Kino im deutschen Filmmuseum
Museum Angewandte Kunst

Can machines be beautiful? Of course they can – celebrating the beauty of industry and technology has been a key motif of the avant-gardes of the 20th century, from Futurism to Russian constructivism. But what happens when art itself becomes a useful part of the machine, an engine of industry even? The international conference “Films that Work” studies the use value of aesthetics and the uses of film in industrial organizations and industrial policy in particular. Featuring the work of specialists from Europe, the United States and Asia, the conference works from the assumption that economic development requires industrial organization, while industrial organization requires communication and communication requires media. As economist Robert Solow was among the first to point out (in a famous article from 1956, a few years before Marshall McLuhan published “Understanding Media”), without media such as the typewriter, the telephone, telex, telefax and information technology the economic development of the last one hundred and fifty years would have been unthinkable. Because of the emotional impact of moving images, film continues to occupy a privileged position in the “Medienverbund” of corporate communication. Bringing together perspectives from cinema and media studies, economic history and science and technology studies, this conference aims to develop an analytical framework for understanding the uses of art in industry and the media culture of industry.

The conference is open to the public and includes screenings of rare films from archives in the United States, Great Britain, Italy and Central and Eastern Europe.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Venue Filmmuseum

12 noon – 1 p. m.
Arrival and check-in, Kino im Filmmuseum

1 p. m.
Conference Opening
(Vinzenz Hediger, Florian Hoof, Yvonne Zimmermann)

2 – 3:45 p. m.
Platforms and Practices of Circulation 1
Rick Prelinger (Santa Cruz)
Industrial Cinema as Agent of Rebirth: The Emergence of New Archival Paradigms and Practices in the 1980s
Brian Jacobson (Toronto)
International Industrial Film Festivals and a World Community of Filmmakers
Chair: Malte Hagener (Professor of Media Studies, Philipps-Universität Marburg)

4 – 5:45 p. m.
Platforms and Practices of Circulation 2
Steve Foxon (BFI London)
’There Are More Seats Outside of the Cinema’ – An Examination of Non-Theatrical Distribution in Post-War Britain: British Transport Films and the Shell Film Unit
Christian Bonah (Strasbourg)
Beyond Commission. Industrial Pharmaceutical Film Production and Circulation by the French Film Production Company ScienceFilm, 1950–1990
Chair: Florian Sprenger (Professor of Media Culture, Universität Frankfurt/M.)

6:15 – 8 p. m.
Screening 1
Antonioni, Ermanno Olmi, Bruno Bozzetto and others
(curated and presented by Anna Maria Falchero)

Fiat 522 – Sotto i tuoi occhi (Fiat, IT 1932–33)
Sette canne, un vestito (Snia BPD, IT 1949, R: Michelangelo Antonioni)
La pattuglia del Passo San Giacomo (Edison, IT 1954, R: Ermanno Olmi)
Treni sull’acqua (FS, IT 1956, R: Gaetano Pontresemolo)
Io, la Vespa (Piaggio, I 1959), R: Luciano Emmer
Il grande paese dell’acciaio (Edison, I 1960)
Occhio all’etichetta (Montecattini, IT 1966, R: Giovanni Cecchinato)
Looking for the Right Way (Ilva, IT 1970, R: Bruno Bozzetto)
Servizio nelle stazioni di rifornimento (Agip – ENI, IT 1955)

8 p. m.
Opening reception

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Venue Filmmuseum

9 – 10:45 a. m.
Circulations of Knowledge: Governance and Instruction 1
Lee Grieveson (London)
The Pan American Road to Happiness and Friendship
Scott Anthony (Cambridge/Singapore)
Free Enterprise Film: The Aims of Industry on Screen
Chair: Martin Loiperdinger (Professor of Media Studies, University of Trier)

11:15 a. m. – 1 p. m.
Circulations of Knowledge: Governance and Instruction 2
Charles Acland (Montreal)
New Media for the School of Tomorrow: The AV Instructional Films of Robert W. Wagner
Oliver Gaycken (Maryland)
Pouring, Welding, Pulverizing, etc.: Cataloguing the Movements and Behaviors in the Encyclopedia Cinematographica’s Technical Science Collection
Chair: Florian Hoof (Assistant Professor, Universität Frankfurt/M.)

