100 Years of 16mm – Call for Papers
With its devices and materials largely consigned to archives, storage closets, and junk shops, it is easy to forget that 16mm was – for over 50 years – a major global media infrastructure. Considered an ascendant technological platform from the 1920s onward, 16mm was a suite of hardware and software that rapidly wended its way into the operations of government, industry, business, military, schools, museums, and homes. Sold as an amateur’s delight, a mighty military tool of operations, a miraculous business solution and a community organizing device, it transformed realms large and small, public and private, local and global. By mid-century, millions of 16mm cameras and projectors had launched countless new audio-visual forms and created everyday interfaces that reshaped how and what people would see and hear. New kinds of content arose, which appeared in remote as well as common places. Audiences morphed; They could be as small as one but as big as the formal and informal networks that grew to connect them. Colonialist, imperialist, nationalist, and multi-nationalist institutions arose using this non-flammable, highly portable film format. Artists and activists also engaged these small affordable media machines establishing other, and sometimes, counter-pathways. Standardized in 1923, 16mm technologies, institutions, and practices constituted a primary and dominant media substrate for more than half a century, enabling a vast arena of film and media activity.
It’s time for a more fulsome assessment of its legacies.
This IN FOCUS (Journal of Cinema and Media Studies) invites proposals for essays addressing the crucial, generative, and transformative history of 16mm film as a tool of making, storing, preserving, distributing, and showing moving images and sounds. For almost 100 years, this uniquely important film format has upended and reshaped a vast realm of creative, political, governmental, sexual, educational, recreational, informational, and experimental activity. This dossier begins a conversation about its histories and impact, working to catalyze a fuller understanding of this particular moving image/sound infrastructure and the many practices and expressive forms it enabled. Mapping its lasting, diverse and global impacts will be a priority of this IN FOCUS feature. Contributions may take the form of case studies or surveys, conceptual explorations, formal/artistic examinations, or institutional and technological studies.
Please share a brief 150-word abstract or statement of interest by March 31, 2021.
Send to: Haidee Wasson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Professor, Film and Media Studies, Concordia University, Montreal
Final Essays: 2500 words; due January 1, 2022
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