Characterized by repetition and duplication on the one hand, and diversity and progression on the other, serial forms have always been a key feature of media practices. One of the most common manifestations of seriality is the serialised narrative, especially popular in television where it regularly attracts large audiences. Yet serials, soaps, and sequels are not only interesting from an economic standpoint; increasingly, they are used as a
framework to experiment with innovative narrative techniques and to address issues of political and social concern.
Outshining many theatrical films – not only regarding the complexity of their story lines and characters, but often also with respect to their formal style – so called quality television series such as LOST, THE WIRE, or THE SOPRANOS present the latest trend. In a recent interview even the French cineaste Chris Marker confessed that he hardly ever goes to the cinema anymore but instead feeds his hunger for fiction with tv serials.
Media scholar Jason Mittell compares the proclaimed golden age of American television to the New Hollywood cinema of the late sixties and early seventies. During that period too, social, technological, and economic changes inspired the production of extraordinarily innovative works, with a new generation of filmmakers challenging prevailing norms of the entertainment industry and, in part, transforming it profoundly.
Bringing together scholars from various countries and disciplines, the conference takes the recent trend of quality television series as a starting point to explore the phenomenon of serial forms on a broad canvas. While the main focus will be on serial forms in cinema and television from the past and present, we would also like to discuss the role of serial forms in other media and art forms.
Speakers include: Jennifer M. Bean, Glen Creeber, Nicola Dusi, Jens Eder, Lorenz Engell, Ursula Ganz-Blaettler, Wolfgang Hagen, Britta Hartmann, Jason Mittell, Greg M. Smith, Jörg Schweinitz, Jörg Türschmann, and Rainer Winter.
For more information please visit the conference website at:
Robert Blanchet, Kristina Köhler, Tereza Smid, Julia Zutavern
Institute of Cinema Studies
University of Zurich
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