1 – 2 p. m.
Lunch break

2 – 3:45 p. m.
The Politics of Empire(s) 1
Dr. Ravi Vasudevan (New Delhi)
Information Film Infrastructures: Film Policies and Practices in Colonial India, 1918–1946
Tom Rice (St. Andrews)
Working through the End of Empire
Chair: Christian Kleinschmidt (Professor of Economic History, Philipps-Universität Marburg)

4 – 5:45 p. m.
The Politics of Empire(s) 2
Rudmer Canjels (Amsterdam)
Framing Local and International Sentiments: Unilever and Royal Dutch Shell Imagining Change and Tradition in Nigeria
Martin Stollery (Southampton Institute)
Saudi Arabia’s John Ford? Robert Yarnall Richie, Desert Venture and Biographical Legends in Industrial Film
Chair: Vinzenz Hediger (Professor of Cinema Studies, Universität Frankfurt/M.)

6:15 – 8 p. m.
Screening 2
Industrial Image / Industrial Sound: Films from the BFI
(curated and presented by Patrick Russell)

Guinness for You (Guinness, d. Anthony Short, 1971, 15’)
The Balance 1950 (ICI, 1951, 9’)
Every Valley (British Transport Films, d. Michael Clarke, 1957, 20’)
Songs of the Coalfields (National Coal Board, 1957/1964, 13’)
This is Shell (Shell, d. Geoffrey Jones, 1970, 7’)
Divertimento (BP, 1968, 7’)
Stone into Steel (United Steel, d. Paul Dickson, 1960, 35’)

8:15 p. m.
Screening 3

La via del petrolio (Agip – ENI, IT 1966, R: Bernardo Bertolucci)
Teil 1: Le origini (48’)
Teil 2: Il Viaggio (40’)
Teil 3: Attraverso l’Europa (45’)

Thursday, December 17, 2015
Venue Filmmuseum

9 – 10:45 a. m.
The Politics of Performance: Energy and Work 1
Patrick Russell (London)
Transfer of Power: Film and the Competing Energy Industries of Post-War Britain
Lucie Cesálková (Brno)
Energy of a Tamed Element: Water Management Films between Science, Industry, Ecology and Art
Chair: Yvonne Zimmermann (Professor of Media Studies, Philipps-Universität Marburg)

11:15 a. m. – 1 p. m.
The Politics of Performance: Energy and Work 2
Yvonne Zimmermann (Marburg)
Energy Flows: Circulation and Transformation in Films on Hydropower in Switzerland before 1965
Maria Vinogradova (New York)
Soviet Industrial Film: Types, Production, Uses
Chair: Jan-Ottmar Hesse (Professor of Social and Economic History, University of Bayreuth)

1 – 2 p. m.
Lunch break

2 – 3:45 p. m.
Expanded Industrial Cinema
Haidee Wasson (Concordia)
Expansionist Experiments: Film Technologies and Industrial-Military Ecologies
Giulio Bursi (IUML University Milan)
The Future of What? Edgar Reitz’s Variavision and its Afterlives
Chair: Rembert Hüser (Professor of Media Studies, Universität Frankfurt/M.)

4 – 5:45 p. m.
The Poetry of Industry 1: Rhetoric
Gwenaële Rot / François Vatin (Paris)
Le chant du styrène: Poetry and Corporate Communications in 1950s France
Anna Maria Falchero (Perugia)
Movie and industry in Italy: The “Golden Age” of Italian Industrial Documentary (1950–1970)
Chair: Clemens Zimmermann (Professor of Media and Cultural History, Universität Saarbrücken)

6:15 – 8 p. m.
Screening 4
Mobility and Communication. A Program of US Industrial Films
(curated and presented by Rick Prelinger)

Master Hands (Jam Handy Organization for Chevrolet Motor Company, 1936, 32’, 35 mm, B&W)
American Look (Jam Handy Organization for Chevrolet Motor Company, 1958, 28’, 35 mm, SuperScope, Technicolor)
In the Suburbs (On Film Inc. for Redbook Magazine, 1957, 22’, Kodachrome, digital)
Long Distance (Audio Productions Inc. for the Bell System 1941, 14’, BW, digital)

Friday, December 18, 2015
Venue Museum Angewandte Kunst

9 – 10:45 a. m.
The Poetry of Industry 2: Sound
Alessandro Cecchi (Pisa)
Creative Films for Creative Corporations: Audiovisual Experimentation in Italian Industrial Films of the Economic Miracle and After
Annette Davison (Edinburgh)
Listening to Shell’s (Films)
Chair: Marion Saxer (Professor of Musicology, Universität Frankfurt/M.)

