CFP: The New Old: Archaism and Anachronism Across Media

Alphaville Journal of Film and Screen Media
The New Old: Archaism and Anachronism Across Media

Guest Editors: Stefano Baschiera (Queen’s University Belfast) and Elena Caoduro (University of Bedfordshire)

Deadline: Friday 19th February 2016

This special issue of Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media aims to investigate the role that deliberate anachronism and archaism play in relation to film, television and the digital media and how these sensibilities manifest in the contemporary mediascape. Over the past decade, the digitalisation of culture has revolutionised the way we experience and consume arts and mass media, deeply affecting how they are perceived in their digital materiality. In fact, the tangibility of cultural objects is somewhat lessened, so that they can relocate elsewhere in a constant process of remediation. At the same time, this digital disruption has contributed to the emergence of a postmodern “nostalgia for the analogue” with the rapid increase of vintage and retro phenomena in arts and society. This new sensibility towards the past manifests itself in two ways. On the one hand, it appears in the persistence of vintage objects as cultural artefacts from specific periods which find new (albeit often anachronistic) uses in contemporary life. While vinyls, old-medium-format cameras, polaroids, audiocassettes and typewriters populate our living rooms as design objects, artists and filmmakers rediscover 16mm films and U-Matic tapes. On the other hand, new cultural products look at the past mimicking old styles, stories, and textures. Video games rediscover the simplicity of 2D and 8-bit technology, computer and smartphone applications feature skeuomorphic design, photo filters applications are able to digitally age pictures, and everyday objects, from clothing to appliances, constantly look at past styles.

Popular culture critic Simon Reynolds has correctly identified the renaissance of past decades at the turn of the new millennium. He argues that “instead of being the threshold to the future, the first ten years of the twenty-first century turned out to be the ‘Re’ Decade. The 2000s were dominated by the ‘re-‘ prefix: revivals, reissues, remakes, re-enactments. Endless retrospection” (2001: xi). This special issue of Alphaville sheds light on the complexities of the consumption and representation of new-old styles in film and screen media, and questions whether this phenomenon is simply restorative and nostalgic or progressive and future-oriented.

Accordingly, the Guest Editors invite contributors to investigate topics and issues such as:

●      technological anachronism in screen media;

●      deliberate archaism;

●      postmodern nostalgia and material culture;

●      faux-vintage as aesthetic category;

●      sustainability, recycling and vintage objects;

●      “retro” and authenticity in visual media;

●      media archaeology;

●      ruinophilia;

●      the revival of old sub-genres in Film & TV;

●      films and video games as vintage objects;

●      representation of “vintage” decades;

●      retro “across borders” and transnational retro-aesthetic;

●      vintage cinema and fashion industry;

●      heritage vs. vintage cinema;

●      “museum aesthetics” in Film & TV;

●      props, costumes and set design;

●      vintage/retro style and gender.

Potential contributors are invited to submit a 300-word abstract with a short bibliography by Friday, 19th of February 2016 to the following addresses: and Completed articles of approximately 6,000 words in length (minimum 5,500 words) that fully adhere to the journal style must be submitted by 1st of May 2016. Video essays with a supporting text can also be considered. Please contact the Guest Editors, Stefano Baschiera and Elenca Caoduro, for any queries at the above addresses.


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