12th Annual Yale Film and Media Studies Graduate Student Conference: “Wearing Out The Image”

Event time: 
Saturday, February 9, 2019 - 10:15am
Whitney Humanities Center, Room 208 See map
53 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520
Event description: 

Yale Film and Media Studies presents: 

The 12th Annual Yale Film and Media Studies Graduate Student Two Day Conference:  “Wearing Out The Image.”

Keynote Speaker:  Elena Gorfinkel, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, King’s College London.

“What weariness makes possible, weariness makes difficult.”
Maurice Blanchot, The Infinite Conversation

Exhaustion, fatigue, torpor, weariness, abeyance—this constellation of affects has come to define the default state of the everyday in our global and information-driven economies. As the world of labor permeates leisurely time in sleepless societies, depleting the domains of attentive, affective, and cognitive work, states of deprivation are normalized as modes of material and psychological engagement with the world. Precarity has become the necessary precondition for and inextricable product of labor. The imperative to exhaust oneself to secure a livelihood that nevertheless remains depleted creates a circular logic which extends well beyond the sphere of the human. Our deprivation thus appears to be an unending process rather than a completed state. We might ask, then: can exhaustion constitute a potential reservoir for political capaciousness? Or is exhaustion a paradoxical site for lateral agency, where the promises of utopianism are nothing but the vestigial remains of obsolete politics?

The stakes of exhausted situations have always been intricately bound up with visual media. Film began with employees leaving a factory. Some declare that it will end with the absorption and relocation of this cinematic labor within new media, screens and cultural techniques. From Maxim Gorky’s early elaboration of the over-drained sensorium to digital media’s unnerving capacity to make us vulnerable through pervasive surveillance and incessant enlisting of our attentional resources; from Robert Bresson’s numbed “models” and Andy Warhol’s wearily indifferent subjects, to Tsai Ming-Liang’s temporally alienated drifters and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s hallucinating sleepers, the cinema has exhibited a near-physiological capacity to expose the rhythms, effects, temporalities of tired bodies and depleted environments. Yet, as we navigate the intrusions of contemporary mediascapes, a new paradigm for the exhausted emerges. Digital media exhaust us by their exhaustiveness: our lives, continuously seeping through them, are left oversaturated, overused, and overexposed. It is the intrinsic tension pervading ‘exhaustion’ that this conference aims to explore within the spheres of film and media.


10:15 am:  Breakfast

11:00 – 12:30 pm:  Panel 2: Exhausted Bodies

  • Emma Ben Ayoun (USC), “The body ill at ease: autobiography, sickness, and exhaustion in Silverlake Life (1993) and Unrest (2017)”
  • RL Goldberg (Princeton), “‘I feel like a Child Who is Beginning to do Things, to Learn’: Feeling Trans, Feeling Exhausted”
  • Patricia Gomes (UC Berkeley), “and still I…” craft: poetic and fibrous interruptions of black feminist living
  • Respondent: Faye Wang, PhD candidate in American Studies, Yale University

12:30 – 1:30 pm:  Lunch

1:30 – 3:00pm Panel 3: Corrosive Media

  • Ankita Deb (Stanford), “Exhausted Memories: Gupt Gyan and sensorial loss”
  • Tinghao Zhou (Columbia), “Washed-Out Images, Washed-Out Bodies: The Poetics and Politics of Light Pollution”
  • Pujan Karambeigi (Columbia), “Against all possible surprise attacks: Astrid Klein’s phantasmagoric care [1981-1984]”
  • Respondent: Hsin-Yuan Peng, PhD candidate in Film and Media Studies & Comparative Literature, Yale University

3:00 to 3:30 pm:  Break

3:30 to 5:00 pm:  Panel 4: Alternative Sensorium

  • Kelly Coyne (Northwestern), “‘Every Day She Squanders Hours’: Discursive Exhaustion in “The Prairie Wife””
  • Hyemin Kim (Brooklyn College/CUNY), “Night, refuge of the derelict: Chantal Akerman’s J’ai faim, J’ai froid (1984) and Nuit et jour (1991)”
  • Alex Zhang (UChicago), “An Attempt at Exhausting a Railway in Norway: Slow Television and the Therapeutic Everyday”
  • Respondent: Oksana Chefranova, Associate Research Scholar in Film and Media Studies, Yale University

5:00 to 5:15 pm:  Concluding Remarks

Open to: 
General Public