11:15 a. m. – 1 p. m.
Industrial Cinema as Assemblage and Resource
Ira Plein (Luxemburg)
Beautiful Luxembourg, Steel Works and a Swimmingpool. Notes on the Corporate Film Columeta (1921/22) and the Echo of Motifs in Luxembourgian Presentations of the Steel Industry
Alain Michel (Paris)
War, Peace and Education: Aux usines Renault and the Different Uses of the Same Moving Picture from 1917 to 1925
Chair: Sonia Campanini (Professor of Film Culture, Universität Frankfurt/M.)

1 – 2 p. m.
Lunch break

2 – 3:45 p. m.
Screening 5 (@ Museum für Angewandte Kunst)
Czech and Sovjet Industrial Cinema
(curated and presented by Lucie Cesalkova and Maria Vinogradova)

Zemˇe se otevírá / The Earth Opens (Jan Libora, 193, 11’, 35 mm, BW)
Zdaˇr B˚uh, hoši / Godspeed, Guys (Jiří Krejčík, 1944, 15’, 35 mm, BW)
Hrdinové práce / Heroes of Labour (Jiří Krejčík, 1945, 15’, 35 mm, BW)
Bitva pod zemí / Underground Battle (Drahoslav Holub, 1949, 15’, 35 mm, BW)
Mechanisace dol˚u / Mechanisation of Mines (František Lukáš, 1951, 13’, 16 mm, BW; screening format Full HD/h264)
Budnii Vecher / A Weeknight (MIIT-Film, Moscow, 1964, 9’, 35 mm, BW)
V trude i na dosuge / At Work and Leisure (Amateur Film Studio of Ball-Bearing Factory No. 1 (GPZ №1), Moscow, 10’, 35 mm, color)
Takoe bol’shoe pole / Such A Vast Field (Peoples’ Film Studio of DK Proftekhobrazovania, Leningrad, 1977, 10’, 35 mm, BW)

4 – 6 p. m.
Panel Discussion: The Afterlives of an Ephemeral Form
Jan-Ottmar Hesse (Bayreuth; economic history / media studies)
Anja Laukötter (Berlin; history of science / film studies)
Thomas Turnbull (Oxford; history of technology)
Daniela Zetti (Zurich; history of technology / media studies)

Moderators: Yvonne Zimmermann, Florian Hoof and Vinzenz Hediger

6 p. m.
Closing remarks

Platforms and Practices of Circulation 1

Rick Prelinger (Santa Cruz): Industrial Cinema as Agent of Rebirth: The Emergence of New Archival Paradigms and Practices in the 1980s
This paper proposes that the rediscovery of industrial and useful cinemas became one of the primary influences in the reformulation of archival moving image practice that began to markedly accelerate in the early 1980s. Propelled by a growing interest in records of everyday life and industry on the part of media producers and the public, this recasting of mission and practice helped to move archives from the cultural periphery towards the center. The resulting push-pull between traditional visions of the archives, legacy archival workflows and more expansive conceptions of archives’ function continues to this date.

Brian Jacobson (Toronto): International Industrial Film Festivals and a World Community of Filmmakers
This presentation examines the cycle of international industrial film festivals that began in Rouen, France in 1960 and continued in Turin, West Berlin, Madrid, London, Venice, Lisbon, Vienna, and a host of other European capitals in the 1970s. It argues, first, that the festivals helped stimulate interest in a critical but neglected movement – an alternative, industrial “new wave” – that many observers hoped would help revive European film industries and, second, that they fostered a form of cultural cosmopolitanism that went beyond the film business to the heart of postwar global capitalism.

Platforms and Practices of Circulation 2

Steve Foxon: ’There Are More Seats Outside of the Cinema’ – An Examination of Non-Theatrical Distribution in Post-War Britain: British Transport Films and the Shell Film Unit
The success of the John Grierson influenced British documentary film had far and wide-reaching effects, but none more so than in the field of industry, where film served not only as a tool for mass publicity, but also played a crucial role in the development of training and mass communication. This was a role well suited to the documentary medium, and arguably the trajectory that Grierson had intended to nurture the development of documentary from its early beginnings. Key to the success of this trajectory was the establishment of non-theatrical film libraries, where audience figures could be measured in millions. With a focus on the non-theatrical activities of two of Britain’s biggest industrial film units we examine one of the post-war successes of the Grierson legacy, the non-theatrical screening and its far reaching effects.

