Sunday, April 03, 2016

SCMS 2016 Day Four

Day Four was for bouncing around starting with Misha Kavka's "Truly, Madly, Queerly: Extending the Camp Canon" at the New Cultural Politics of Camp panel. Kavka traced the migration of camp into sitcoms, news, Republican debates, and, especially, reality television. While convergence works against the common reference point so crucial to the logistics of camp, a show like Mob Wives makes clear that camp is no longer a private code. A queer stylistic takes over such that the wives' behavior recalls transgender performance. But anger and fighting have replaced the life-affirming energy of camp.  

Then it was off to the Music Matters: Sound Studies in Context panel. Brain Fauteux's "'Songs You Need to Hear': Public Radio Partnerships and the Mobility of National Music" about the transnational song sharing programs of the BBC and the CBC. Fauteux asks: How does public radio constitute national identity in a transnational digital mediascape, especially when such sharing can lead to a global brand?
Steve Spence's "Eyes on the Prize and the Music of Black Power" was about the 1987 civil rights documentary Eyes on the Prize. Spence played a clip from the film in which Dr. Bernice Reagon explained the importance of song to the civil rights movement. When we sing, we resonate. Thus, songs can bring communities into existence. The song maintains the air around you so that no one (particularly, the police force) can take the space back. It changes the very air around you. Moral (courtesy of Kodwo Eshun): Rhythm is a biotechnology.
Colleen Montgomery's "From The Little Mermaid to Merida: Female Vocal Performance in Disney and Pixar Animation" discussed how a film like Brave gives girls' experience a voice given how the film is about finding a voice. Montgomery also demonstrated how the Dolby Atmos sound system had the mother and daughter's voices separated in surround speakers to heighten the dramatic conflicts between the two. 
Tim Anderson's "Listening to What I Want to Become: Instructional Records, Instructional Listening" explored the Music Minus One label as well as albums like Albert Brooks' Comedy Minus One - records in which one element of a song or routine is missing so that the listener (as musician or actor) can fill in the blanks. Anderson conceives of these curious discs as a method of teaching the listener how to listen to records. I would add that they encourage the kind of musical amateurism thought to be killed off by the decline of pianos and organs in family homes.
The fascinating Queer Excisions in Global Media panel featured Karl Schoonover on "Queer Excision 1: Jump Cuts as History and Aesthetic Form." Schoonover contends that because queers are written out of history and archives, excision becomes a mode of queer temporality. As an illustration of his contention, he showed Youtube clips of Tubog as Ginto (Dipped in Gold), a 1971 bomba film directed by Lino Brocka. The fact that we can watch these films in crappy bootlegs versions on YouTube is both archival and anarchival. Odd ellipses and repetitions suggest censorship. And there is a signalling of pleasure with some scenes played over and over leading to tape deterioration. Bootlegs thus trace the reception practice of sharing and desire. However, some shots of same sex intimacy are not in the YouTube version. We see a caress twice in a loop with dissolves or a jump cut of a remainder of a dissolve. They make for a revised queer space and time, unhitching viewing from the narrative event. In sum, some queer scholars have maintained that the classical continuity system makes heteronormativity an inevitabilty on top of which queer style can happen. But he's trying to redefine continuity as a mode alllowing different forms of connectedness. 
Marc Siegel's "How Do I Look Now?" harked back to the seminal 1991 Bad Object Choices collection How Do I Look? to look beyond the interests of the nation state and homonationalism. He analyzed two short films (Jaur├Ęs and Mondiale 2010) that look away from gay relationships and the couple through windows at Afghani immigrants and Palestinian refugees.
Keith Corson's "Tyler Perry Superstar: Brand Management and the Re-Imagination of Gospel Theater" revealed that Perry has never left the stage despite the success of his films. The live experience allows him to test what would work on film. He continually breaks the fourth wall and breaks character not in attempt at Brechtian distanciation but to make mental notes out loud. His films then generate an expectation of participation. They even have beats to allow for it. Thus, he turns the movie theater into gospel theater.

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