Monday, 19 July 2010

Film-philosophy III conference at Warwick University

Having attended the three day film-philosophy conference at Warwick for one day only (and therefore commenting as somewhat of an outsider/observer of the proceedings) I am left pondering the nature of the subject, both in terms of teaching and research. I guess this would be one aim of interdisciplinary conferences such as this in a sub-discpline which still struggles to define its relationship to its composite parts.

Certainly, the papers raised lots of really interesting (and extremely wide-ranging) concerns and issues, and as expected yielded lots of useful material, though much of this will need to be processed and synthesised via my mental processes before appearing in more coherent form! Furthermore, the sheer diversity of delegates and speakers was further food for thought, ranging from philosophers and film theorists to practitioners eg film makers. As might be imagined, this clash of viewpoints sparked some interesting debate...

The feeling that lingers at present, though, is wonder at the huge diversity of topics that appear under the aegis of film-philosophy! The morning's panel, revolving around Stiegler and Time, tended towards applied and pure forms of philosophy, with sparing use of filmic examples.

The afternoon's session concerning identity, meanwhile, strayed onto more traditional film studies territory ie psycho-analytical approaches, via the organising trope of "the troubled mind", this time with explicit use of filmic material. Importantly, much of this seemed to me to have have less to do with standard definitions of "philosophy", and might have been equally well placed in a film studies conference. One might have expected identity to have been approached largely via concepts drawn from philosophy of mind, for example. Certainly this is how "film-philsophy" tends to approach the issue. So again, plenty to think about here.

Plenty to muse on, then, some of which will hopefully inform and enrich future teaching and research. And certainly a productive way to spend a showery Saturday on the outskirts of Coventry!

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