Christian Bonah (Strasbourg):Beyond Commission. Industrial Pharmaceutical Film Production and Circulation by the French Film Production Company ScienceFilm, 1950–1990
ScienceFilm, an industrial film company set up in 1946 by the French film director Eric Duvivier, nephew of the better-known film director Julien Duvivier (1896–1967) produced more than 700 industrial films produced between 1950 and 2000, mostly for the pharmaceutical industry, including Sandoz, Rhône-Poulenc, Lagrange, Beaufour and Ciba-Geigy. This contribution approaches ScienceFilm from the filmmaker’s perspective, studies the company’s production and distribution network and highlights how Duvivier enlisted highly visible opinion leaders in the field of medical research to win over audiences and secure contracts from industrial sponsors.

Circulations of Knowledge: Governance and Instruction 1

Lee Grieveson (London)The Pan American Road to Happiness and Friendship
The U. S. state worked in partnership with significant automobile manufactures in the early 1920s to produce a series of films about road-building to facilitate the material networks of circulation both domestically and hemispherically. The Bureau of Public Roads (at this point a part of the Department of Agriculture) played an important role in the attempted creation of a Pan-American road network in the mid-1920s, carried out with the collaboration of major industrial corporations, banking interests, and Central and South American governments. The paper explores how infrastructural and communicative forms intertwined in pursuit of expansive political and economic goals.

Scott Anthony (Cambridge/Singapore)Free Enterprise Film: The Aims of Industry on Screen
“Aims of Industry” was a public relations organization funded by a range of British industries (that was linked into similar networks in Western Europe and the U. S.) dedicating to promoting ‘free enterprise’ (and campaigning against nationalization and later ‘socialism’). Their efforts linked together the production and distribution of non-fiction films (including the operation of a film library) and the commissioning of cartoons, exhibitions and magazines at workplaces, schools and through civic societies. They were less successful in making their own film than curating packages of industrial films that were then toured around the UK before organized debates featuring high-profile speakers.

Circulations of Knowledge: Governance and Instruction 2

Charles Acland (Montreal)New Media for the School of Tomorrow: The AV Instructional Films of Robert W. Wagner
This contribution looks at the educational films made at Ohio State University in the 1960s. OSU’s Bureau of Educational Research, headed by Edgar Dale, was a key venue for experimental educational techniques. The researchers there were especially influential in building a body of research that advanced forms of audio-visual pedagogy. Many of the ideas about technology in the classroom that continue to hold sway today trace their roots to their activities. The Bureau was notably active in circulating their findings through instructional films, largely directed to training teachers in new forms of pedagogical labor. Through an examination of the films, as well as their production and distribution circumstances, this paper reveals their dominant ideological frames for the advancement of new technological conditions.

Oliver Gaycken (Maryland)Pouring, Welding, Pulverizing, etc.: Cataloguing the Movements and Behaviors in the Encyclopedia Cinematographica’s Technical Science Collection
The signature achievement of the Institut für den Wissenschaftlichen Film (IWF) was its Encyclopaedia Cinematographica (EC) project. The EC was conceived as a comprehensive archive of movement whose core principle was to reduce complex processes into basic “movement events” (Bewegungsvorgänge). Although the EC‘s better known sections were dedicated to biology and anthropology, it also contained a third section devoted to the “technical sciences.” This talk will provide an overview of this section of the EC, and will pay particular attention to how the EC represents a rare countercurrent in industrial filmmaking. Instead of promoting a particular product or company, these films aimed to provide filmic facts about the technical principles that underlay industrial processes, and thus prompts questions about the kind of work that these films perform.

The Politics of Empire(s) 1

Dr. Ravi Vasudevan (New Delhi):Information Film Infrastructures: Film Policies and Practices in Colonial India, 1918–1946
This paper uses the colonial archive to capture a wider film media ecology for the production and circulation of films of instruction, education, publicity and propaganda. It will provide an account of the governmental departments, budgetary heads and institutional discourses through which films were produced and supplied, such as information, publicity, visual education/instruction, rural reconstruction, health and agriculture, and the special role of the railways. It will also consider the commercial networks for such film work and how these intersected with a wider arc of associational and entrepreneurial film culture, including the register of amateur practices.

Tom Rice (St. Andrews)Working through the End of Empire
This paper considers the place and function of industrial film in representing, negotiating and managing the loss of the British Empire. Films of trade and industry were integral to the British state’s projection of its empire in the inter-war period and, moreover, through the work of the Empire Marketing Board, economic imperialism helped shape and define the output of the celebrated British Documentary Movement. Yet in the post-war period – against a backdrop of civil unrest, cold-war politics and mass decolonisation – what role did industrial film play in imagining a new model of economic partnership for British and colonial audiences? The paper will focus on the work of the government’s Colonial Film Units in West Africa, Malaya and Jamaica.

