Circulation. Distribution. Exhibition.

Workshop with Erika Balsom

Kunsthalle Zürich, September 21, 2018

Hosted by the SNF project «Exhibiting Film: Challenges of Format», Department of Film Studies, University of Zurich

We invite doctoral students as well as postdoctoral researchers interested in questions of the circulation, distribution, and exhibition of films in relation to their format to participate in a one-day workshop. The workshop is hosted by the SNSF project «Exhibiting Film: Challenges of Format» (Department of Film Studies, University of Zurich) and will be held by guest researcher Erika Balsom (Department of Film Studies, King’s College London).

The workshop will depart from the assumption that format is decisive as a category for the circulation, distribution, and exhibition of films. Whether a film can be seen in a theatre, on television, in a museum, or at a festival depends especially on whether its format is compatible with the given prerequisites. Formats, however, not only determine the technical requirements under which the media operate, they also provide the conditions under which films circulate within a variety of institutional and discursive, social and political contexts. The workshop will be part of the exhibition and science festival «100 Ways of Thinking» at Kunsthalle Zürich where the University of Zurich will display forms of thinking in different cultures of knowledge and artistic practices. The workshop’s participants will receive input from a lecture by Erika Balsom as well as readings and screenings and are invited to share their thoughts in open discussions.

Dr. Erika Balsom is a senior lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London, focusing on the history of the moving image in art and experimental documentary practices. Her most recent book, After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation, was published by Columbia University Press in 2017. She is author of Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art (2013), the co-editor of Documentary Across Disciplines (2016), and a frequent contributor to Artforum and Sight and Sound. Her work has appeared in publications such as Grey Room, e-flux, Cinema Journal, and numerous exhibition catalogues. In summer 2017, she was international film curator in residence at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre in New Zealand, and in 2018 her essay «Instant Failure: Polaroid’s Polavision, 1977–80» was the winner of the Katherine Singer Kovacs Essay Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

We ask researchers on doctoral and postdoctoral levels who are interested in participating to send us an application with an abstract (500–1000 words) of their current project as well as a short CV via e-mail to: Carla Engler, MA,, or Laura Walde, MA.

The number of participants is limited. There is no registration fee. All presentations and discussions will be held in English. A detailed programme of the workshop and reading material will be sent to the participants in early August. The deadline of the application is July 31, 2018.