Research project

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Moving Images have become the dominant form of visual expression of the 20th century and the most important image-making industry in history. Today, thanks to digital technology, moving images are everywhere: in movie theaters, on the Internet and a multitude of screens: cellphones, computers, game consoles, MP3 and portable DVD players. Their uses and genres keep multiplying: fiction, documentary, art, video games, news broadcasts, music videos, medical imaging, surveillance, cartoons and advertisements. Moreover, the trending idea is that all these screens now mutually refer to one another in a “post-media condition” dominated by “media mix” and “convergence”. It is what the attacks on the World Trade Center unexpectedly illustrated more than a decade ago; for many viewers, the scene broadcast live on television seemed to come straight out of a film. This is also an illustration of the importance films and moving images have on contemporary imagery, how they impact our lives and the forms of mediation they takes on. When faced with these facts, and the increased presence of cameras and screens, there is no question as to the need for an expertise which focuses on the moving image and its uses in order to articulate, dig through and clarify the social, cultural and political issues linked to it. Be it a question of understanding the impact of these images on behavior (do violent movies and video games make us violent?), how we understand them (how do audiovisual narratives and arguments come into being?), or even how images are distinguished from a “transparent” recording of perception (which ideologies are conveyed by these images? Must we distinguish between the violence of an image and the violence in an image?), the 20th century was a period in which vast discursive networks were developed and where concepts were forged, that made possible such an expertise. If the moving image marked the 20th century, so did the study of the moving image.

The general objective of our current project is to show how creating expertise in Film and Moving Image Studies requires a set of precise conditions which determine its rise, transformation and diversification, while the sociocultural penetration of moving images proliferates and their uses diversify. This research aims (1) to unearth the multitude of factors and determinations, the different conditions of possibility that were involved in the emergence of an expertise, a learned discourse on the moving image and in the rise of a recognized academic (inter)discipline, using historic and comparative perspectives; (2) through epistemological considerations, to study the nature of concepts elaborated by Film and Moving Image Studies, to study the field's discursive rationality with regards to its different epistemic aims; (3) to unearth the constitution and issues specific to a Film and Moving Image Studies “culture” through its different national and transnational traditions.
The current ARTHEMIS project can be broken down into 3 axis:
Axis 1: The history of Film and Moving Image Studies;
Axis 2: Epistemology of Film and Moving Image Studies;
Axis 3: Film and Moving Image Studies Culture(s).
Together these axes examine the main factors, views and practices that have contributed to the emergence, development, and consolidation of  Film and Moving Image Studies as a epistemic endeavor and academic field of research.