The Politics of Empire(s) 2


Rudmer Canjels (Amsterdam)Framing Local and International Sentiments: Unilever and Royal Dutch Shell Imagining Change and Tradition in Nigeria
The period after the Word War II was a period of intense flux and political change, leading to an increase of countries that became independent from colonial rule. As a result, for international operating companies like Unilever and Royal Dutch Shell, restructuring their corporate image was important if they wanted to remain in the newly independent countries. Film was seen as a useful and powerful instrument in these changing times. This presentation will examine Unilever’s and Shell’s use of locally made films around the time of Nigeria’s independence. The paper will show how multinational companies used film and other media to deal with important economic, political and social changes.

Martin Stollery (Southampton Institute)Saudi Arabia’s John Ford? Robert Yarnall Richie, Desert Venture and Biographical Legends in Industrial Film
Much as we might be wary of applying auteurism to the study of industrial film, there have been specific occasions where film makers’ biographical legends have been enhanced and deployed to strategically support the utilitarian purposes of industrial film screenings. A case in point is Desert Venture (1947; available on archive.org), which was sponsored by the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO), to extol the benefits to both America and Saudi Arabia of its pioneering work. The film was produced to premiere at a very specific occasion: the prestigious sixteenth annual New York Herald Tribune Forum, 20–22 October 1947. The ‘other forms of cinema’ Desert Venture adopted and inhabited to facilitate positive audience reception on this occasion were authored cinema, documentary, and the Western.

The Politics of Performance: Energy and Work 1

Patrick Russell (London)Transfer of Power: Film and the Competing Energy Industries of Post-War Britain
Across the post-war decades both the symbiosis of, and the battles between, the different parts of the UK energy sector were reflected and refracted on the screen. This presentation outlines the intricate and complex relationship between the structure and strategies of the various energy industries and those of the sponsored film industry, with respect to both production and distribution. With a focus on the coal industry in particular, it indicates the volatility of the relationship – alternating periods of stability with moments marked by rapid and significant fluctuation, sometimes predominantly triggered by changes in the film production sector and sometimes by ‘transfers of power’ between different parts of the energy sector itself.

Lucie Cesálková (Brno)Energy of a Tamed Element: Water Management Films between Science, Industry, Ecology and Art
In 1946, the short educational film Pˇrístav v srdci Evropy /The Harbour in the Heart of Europe / addressed one of the biggest Czech national traumas, i.e. being a small land-locked nation without access to the sea, by emphasizing the importance of river transportation and water energy for the national economy. Recycling footage from 1930s and 1940s travelogues and educational films, The Harbour in the Heart of Europe conflagrates national identity with industrial development. At the same time, the film is an exemplary case study in the circulation of archival images in industrial film. This paper will elaborate on the issues raised by this film focs on the topic of water energy in Czechoslovak industrial films, with the aim of explaining the often ambiguous role of films on this topic within the industry.

The Politics of Performance: Energy and Work 2

Yvonne Zimmermann (Marburg)Energy Flows: Circulation and Transformation in Films on Hydropower in Switzerland before 1965
What coal was to Germany, white coal was to Switzerland: Poor in mineral resources, the country’s only raw material is water. The large number of industrial films about the exploitation of waterpower from the heydays of electrification to the 1960s and the introduction of nuclear energy, often featuring imagery of the iconic national space of the Alps, reflects the importance of the Swiss electrical industry for the national economy. This contribution focuses on two prototypical films on hydropower from the 1930s and 1950s in order to point out the circulation of narrative patterns, rhetoric strategies and motifs in industrial films on the subject.

Maria Vinogradova (New York)Soviet Industrial Film: Types, Production, Uses
The peculiarity of industrial film as it developed in the Soviet context reflects the economic system based on central planning that emphasized collective ownership and “socialist competition”. Technical, instructional, educational and sanitary films, as well as Kulturfilme, were produced in different parts of the country at both specialized and non-specialized studios, and foreign films were frequently imported; industrial material was featured prominently in newsreels. The style and themes of Soviet industrial films reflect the changing politics and societal concerns over the decades; however, what remains unchanged is the twofold intention to not only inform or instruct, but also persuade the spectators about the special role of industrial achievements and elevating power of organized labor.

Expanded Industrial Cinema

Haidee Wasson (Concordia)Expansionist Experiments: Film Technologies and Industrial-Military Ecologies
This paper will argue for the necessity of expanding our concept of the cinematic apparatus when researching the significance of industrial cinema. By using a range of examples that might loosely be called “expanded cinema” drawn from the North American context, ranging from experiments undertaken by the U. S. military to post-war World¹s Fairs and Expositions, this paper will lay out some basic questions and propose terms helpful for theoretical and methodological concerns germane to this growing area of inquiry.

