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Artists' Film Biennial 2014

Artists' Film Biennial 2014 Symposium: Aesthetics of the Non-visible

5 Jul 2014

John Berger has said of photography that fear of the medium’s power for deception is built on a belief in its documentary verity, its inability to not pay equal attention to all that has come through the camera’s aperture. With the advent of cinematography, photography’s imagined veritability combined with the illusory power of the moving image to produce myriad excursions into the murky territory between the visible and the non-visible.

Taking a cue from the filmic desire to explore that which goes beyond everyday perception and dominant modes of visibility, this symposium examines how the non-visible may or may not be brought to light, through three interconnected discussions concerning: the contexts for the display of moving image, the hidden digital realities of contemporary experience, and the spiralling possibilities of the ever-expanding archive of remediated culture.  

The symposium, introduced by Dr Ben Cranfield and led by Professor Ian Christie, Dr Joel McKim and Professor Esther Leslie, is a collaboration between Birkbeck School of Arts and the ICA.

Panel 1: Physical contexts and presentation formats

Speaker: Ian Christie (Anniversary Professor of Film and Media History, Birkbeck) will raise issues around historical and contemporary film installation practices related to canonisation, viewing positions and ambulatory or environmental spectatorship.

Chair: Dr Michael Temple (Reader in Film and Media, Birkbeck).


Elizabeth Johnson (Researching Bruce Nauman’s use of film in the studio and co-founder of Critical Waves)
Matthew Barrington (Researching Slow Cinema and the relationship between art gallery and cinema)
Cansu Safak (Researching computer-based interactivity and its impact on new and existing art forms)

Panel 2: Digital realities, codes and networks

Speaker: Joel Mckim (Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, Birkbeck) will address the invisible infrastructure of data centres and digital code that underpins creative digital work and the self-reflexive activities of filmmakers and artists.

Chair: Dr Simone Wesner (Programme Director MA in Arts Policy and Management).


Marc Garret (Co-director and –founder of Furtherfield Gallery and
Ricardo Domizio (Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, London Southbank University)
Daniel O’Donnel Smith (Poet and musician, Moscow Youth Cult)

Panel 3: Archival recurrences and aesthetics of the non-visible

Speaker: Esther Leslie (Professor in Political Aesthetics, Birkbeck) will explore the relationship between the internet as archive and the social expressivity of the art film and the notion of the contaminated archive image.

Chair: Ben Cranfield (Director of the Doctoral Programme in Humanities and Cultural Studies and the MRes in Cultural Enquiry, Birkbeck)


Andrea Vesentini (Film critic and researching interior spaces in postwar American suburbia and their interaction with the outdoors)
Lisa Mullen (Researching the politics and aesthetics of uncanny objects in post-war British culture)
Yu Ling Chou (Assistant curator in residence for Asia Art Triennial Manchester 2014)

All respondents are currently studying towards a PhD at Birkbeck.

Please note that all films are 18+ unless otherwise stated.

In partnership with


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