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Congress 2012

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May. 26th, 2012 | 09:45 am

This week, my home university, Wilfrid Laurier Univeristy, is partnering with the University of Waterloo to host Canada's major humanities conference, the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Basically, all the individual national scholarly organizations -like mine, the Film Studies Association of Canada- get together an hold their annual conferences at the same time in one place. We'll have over 7000 people this year, which is a massive conference by Canadian standards. (Though it makes me smile to realize what a small fraction of Comiket's 500,000 attendees that is!)

There will be a lot of live blogging and tweeting of this event, but I don't think I'll be one of the avid bloggers. Maybe I'll do a sum-up at the end, especially of the panel on "Anime/Comics: Appropriation and Adaptation." But since this is more an anime blog than an aca blog, I'll keep it low key.

That said, my presentation in a panel on post-cinematic adaptation is half about Satoshi Kon, so I have no problems posting my proposal/abstract here, for anyone who's interested!

Digital Dreams and the Nostalgia for Cinema in Hugo and Paprika

In their seminal book Remediation, Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin argue that “What is new about new media comes from the particular ways in which they refashion older media and the ways in which older media refashion themselves to answer the challenges of new media” (15). The process of remediation is not necessarily a smooth one, but may be “ambivalent and contradictory” (4), pulled between a number of shifting impulses. These ambivalences, I argue, reflect the broader anxieties and aspirations that arise in times of technological and social transition, such as the changes brought about by the digitization of media at the turn of the twenty-first century. Digital cinema in particular reflects the intertwining of social and technological “psyches”: the perceptions and affects created by a media environment that wavers between the indelible permanence of recurring trauma found in vanished films that can’t be forgotten, and the unstable, transitory quality of endlessly-manipulable digital dreams.

This paper explores the particular ways in which digital cinema refashions celluloid cinema through the highly ambivalent affect of nostalgia. As prime examples of remediated nostalgia, it considers two film adaptations of novels about media: Kon Satoshi’s animated film Paprika (2006; based on the 1993 novel Paprika by Tsutsui Yasutaka) and Martin Scorsese’s 3D release Hugo (2011; based on the 2007 novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick). Both films depict characters who attempt to recover their connections to a lost friend or parent by recovering celluloid films, either memories of Super 8 experiments or early silent film prints. Even as these works revel in showcasing digital effects beyond the capabilities of their print and film predecessors, such as sophisticated layering and impossible tracking shots, they betray a desire for what has been left behind: the imperfect yet intimate materiality of the analog print. Paprika and Hugo thus establish a delicate tension between transcending celluloid cinema and longing for its return; recovery and loss of cinema’s historical memory; between the very concepts of the old and the new in media themselves. In drawing on these two examples, this paper will reveal the particular ways in which nostalgic remediation manifests in animated and live-action digital cinemas.
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GodDess of Poetix Dancing

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from: starshinesmonet
date: Jul. 7th, 2012 05:28 pm (UTC)

Hi Merin_chan,

I stumbled on to your blog while looking for academic articles on Mushishi and/or anime and I am completely fascinated by the topic of your paper. Will it be available to read at all or will I have to subscribe to Scribd or an academic press of some kind?

I am also curious as to which route you plan on taking for the paper, as the celluloid cinema from Paprika gave me such a different feeling than what I received from watching Hugo. How do you feel each of these differs from something like Millennium Actress (千年女優, Sennen Joyū) - which was the first thought I had when you mentioned Satoshi Kon and Hugo in the same blog post. It is also interesting to me that while the cinema viewed in Paprika had more of a modern feel to me than that in Millennium Actress, even though some of that cinema was futuristic. Perhaps it was that nostalgic style of Millennium Actress in contrast to the futuristic style of Paprika? Hugo is a particularly interesting case as well, because it is using modern means to discuss (or portray) a period of time when film itself was very new.

Edited at 2012-07-07 05:28 pm (UTC)

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Sandra Annett

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from: merin_chan
date: Jul. 8th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC)

Hi Starshinesmonet (if that's what you'd like to be called!)

Thanks for your comments! It's wonderful to meet another fan of Mushishi. Not much has been written about it, but it's one of my favourites too.

As for the paper, you're right that Paprika has a very up-to-the-minute feel, much more so than the historically-set Hugo. That's exactly why I used it: to show that digital animation can incorporate celluloid in a way that's nostalgic, but also forward-looking. Millennium Actress makes such a good comparison to both that I added about half a page on it at the end of the paper, to make a point about the importance of historical memory for Kon. When I re-write the paper for publication, I'll probably expand on the Millennium Actress part. Thanks for your suggestion!

If it's accepted, this paper will be published in Cinema Journal, in a special section with two other papers from the same conference panel. I think you'd need a subscription to read it. If you're a university student, you can get access through your library. If not...just get in touch with me! ; )

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