Giulio Bursi (IUML University Milan)The Future of What? Edgar Reitz’s Variavision and its Afterlives
This paper aims to analyze the majestic multi-projection environment of VariaVision: Ein Experiment für 100 Tage by Edgar Reitz (1965) and the little-known attempt at its reenactment (Kino der Horizonte, 2008) from an historical as well as a curatorial perspective.

The Poetry of Industry 1: Rhetoric

Gwenaële Rot/François Vatin (Paris)Le chant du styrène: Poetry and Corporate Communications in 1950s France
The Song of the Styrène (Le chant du styrène) is a commercial film directed by Alain Resnais (1922–2014) with a poetic commentary (alexandrine) written by the writer Raymond Queneau (1903–1976). This film was commissioned to promote the french industrial firm Pechiney. This short film shows the industrial production of styrène, a plastic material produced from derivatives of carbon or petroleum. Breaking free from the mechanical and classic representations of “assembly line”, Resnais endeavours a graphic challenge, to represent automation, circulation, and operator’s work which consists mainly in supervising the flow.

Anna Maria Falchero (Perugia)Movies and Industry in Italy: The “Golden Age” of Italian Industrial Documentary (1950–1970)
This contribution outlines a brief history of Italian industrial documentary film, from the beginning of 20th century to the late Sixties, underlining the role of the main firms in “modern” industry (i. e. chemicals, energy and mobility) and their attitude toward cinema as a communication tool. The aim is to provide some sort of “guide” trough this vast and varied source of imagines from the past, partly stored now as files in Archivio del cinema industriale e della comunicazione d’impresa at the Università Cattaneo in Castellanza.

The Poetry of Industry 2: Sound

Alessandro Cecchi (Pisa)Creative Films for Creative Corporations: Audiovisual Experimentation in Italian Industrial Films of the Economic Miracle and After
This paper focuses on an experimental sub-genre of industrial film, which flourished during Italy’s economic miracle (1958–63) and the subsequent decade. The paper will analyze the communicative strategies of Italian corporate leaders, which included enlisting directors and collaborators who participated in the artistic and intellectual avant-garde movements to produce films of remarkable audiovisual ingenuity. In particular, the paper will focus on the role of composers and musicians.

Annette Davison (Edinburgh)Listening to Shell’s (Films)
With some notable exceptions, most studies of industrial and sponsored films and filmmaking do not interrogate the sonic worlds of these films in any great detail. In this paper I explore some of the most celebrated films produced by Shell (and Shell-Mex) through their soundtracks and audio-visual aesthetics. I argue that such examinations have the potential to enrich our understanding of the oeuvre significantly. Films discussed will include The Rival World (1955, Bert Haanstra), with music by James Stevens and Pierre Schaeffer, The Revealing Eye (1960), and The River Must Live (Douglas Gordon, 1966) with music by Otto Ketting.

Industrial Cinema as Assemblage and Resource


Ira Plein (Luxemburg)Beautiful Luxembourg, Steel Works and a Swimmingpool. Notes on the Corporate Film Columeta (1921/22) and the Echo of Motifs in Luxembourgian Presentations of the Steel Industry
COLUMETA, a corporate film commissioned by the Comptoir Métallurgique Luxembourgeois (COLUMETA), the joint distribution company of the major Luxembourgian steel enterprises, after World War I, blends corporate propaganda with national motifs and combines display of the power and the modernity of the steel plants and production processes with beautiful and romanticizing views of Luxembourg and the industry’s social initiatives. The paper analyzes how the film strategically works to transform the steel industry’s corporate identity into a national identity.

Alain Michel (Paris)War, Peace and Education: Aux usines Renault and the Different Uses of the Same Moving Picture from 1917 to 1925
In 1920 a film called At the Renault Factory was made by Gaumont film company to glorify Renault’s effort during the war and promote the firm’s reputation. To be preserved, this silent documentary was transferred in the 1990’s by the Gaumont archives on a new filmbase, but without the cardboards. It is now totally mute. The paper will present a methodology to study this type of visual document, and archival films in general.

Charles R. Acland s Professor in Communication Studies, Concordia University, Montreal. His books include Screen Traffic: Movies, Multiplexes, and Global Culture (2003), Swift Viewing: The Popular Life of Subliminal Influence (2012), and the co-edited, with Haidee Wasson, collection Useful Cinema (2011), which received an honourable mention in the SCMS Best Edited Book Award of 2013.

