For the Autumn 2018 issue of NECSUS we have again compiled dynamic visual material and scholarly texts, including contributions that expand current research themes and explore new forms. The special section in this issue covers the topic #Mapping, guest edited by Giorgio Avezzù, Teresa Castro, and Giuseppe Fidotta. The authors who have been selected to explore this theme are Marta Boni, Tiago de Luca, Chris Lukinbeal, Lola Remy, Laura Sharp, Janet Walker, and Adam Wickberg.
In the Features section we continue our series of interviews with influential figures in the field of film and media studies – this time speaking with Ian Christie at length. Christie’s wide-ranging career cannot be covered in one such piece, so we have concentrated on his work on Sergei Eisenstein, as well as his ongoing research concerning R.W. Paul, the British film pioneer. Christie has also curated a selection of Eisenstein’s drawings on paper, a practice that has only recently drawn attention and that demonstrates once again the versatility and multidisciplinarity of this endlessly-compelling legend of the cinematic arts.
In a first translation of an article that has been much discussed in its original German version, Shane Denson and Ruth Mayer shift the attention of serial studies from the franchises and series themselves to the entities which often embody the center of these universes – characters. By changing focus, they are able to highlight how media are protean and dynamic formations that only appear as static and solid in a certain perspective. In fact, media follow a serialised logic that is the hallmark of a market-driven and globalised world; the characters thus become examples and allegories of the work of media in the age of digital networks. Therefore, ‘serial figures operate as the very engineers of the changing intersections between seriality and mediality’.
Coinciding with the centenary of Ingmar Bergman’s birth, Anna Sofia Rossholm dives into the Bergman archives to look at a lesser-explored aspect of his creativity – the playfulness and shifting forms of his writing. Approaching screenwriting as an intermediate process across media, Rossholm brings Bergman’s notebooks to the fore and looks at his writing habits and strategies. Particular motifs and scenes migrate from early treatments in note form and in unpublished scripts (in particular The Cannibals, 1964) to the shooting scripts and published screenplays of Persona (1966) and The Hour of the Wolf (1968). The article assesses the formation of narrative voice and the reshaping of the material through processes of memory that inform the creative play of Bergman’s writing.
Rossella Catanese and Jussi Parikka demonstrate the dynamism of the experimental analog film scene considered under the prism of artist-run labs. Taking their cue from Annie van den Oever and Andreas Fickers, Catanese and Parikka point out how, in the post-digital age, handmade filmmaking testifies to the development of a media archaeology-based experimental practice. Their article resonates with the journal’s interest in publishing research that envisages media forms from a synchronic and diachronic point of view, questioning teleological accounts of media history and of contemporary developments.
Similarly, Miklós Kiss’ assembly of video works is an opportunity to engage with the question of what constitutes an ‘academic’ video essay. In this issue’s audiovisual essay section we present the second part of his extended investigation of videographic scene analysis. As usual, this issue also presents sections for book reviews, exhibition reviews, and festival reviews, under the editorship of a wonderful group of colleagues who we are fortunate to count among our long-term collaborators. Looking forward, in Spring 2019 we present a special section titled #Emotions, and an open call has been disitributed for the special section #Gesture in Autumn 2019. Our new online repository, hosted by Philipps University Marburg, provides open access to PDF downloads of back issues. Visit it at mediarep.org/handle/doc/330. Happy reading and happy holidays from all of us.