CFP: Stocks, Screens, and Servers: The Materiality of Media

The Velvet Light Trap editorial board would like to announce that the
submission for issue #70 has been extended to October 15 (it was originally
September 15). We continue to welcome any papers that address one or more
aspects of the topic outlined below. Please do not hesitate to write us at should you have any questions pertaining to
this message or the CFP.

- VLT Editorial Board

The Velvet Light Trap #70 CFP:
Stocks, Screens, and Servers: The Materiality of Media

As culture becomes increasingly digitized— from downloading and streaming
videos and music to digital film production and cloud computing— arguments
for the “dematerialization” of media are becoming commonplace. However,
media have always been, and remain, embedded in and structured by material
objects, networks, and practices that delimit their uses and meanings. Any
cultural artifact bears traces and consequences of the material conditions
of its production, distribution, and reception, whether the size and weight
of the camera that shot a film’s images, the geography of the shipping or
cable network through which it was transported or transmitted, or the spaces
occupied by physical record or DVD collections. Even ostensibly
“dematerialized” digital media find material existence in hard disks, server
farms, and wires— as well as in the proliferation of new media devices, from
smart phones to iPads.

The perception of the diminished materiality of media presents us with an
opportunity to reconsider (and reaffirm) the material dimensions of media,
both in terms of the present moment and from an historical perspective. To
this end, The Velvet Light Trap seeks articles considering the implications
of the materiality of media, welcoming studies of film, television, and new
media from a range of approaches— including historical, theoretical,
ethnographic, and/or textual.

Potential areas of inquiry include (but are by no means limited to):
- the effects of technological and other material factors on
film/media craft practices and style
- screen technologies and other exhibition devices, old and new
- issues in the political economy of the manufacture and disposal of
media objects and devices (e.g., labor conditions, e-waste)
- logics and operations of physical networks of distribution and
- media infrastructures and cultural geography
- physical interactivity with media interfaces
- the imitation of material objects in the digital realm (e.g., album
art and liner notes)
- the resurgence of physical formats once presumed ‘dead’ (e.g.,
vinyl, cassette tapes)
- material dimensions of reception and fandom (e.g., collecting,
- the aestheticization of media commodities
- materiality, memory, and nostalgia
- material media objects, cultural capital, and taste
- material collections, archiving, and film/media historiography
- the exploration of materiality by particular artists and/or texts
- materiality and avant-garde cinema
- media materiality and policy

Submissions should be between 6,000 and 7,500 words (approximately 20-25
pages double-spaced), in MLA style. Please submit one electronic copy of the
paper, along with a one-page abstract, saved as a Word .doc file; remove any
identifying information so that the submission is suitable for anonymous
review. The journal's Editorial Board will referee all submissions. Send
electronic manuscripts and/or any questions to
All submissions must be received by October 15.

The Velvet Light Trap is an academic, peer-reviewed journal of film,
television, and new media studies. Graduate students at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas-Austin alternately coordinate
issues. The Editorial Advisory Board includes such notable scholars as
Richard Allen, Henry Benshoff, Mia Consalvo, David Desser, Radhika Gajjala,
Darrell Hamamoto, Joan Hawkins, Barbara Klinger, Jon Kraszewski, Joe
McElhaney, Diane Negra, Michael Newman, Alisa Perren, Aswin Punathambekar,
Yeidy Rivero, Nicholas Sammond, Beretta Smith-Shomade, Cristina Venegas, and
Michael Williams.


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