Scott Anthony s a historian based at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He has worked extensively with the British Film Institute on a wide range of curatorial, archival and educational projects focused on non-fiction film, including film seasons, DVDs and online exhibitions. His books include Night Mail (2007) and The Projection of Britain: A History of the GPO Film Unit (2012).

Christian Bonah s professor for the history of medical and health sciences at and member of the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University Strasbourg. He has worked on comparative history of medical education, social and cultural studies of science and technology including notably the history of medicaments and the history of human experimentation.

Giulio Bursi, hD, is a film historian and an independent film curator. He is adjunct professor for Expanded Cinema at IULM University, Milan and has curated projects, exhibitions and retrospectives for MoMA, Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, ZKM, the Austrian Filmmuseum, Haus der Kunst Munich and for the Biennale di Venezia. Since 2010, he has been the curator of the filmic archive at the AEM Foundation, Milan (A2A group).

Rudmer Canjels s a media historian and lecturer interested in seriality, re-mix, fandom, transmedia storytelling and industrial film. He is the author of Distributing Silent Serials (2011). He has collaborated on the production of several documentaries for A History of Royal Dutch Shell (2007) as well as researched Shell’s own cinematic history in Films that Work (2009).

Lucie Česálková s an assistant professor in the Department of Film Studies and AV Culture, Masaryk University Brno, Czech Republic. She is the head of research at the National Film Archive, Prague, and the editor-in-chief of the film journal Iluminace. Her research focuses on nonfiction, documentary, and nontheatrical cinema, particularly Czech short films.

Alessandro Cecchi s Lecturer in musicology at the University of Pisa, Italy. He specializes in the history of music theories and aesthetics, the symphonies of Bruckner and Mahler, film music theory and analysis, and the history of Italian film music. He has published widely in journals such Il Saggiatore musicale, Music Sound and the Moving Image, and Music/Technology.

Annette Davison s Senior Lecturer in Musicology in the University of Edinburgh’s College of Art. Her research focuses on the impact of institutions on music for screen and stage media. Her recent publications cover the uses of music in television serial title sequences, the work of Hans Werner Henze for cinema and the sound of silent cinema in Britain.

Anna Maria Falchero as been a professor at the University of Perugia, and, since 1997, the director of the Archivio del cinema industriale e della comunicazione d’impresa. Her publications include six books and more than 30 essays on Italian industrial and banking history.

Steven Foxon s a Curator of Non-Fiction at the BFI National Archive. He is completing a PhD on the post war legacy of John Grierson through the work of Edgar Anstey at British Transport Films and Arthur Elton at the Shell Film Unit. He has worked in film preservation for 15 years and has published widely on the GPO film unit and related issues.

Oliver Gaycken s an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Devices of Curiosity: Early Cinema and Popular Science (2015). His articles have appeared in Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television; Science in Context; Journal of Visual Culture; Early Popular Visual Culture, Screen, and the collection Learning with the Lights Off.

Lee Grieveson is Reader in Film Studies and Director of the Graduate Programme in Film Studies at University College London. He is author of Policing Cinema: Movies and Censorship in Early Twentieth Century America (2004), and editor and co-editor of more than a dozen volumes on silent cinema and other areas of film history.

Vinzenz Hediger s professor of cinema studies at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. He is a co-founder of NECS (www.necs.org) and the founding editor of the Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft (www.zfmedienwissenschaft.de)

Florian Hoof s Assistant Professor at the department of Theater, Film and Media Studies at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. His research focuses on the inter­section between film, media and business history (www.sociomateriality.de). He is the author of Engel der Effizienz. Eine Mediengeschichte der Unternehmensberatung (2015).

Brian R. Jacobson s Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies and History at the University of Toronto and the author of Studios Before the System: Architecture, Technology, and the Emergence of Cinematic Space (2015) as well as articles in Film History, History and Technology, Amodern, Early Popular Visual Culture, Screen (forthcoming), and anthologies including New Silent Cinema (2015).

Alain Michel arned his PhD with a dissertation on Renault’s industrial films and photographs from the EHESS in Paris. He is Maître de conférences in contemporary history at the Université d’Évry. His research interests cover the social history of industrial technologies, visual sources of historiography and the development of 3D digital modeling techniques as tools of the history of technology.

Ira Plein eceived a master of arts (Magistra Artium) in Art History and Media Studies at the University of Trier. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Luxembourg, where she is collaborating in the project FAMOSO: Fabricating Modern Societies. Industries of Reform as Educational Responses to Societal Challenges. Her dissertation investigates the medial (re)presentation of industrial culture in Luxembourg (ca. 1890–1940).

