Call for Papers and Submission
“It turns out that an eerie type of chaos can lurk just behind a facade of order -
and yet, deep inside the chaos lurks an even eerier type of order.”
- Douglas R. Hofstadter
Classical Hollywood cinema was built around the concept of clearness, often modeling itself either on the Aristotelian structure advocated for in the Poetics or on the mythical and fairy tale structures identified, respectively, by Joseph Campbell and Vladimir Propp. An impression of order was thus achieved through the maintenance of unity in point of view (a single perspective conveying an impression of objectivity), causality (temporal linear progression), the interrelation of the main character’s goals and the narrative conflict (both of which had to be crystal clear) and unproblematic identities (equating an actor with one single character), among other aspects. According to David Bordwell, these action-oriented stories usually take place in numerous sites and are populated by multiple supporting characters; their ends typically entail the protagonist's transformation and a change in the environmental status quo.
However, European movements such as the French New Wave (Nouvelle Vague), which triggered the rise of modern cinema, and the American New Hollywood directors increasingly looked for different ways of telling stories, expressing a more complex and hazy outlook on life. This trend increased from the 90s onwards in several media: film, television, videogames, multimedia and the internet, with its hypertextual and interactive possibilities. From 2000 onwards, DVDs and video streaming allowed for more compelling ways of storytelling on TV series and web sites such as Youtube. New fruition possibilities arise as repeated viewings grant access to more details and narrative layers, creating a new communication paradigm that calls for a more active and participative stance from the viewers.
Nowadays, although the classical paradigm of the three-act structure still holds an important place in screenwriting, more and more writers, directors, producers, and prosumers, look for different possibilities of storytelling. Terms such as postclassical cinema, puzzle films, modular narratives, interactive fiction and complex narratives became common currency. The question therefore is: how does meaning emerge out of the obscure, the random and the unpredictable? Consequently, researchers are challenged to reflect upon the narrative devices through which order is balanced with chaos, symmetry with asymmetry, integration with differentiation, unity with multiplicity, intelligibility with mystery, continuity with disruption, stability with change. In what way do these dialectics produce simpler or more complex narrative patterns?
For this SRN conference we welcome papers that discuss the ideas of chaos and order in contemporary screen narrative, through such topics as:
- Chaos and order throughout the history of screenwriting;
- Chaos and the emergence of new types of order;
- Differentiation and integration in complex narratives;
- Tension, contention and disruption in screenwriting;
- Types of causality: linear, circular, structural...;
- Clearness, obscurity and mystery both in production and reception;
- Randomness vs. strict patterns either during production or reception;
- The relationship between complex narratives and film genres;
- Multiplicity of meanings vs. single meaning;
- Narratives about minorities in screenwriting;
- Interdisciplinary approaches to narration (pertaining to Philosophy, Psychology, Cultural Studies, etc.);
- Traditional vs. contemporary modes of narration;
- Contemporary world cinema, contemporary Hollywood cinema, and underground cinema;
- Poetic and narrative structures;
- Narrative modes of communication (interactive, unidirectional, etc.);
- Impact of new devices on disruptive screen narrative’s reception (VR, 4D, 5D, VOD, etc.);
- Intermediality (cinema, television, comics, new media, art installations, interactive cinema, web-related content);
- Narratives for screen interactive media (installations, videogames, webseries, etc.);
- The influence of television and other media on contemporary cinema;
- Narrative contamination between visual arts and cinema, as well as between cinematic arts and expanded cinema;
- Hybrid fiction and non-fiction.
In order to be eligible for this conference, the papers submitted need to be completely original (i.e., not presented in a previous conference even with a different title). Each author can only submit one abstract in one category only (of his or her choosing).
Submissions must be sent to SRN2019@porto.ucp.pt in a Word document containing the following information:
- authors’ names, affiliation and contact information;
- abstract (250-300 words);
- 3-5 keywords;
- authors’ short bio (100 words max.).
Please, type “SRN2019 Proposal” as email subject heading.
We accept individual submissions (for a 20-minute presentation) as well as pre-constituted panel submissions (3-4 presentations for a time-frame of 20 minutes each). The panel must have a coordinator, who is responsible for the submission. This person chooses the panel's title and its theme, compiles the abstracts and sends everything, organized into one single file, to the email address provided. The panel must also have a designated chair-person, whose contact information and short bio (100 words max.) must be provided by the coordinator in the submission.
Pre-constituted panels may also be proposed by an SNR Working Group leader in order to convey the research work being done in the group and/or its members, but in relation the working group theme.
Alternatively, a pre-constituted panel may be organized as a Discussion Forum panel, which is a workshop in which the 3-4 submitted articles are discussed. Each paper must be presented in 5 minutes, followed by a structured discussion based on a question line-up made up by the chair person. All participants must have read the papers in advance.
Types of Presentations:
- Oral presentations
The presentation is practice-based, combining different types of stimuli, of scientific and artistic nature. It is assumed that some information is not adequately conveyed by logical reasoning alone (using words, numbers, graphs…), thus implying incorporation of practical or artistic stimuli as well. During the presentation, each author will show his or her artistic/practical work in 10-15 minutes, accompanied by a theoretical reflection (5-10 minutes), making up a total of 20 minutes per work.
Authors are invited to present an audiovisual essay of 15 minutes maximum, in which they express a position on one of the above topics on narratives of chaos and order. It should not be a recording of a traditional paper presentation nor an art film, rather it must be an audiovisual discourse on a theoretical position. The screenings will be followed by a discussion with the authors. To submit an audiovisual essay, besides the before mentioned information explaining the theoretical content, authors should also describe the artistic form (700-1000 words).
All panel and paper proposals should be sent to the E-mail SRN2019@porto.ucp.pt until January 15th, 2019.
Submissions deadline: 15th January 2019
Acceptance information: 28th February 2019
Early bird registration: Until 15th May 2019
Regular registration: Until 15th July 2019
Late registration: Until 1st September 2019
Pre-conference: 11th September 2019
Conference: 12th, 13th and 14th September 2019