borders of narrativity: visual arts, video games and performance; social media and rethinking the self; Antigone’s diary – a mobile urban drama; old / new narratives and intermediality: from TV to video games; imagetexts, ekphrasis and intermediality; exploring the museum, designing space in the Digital Age.

On the third day of the conference the series of keynote lectures was closed with the lecture delivered by Joachim Paech, with the title Intermediate Images (Zwischen-Bilder). The panel proceedings of the last conference day reflected on further aspects of the announced conference topic, including: pre-digital figurations of intermediality and new media; documentary, sociography in the Digital Age; performance, live and virtual; film, art and media events; opera and intermediality; online / offline and transmedial identity narratives; rethinking the TV series in the Digital Age; conceptualizing new media and hybridity; reflections on old and new media in the Digital Age; the corporeal and the digital; author-player, interactive and transmedial storytelling; new spaces for displaying images and creating narrative worlds; fleshing out characters in manga, anime, animation, and beyond.

The conference ended with two significant events: a concluding round table, entitled Intermediality, Transmediality, Media Convergence Today, with the participation of the theorists of intermediality Marie-Laure Ryan, Henry Jenkins, Joachim Paech, Lars Elleström, Chiel Kattenbelt, Anne Gjelsvik, and Ágnes Pethő, who discussed the current trends, directions and future possibilities of research into intermediality and transmediality, as well as the General Assembly of the ISIS, discussing future plans of the organization.

Besides the dissemination of key concepts on intermediality and transmediality within the framework of keynote lectures and the round table discussion, the event was a great opportunity for participants to share their views and research results and to exchange experiences in various domains with access to intermediality.

The written versions of the papers presented at the conference are to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies. The conference material, including the program, abstracts of conference papers as well as photos and videos can be accessed on the following link:
http://film.sapientia.ro/hu/konferenciak/rethinking-intermediality-in-the-digital-age 

In strong connection with this event, the organizers are planning the next conference, XV. Film and Media Studies Conference in Transylvania, under the auspices of the same research project mentioned at the beginning of the report, with a special focus on Figurations of Intermediality in Film, to be held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, between 24 and 26 October 2014. The conference call can be accessed at:
http://film.sapientia.ro/en/conferences/xv-film-and-media-studies-conference-intransylvania

 

Judit Pieldner
Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania

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