Rick Prelinger an archivist, writer and filmmaker, founded Prelinger Archives, whose collection of 60 000 advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur films was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002 after 20 years‘ operation. He is co-founder of the Prelinger Library (www.prelingerlibrary.org), and Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media at University of California, Santa Cruz.

Tom Rice s a lecturer in Film Studies at the University of St Andrews. He previously worked as the senior postdoctoral researcher on Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire (www.colonialfilm.org.uk), and has published extensively on aspects of colonial and film history. He is the author of White Robes, Silver Screens: Movies and the Making of the Ku Klux Klan (2015).

Gwenaële Rot s full professor, of sociology at Sciences Po, Paris. Specializing in visual sociology and the history of the sociology of work, her publications include ­Socio­logie de l’atelier. Renault le travail ouvrier le sociologue (2006) and Le cinéma. Travail et organisation (ed. with Laure de Verdalle).

Patrick Russell s Senior Curator (Non-Fiction), BFI National Archive, where he has worked for 15 years. His role is involves both practical collections management and interpretation. He has led or contributed to several major film heritage projects in the UK. His own research and writing focuses on sponsored and industrial film and other non-fiction forms. His publications include Shadows of Progress: Documentary Film in Post-War Britain (2010) and The Lost World of Mitchell and Kenyon (2004).

Martin Stollery s the author of Alternative Empires: European Modernist Cinemas and Cultures of Imperialism (2000), and numerous essays exploring revisionist approaches to the history of British documentary and non-fiction film.

Ravi Vasudevan orks in the area of film and media history at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, and Sarai, the Centre’s urban and media research programme. He teaches at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. His publications include Making Meaning in Indian Cinema (edited, 2000) and The Melo­dramatic Public: Film Form and Spectatorship in Indian Cinema (2010).

Maria Vinogradova s a PhD candidate in Cinema Studies at New York University. Her primary research interests encompass various aspects of minor cinema practices, especially in the former Eastern Bloc and other socialist contexts. She is currently completing her dissertation on amateur cinema in the Soviet Union, the project that led to the discovery of rare films unknown in the academic and archival community.

François Vatin s full Professor of Sociology at Paris West University and Director of the master of Economics and Social Sciences. He is specialist of industrial sociology, economics sociology and history of sciences. His recent publications include: Trois ­essais sur la genèse de la pensée sociologique: politique, épistémologie et cosmologie (2005); Traité de sociologie économique (2012).

Haidee Wasson s Associate Professor of Cinema, and Graduate Program Director, in the School of Cinema, Concordia University, Montreal. She is author of the award-winning book MuseumMovies. She is currently assembling a book on the use of cinema by the American Military (to be published by the University of California) and a book-length study of the history of portable film projectors.

Yvonne Zimmermann s Professor of Media Studies at Philipps-University Marburg. She has obtained her PhD from the University of Zurich, taught at Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 and was a Visiting Scholar at New York University. Her publications include Bergführer Lorenz: Karriere eines missglückten Films (2005) and Schaufenster Schweiz: Dokumentarische Gebrauchsfilme 1896–1964 (2011; co-author).

Conference administrator:
Bianka-Isabell Scharmann, scharmann@tfm.uni-frankfurt.de
Conference organization:
Vinzenz Hediger, hediger@tfm.uni-frankfurt.de

The conference is open to the public and free of charge (with the exception of regular entrance fees for screenings 1–4). Participants wishing to attend the conference without ­presenting should register before December 11 via e-mail at this address: scharmann@tfm.uni-frankfurt.de

Organized by the Institut für Theater-, Film- und Medien­wissenschaft, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main (Vinzenz Hediger, Florian Hoof) and the Institut für Medienwissenschaft, Philipps-Universität Marburg (Yvonne Zimmermann) in the framework of the Hessische Film- und Medienakademie (hFMA).

An activity of the Forschungszentrum für historische Geisteswissenschaften (www.fzhg.org), research area “Mediality and Materiality”.

Supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG, Verein der Freunde und Förderer der Goethe-Universität, Speyer’sche Hoch­schulstiftung, Stiftung zur Förderung der internationalen Beziehungen and Nanyang Technological University Singapore.

We thank the Kino im deutschen Filmmuseum (Claudia Dillmann, Natascha Gikas) and the Museum Angewandte Kunst (Matthias Wagner K) for generously hosting the conference.

 

Conference Locations, Frankfurt am Main:
– Museum Angewandte Kunst, Schaumainkai 17
– Kino im Deutschen Filmmuseum, Schaumainkai 41