Cinema and Media Studies

CMS and MAAD staff will be working remotely through Spring Quarter 2021 with the hope to return to campus by Autumn - please use email (instead of calling) to contact all staff members and administrative faculty.


Stages: Three Days in Mexico - Britney Spears

Britney Spears, Stages

Director Judy Hoffman and cinematographer Albert Maysles (Gimme Shelter) give us behind the scenes access into the concert life of the then 20-year-old pop phenomenon Britney Spears. We are given a rare insider view of the apparatus producing her three-day 2002 "Dream Within a Dream" concert in Mexico City, leading us through a microcosmos of handlers and branders, bodyguards, hotel corridors, rehearsals, quiet moments with Britney, and the ever-present horde of hysterical fans. Join Judy Hoffman and NPR culture reporter Neda Ulaby for a conversation about Spears and the sometimes poisonous culture of celebrity. 


Spring 2021 - Upcoming Seminars

CMST 67035: 'Framing, Reframing, Unframing Cinema'

This class combines three emerging ways of looking at cinema: a continuously growing barrage of AI-based algorithms that seek to unlock data latent in images; existing films and digital archives of moving image material; and tools and programming environments oriented towards the construction of new moving-image works, viewing situations and logics. At a time when we are perhaps further away from the stable objects of cinema than we have ever been, when digital streaming repackages and recomposes film in front of our very eyes, or when virtual, augmented and mixed realities embed and dissolve cinema's frames in new and virtual spaces, what new positive opportunities for scholarship and creation can we find? 


CMST 67120: 'The Cinematic Camera and the Single-shot Film'

This course hopes to interrogate the specificities of the cinematic camera by paring the variables down to single-shot films. We will examine the idea of the cinematic dispositif or “apparatus” and ask whether there is such a thing as the camera rather than a multiplicity of  cameras. We will address the persistence of animism in film theory and criticism, attempts to define the quiddity of the filmed image, analogies between human and creaturely perception, machine vision, forms and logics of picturing and pictorial organization. We will also take the opportunity to examine acoustic analogs (the microphone, the recording) in order to help us understand the logics and the fallacies at work in our basic analytic concepts. Our film viewing will concentrate upon very early cinema (the Lumières, Edison, etc.) and on the avant-garde (Warhol, Snow, Gottheim, Jacobs, Gehr, etc.). Along the way, we will examine some mainstream films like Rope and Russian Ark, or Birdman


CMST 67205: 'Deleuze and the Image'

The Image is a concept that returns and varies across Gilles Deleuze’s philosophical works. In this seminar, we will work through Deleuze’s characterization of the Image in its varying forms—image of thought, thought without image, movement-image, time-image, the visible and the expressible, Idea and percept, and sensation and figure, among others. Of special concern will be Deleuze’s arguments concerning the relation of philosophy to art. Readings will include selections from Proust and Signs, Difference and Repetition, Foucault, Cinema 1 and Cinema 2, Logic of Sensation, What is Philosophy?, and perhaps other texts.


Spring 2021 - Mellon Collaborative Fellowship Course!

CMST 27821/37821: 'Economic Objects: Capitalism as Medium'

As we now confront an economic contraction and reconstitution of unprecedented intensity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a focus on the possibility of transmedial economic representation and its criticism offers a timely and necessary opportunity to consider what art is and does in our historical moment. “Economic Objects: Capitalism as Medium” explores how shifting modes of the representation of the economy reflect transformed medial practices and their critique. We seek to complicate the relationship of Marxist aesthetic theory with contemporary habits of criticism including notions of “economic performativity,” debt and finance as objects of artistic analysis, and ongoing debates about the scope and logic of commodification, each of which opens up new questions about the very representability of capitalism itself. The course will be organized around a set of “economic objects,” which range from proper art objects to phenomena (practices, objects, material) not conventionally belonging to the category of “art.” Readings will offer students exposure to current debates in aesthetics, critical theory and economic criticism.

Students will have the chance to work with faculty in the curation and commission of a new set of economic objects through the Gray Center. Art students and practitioners are encouraged to join.