I had a wonderful conversation on this (and several other cinema-related topics) with Ms Terri Francis, the guest editor of this specific special issue of Black Camera (an academic film journal I strongly encourage you all to subscribe to HERE) – a conversation I wish was recorded so that I could share here.
Alas, it wasn’t; so you can become a part of that conversation by considering this call for papers; deadline date is February 1, 2013. But if you’re interested, do something.
The close-up issue on Afrosurrealism in film/video will be published in the fall of 2013. A book edited by Francis and published by Indiana University Press based on the this collection of essays will follow in 2014
In the conceptual space offered by Amiri Baraka’s notion of Afrosurreal expressionism, this special issue of Black Camera invites contributions that explore the experimental, absurd, and whimsical dimensions of black filmmaking. We seek to uncover avant-garde, experimental, or noncommercial motion pictures, artists, and publics throughout the African diaspora, particularly the Caribbean and Afro-Latin America. In no way prescriptive, this issue serves as a platform to redefine [question, explore] the genres of black film and of experimental film through comparing and situating them in the larger frame of surrealism’s other forms in music, literature, art, and theater as expressed in African diaspora cinemas.
While Afrosurrealist works may signify on magical or hallucinatory levels, their sense of heightened reality often arcs toward current or familiar political, cultural, and ethnic contexts and references. Experimental film/video refers to work that reflects the expansive use of surrealistic principles such as abstraction, animation, parody, symbolism, incongruous juxtapositions, disinterested play of thought, and/or direct manipulation of the film image, particularly by handcrafted or artisan techniques such as painting or scratching on the film. These films may seek to explore aspects of the unconscious, or they may approach reality through the lens of the fantastic through editing, unconventional use of sound, appropriation of found footage, or the use of film stock that is out of date, tinted, baked, or processed by unconventional means. Simultaneously, in Afrosurrealist film, the conventional opposition between the real and the imagined is displaced.
The editor is interested in essays that unpack the historical development, material conditions, or artistic/political claims or sensibilities of black experimental cinemas, possibly drawing upon interdisciplinary methods that reference music, dance, painting, photography, and theater or collaborations between filmmakers and artists who work in such fields.
Topics include: artifice, black arts movement, site of memory, LA Rebellion, the sublime, jazz and film, film clubs, shadow and act, settlement, displacement/migration, the 1940s avant-garde movement, sound, anthropology, diary films, implied revelation, dreams, contemporary art, the body, rupture, the archive, surrealism, Black Film Audio Collective, race and representation, modernism, Afrosurreal expressionism, visual pleasure, the Harlem renaissance, editing, painting, cinematography, folklore, the unconscious, dance, physical properties of film, collage, race films, alien familiar, Afromodernism, myth, theatricality, beauty, the black interior, photography and film, abstraction, documentary, handicraft or obscure techniques for processing film, conceptual art, amateur films, quilts, literary precursors or corollaries, the marvelous, negritude, the erotic, found footage, expressionism, liberation, ambiguity, non/theatrical exhibition, “blackness as metaphor,” funding sources, politics and aesthetics, and technology.
Essays, book and film reviews, interviews, and commentaries will be accepted. Essays should be 6,000–10,000 words. Interviews (6,000 words), commentaries (1,000–2,000 words), and book and film reviews (500–1,500 words) should also pertain to the theme of the journal issue. The editor welcomes work from a variety of disciplines and from a broad range of theoretical and political perspectives.
Please submit completed essays, a 100-word abstract, a fifty-word biography, and a CV. Submissions should conform to The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition. Please see journal guidelines for more on submission policy.
Direct all questions and correspondence to guest editor Terri Francis (firstname.lastname@example.org).