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Film and Media Studies
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A Unique PhD Funding Opportunity for 2021-22

Queen's University Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies graduate program is offering a fully funded PhD in the topics of image, space, and technology for domestic Canadian students under the supervision of Dr. Gabriel Menotti, beginning in September 2021. Dr. Menotti specializes in moving image curation across different platforms. He is currently working on the subject of digital replicas and cultural heritage.

Dr. Menotti is looking for projects that promote new approaches to moving image practices. Possible subjects include but are not limited to: the interaction between cinema, new media and contemporary art; audiovisual installations and live performances; VR and volumetric filmmaking; videogames, machinima, procedural and algorithmic movies; online video cultures; computer vision and machine learning; media ecologies; exhibition and distribution platforms. Initiatives that deploy research-creation and curation are particularly welcomed. The selected candidate will work in connection with the Besides the Screen network

The grant comprises a funding package of CAD 21,000 for four years (it is the responsibility of the student to pay tuition and fees, currently around $7200).

Launched in the Fall of 2019, the Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies program is a collaboration between Queen's Department of Film and Media and Agnes Etherington Art Centre. The program’s three strongly interconnected areas of focus—studies, production, and curation —are designed to stimulate inventive dialogue in ways that ensure their respective influence, and in ways that open exciting points of access to multiple disciplinary formations.  This collaborative tripartite structure is not offered in any other film, media, cinema, art or communication Master’s or PhD program in Ontario.

Interested candidates should first contact Dr. Menotti at gabriel.menotti@queensu.ca by December 2020.

Garden Studies

Garden Studies

Garden Studies draws wide linkages between Agnes Etherington’s fondness for gardens and botanical decor, artistic depictions of plants and flowers from the Agnes collection and Kingston’s colonial architecture and prison cultures. As if mimicking the propagation of plants—such as the lily-of-the-valley or nettle—that make nodes from which new plants can spring, this project makes connections between apparently unrelated spaces and ideas. The works explore feelings of comfort, power and agency. In doing so, they raise questions about mental and social effects of middle-class domesticity and about settler-colonial prison systems that enclose space and shape definitions of value. By exploring the window and the garden together in a play of forms and perspectives, the curatorial team invites viewers to reflect on thresholds between inside and outside and to visualize a sort of conceptual garden as a nurturing space for growth and relations within difference. Can a “garden” of artworks gesture to a future space for which we collectively long?

Artists include André Biéler, Napoleon Brousseau, David Garneau, Julius Griffith, Barker Fairley, Dana Holst, Geoffrey James, Brian Jungen, Kingston Residents of the Prison for Women, Ozias Leduc, Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens, Anne Ramsden, Mary E. Rawlyk, Mélanie Rocan, Ho Tam, Tightwire’s incarcerated editors, artists and writers, Lisa Visser and Margaux Williamson

Curated by Tyler Adair, Alison Kiawenniserathe Benedict, Amit Breuer, Jed English, Peggy Fussell and Barbara Matthews, with Sunny Kerr as part of the Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies graduate seminar Curating in Context. Special thanks to Michelle Bunton, Curatorial Assistant, Contemporary Art.

On exhibit at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. 

Visit: https://agnes.queensu.ca/exhibition/garden-studies/


Peggy Fussell - Master's Thesis Synopsis

Wonder Turners & Other Optical Oddities: a history of 19th century inventions and their influence on the perception of time, motion and attention.

Optical toys, also known as philosophical toys, presaged the use of media and technology in education. Fueled by popular interest in spiritualism, perception and illusions, these toys, such as the thaumatrope and zoetrope, demonstrated natural causes for optical phenomena and had a direct influence on our understanding of visual perception and the concepts of time, movement and attention. They range from small hand held delights, like the kaleidoscope, to parlour entertainments for families, up to large mechanisms designed to inspire audiences in theatres and at scientific conventions. In addition to optics, much can be learned from these toys. By placing them in their historical context, optical toys provide a window into the roots of children's media culture and its relationship to education. The way that many inventors collaborated, or didn’t, beautifully illustrates the concepts of scaffolded learning or building on previous knowledge, learning through making mistakes, revision and persistence. As with all media, opportunities to examine propaganda and biases abound. Included are reproductions of  inventors’ original drawings and photography, as well as illustrations of a variety of optical toys. 

Picture of Title Art

Peggy completed her Master's in SCCS in October 2020 and has now begun her PhD in SCCS.

Tyler Adair - Master's Thesis Abstract

In the wake of the ‘post-political’ turn and the foreclosure of politics as a productive space of “contestation and agonistic engagement” (Wilson and Swynegedouw 6) in the neoliberal age, this project seeks to return to and refurbish the contributions of the German playwright and theorist Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) to film theory, particularly as they were engaged with and put into practice by the critics of the Cahiers du Cinema and Screen in the aftermath of the events of May 1968. Resisting the “Brecht-fatigue” which accompanied the larger global “Marxism-fatigue” (qtd. in Kleber 8) in the postmodern period, I argue for the enduring relevance of maintaining fidelity to a ‘politics of form’ as advocated by these thinkers while also acknowledging the theoretical excesses of the period as they have been identified by Sylvia Harvey and Dana Polan, namely, the conflation of Brechtianism with a deconstruction of film language and an impenetrable and self-cannibalizing modernism which was at risk of losing its political relevance. However, in order to redeem the remarkable films of Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet at the core of this project, arguably the exemplars of ‘Brechtian cinema’ who are most often singled out as embodying this excess, I attempt to initiate a hermenutical shift in the reception of their films by examining their underexplored ‘Bazinian dimension’ and the profound influence of Andre Bazin’s thought on Straub. Focusing on his 2014 film, Kommunisten, I argue that the political dimension of its style resides in its taking a particular attitude towards reality and articulates, through the power of the image, certain facts about the contingency of our situation today to demonstrate that these conditions are neither natural nor eternal, but can be infinitely transformed.

Tyler completed his Master's in SCCS in October 2020.