Call for Papers: Chaotic Formats: Video, Moving Images, Cinematic Displays

Katherine Grube Discussion

Call for Papers
Chaotic Formats: Video, Moving Images, Cinematic Displays
Journal of Chinese Cinemas
Special Issue 2019

In postsocialist China, the boundaries between the practice of artmaking and filmmaking, and the spaces of contemporary art and cinema, have rarely been distinct. Instead, artistic practices in China are characterized by a chaos of formats, an ambivalence about presentational modes and an implicit or explicit acknowledgement of mainstream representational and presentational formats. Moving image art has become a potent analytic and practical category for art history and film scholars to examine the alternative production, exhibition and funding models that facilitate the migration of filmmakers into the spaces of art and artists into the spaces of film. In Europe and North America, this migration produced anxieties about medium specificity that were exacerbated by the introduction of digital technologies, and many of these anxieties shape the discussion around artist’s cinema and filmmaker’s art exhibitions. Such concerns, central to European and North American discussions of “crossing the black box and the white cube,” are largely absent in the Chinese context.

This special issue seeks to examine the artists and artworks that play with formats, production modes and financial structures of contemporary art and film in postsocialist China. We are looking for writings on artists and filmmakers who reimagine the nature and possibilities of the moving image, or who have practical and theoretical investments in the screen, image surfaces and the mobility of images, in addition to texts that examine approaches to the image, the screen, projection and viewing experiences in Chinese cinema and art.

The guest editors of this special issue invite innovative research on a wide variety of topics that address the intersection of contemporary artmaking and filmmaking practices including but not restricted to: 

  • When art film and video art relocate to alternative or unconventional spaces, what changes in terms of form and spectatorship?
  • What is the legacy of the socialist modes of cultural dissemination on the aesthetic and critical purchase of the filmic and videographic image? Has the propagandistic function of the reproducible image, whether as instrument of ideological dissemination during the socialist period or mass consumption in the postsocialist period, produced a different relationship to medium, exhibition and viewership?  
  • How does the relocation of art film and video art illuminate ways in which the insistent locality of moving images from China circulate in international networks like film festivals, biennials and art fairs?
  • How do discourses of “world cinema” and “global contemporary art” influence the practices and outcomes of these images?
  • Can there be methodological dialogues between industrial analysis in film studies and institutional critique in art history?

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words by December 15, 2017 to both guest editors, Katherine Grube ( and Meng Jiang ( Selected abstracts will be invited to submit full manuscripts (8000 words maximum) by June 30, 2018 for consideration of inclusion in the special issue for Journal of Chinese Cinemas in 2019.

Journal of Chinese Cinemas is a major peer-refereed academic publication devoted to the study of Chinese film, drawing on the recent world-wide growth of interest in Chinese cinemas. All peer review is double blind.