Halifax and Beyond

Posted by in Academix, Dispatches

1017145_836361056380586_1124104842_nEarlier this month I had the pleasure and privilege of participating in NSCAD’s Cineflux Symposium, an academic gathering that explores the “old new” forms, modes, practices and theories of cinema. My Postdoctoral supervisor, Dr. Darrell Varga, invited me to present a paper on the politics of presence and documentary activist screening spaces, which was indeed given to a receptive audience on the last Sunday morning of the symposium.

There was a slight hiccup with my arrival for my panel, as my phone was still set to Montreal time and the evening before the Spring time change had occurred. Off for a casual stroll to find a magazine shop in downtown Halifax and believing I still had an hour to kill, I received a phone call from Dr. Varga, who unbeknownst to me, had me on speaker phone in the conference room. After he asked me where I was and I informed him of the dandy time I was having walking around Halifax, he then informed me that our panel had started five minutes prior. My relaxing walk abruptly terminated, I hoofed it to the campus, arriving in a disheveled mess of sweat and nerves. It would seem I can always count on one of two things to go awry for my presentations: timing or technology. Luckily, my fellow panelists (Varga and Liz Marshall), along with the rest of the participants, invoked the magical Maritimes good-natured attitude, and all was copacetic.

The symposium was fantastic, a delicious collision-course of art and media theory, artists and academics, performance and poetry. I certainly hope NSCAD finds funding to continue this wee gem of a gathering. My trip was overall fantastic, in fact, and meeting some of the folks where I’m doing my Postdoctoral Research Fellowship was great. I also had a grand old time gallivanting about with Liz Marshall, director of the excellent documentary The Ghosts In Our Machines (read my review of the film here). A screening of her film at the Dalhousie campus proved the rule that activist documentary screening spaces nurture deep reflection, committed dialogue and audience engagement, with the post-screening discussion lasting over an hour (ending only when one astute professor in the room subtly injected the idea to the crowd, “beeeeeeeeer”).

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to more adventures in Halifax, and I’m especially keen to teach my summer course “Cinemas of Globalization,” while of course learning more about bread and politics from the inestimably talented Dr. Varga.

Pictured above: Liz Marshall and I are trapped behind the door leading to Dr. Varga’s office, and on the glass is a poster for Liz’s film screening and my class. Those Haligonians know how to promote!