Whether a film can be seen in a theatre, on television, in a museum, or at a festival depends especially on whether its format is compatible with the given prerequisites. Formats, however, not only determine the technical requirements under which the media operate, they also provide the conditions under which films circulate within a variety of institutional and discursive, social and political contexts.
What is the relevance of the concept of the medium in relation to questions of circulation and exhibition? What is the relationship between the terms “medium” and “format”? Does digitization vitiate medium specificity? Why has the methodological shift to questions of circulation and exhibition occurred and does it spell an end for ontological inquiry?
How does the presence of the moving image in the museum illuminate contemporary problems of film theory, and how can the methods and concepts of film theory help to account for the presence of the moving image in the museum? What problems and opportunities emerge from this cinematic migration? What relationships exist between contemporary artists’ moving image practice and the historical modes of production, distribution, and exhibition proper to experimental film?
The workshop is hosted by the SNSF project ‘Exhibiting Film: Challenges of Format’, Department of Film Studies, University of Zurich.
09:30–11:00, Kino Xenix
Michael Snow, Wavelength, Canada 1967, 16mm, 45 min., and WVLNT (Wavelength for Those Who Don’t Have the Time), Canada 2003, Video, 15 min.
Film screening with an introduction by Erika Balsom
12.00–13:30, Kunsthalle Zürich
Instant Failure: Polaroid’s Polavision and the Question of Format,
Lecture by Erika Balsom
Dr. Erika Balsom is a senior lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London, focusing on the history of the moving image in art and experimental documentary practices. Her most recent book, After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation, was published by Columbia University Press in 2017. She is author of Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art ,(2013), the co-editor of Documentary Across Disciplines, (2016), and a frequent contributor to Artforum, and Sight and Sound,. Her work has appeared in publications such as Grey Room, e-flux, Cinema Journal,, and numerous exhibition catalogues. In summer 2017, she was international film curator in residence at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre in New Zealand, and in 2018 her essay Instant Failure: Polaroid’s Polavision, 1977–80, was the winner of the Katherine Singer Kovacs Essay Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.