Open Positions

The SNSF project "Exhibiting Film: Challenges of Format" is seeking to fill 2 PhD positions (60 %) for four years to start on 1 January 2022.

In its second phase, having been awarded an SNSF excellence grant, he research project will continue with two doctoral candidates who will carry out an independent research project within the given thematic framework. The doctoral projects are assigned to complementary research areas with case studies focusing on:

(A) aesthetic implications of format: Here, the focus is placed on artistic and curatorial practices that engage with connectivity and disconnectivity as modes of using formats in favor of or against the grain of their specifications and protocols. Moments of glitch, loss and leakage, of erasure, exclusion and omissions are considered in their implications for a visual politics that addresses power relations based on unequal conditions of visibility, participation and access. Special attention is paid to the aesthetic conditions produced by globalization and the infrastructures of film festivals, biennials and other exhibition venues or screening platforms that administer and support, yet also aim to intervene in these conditions. In this context, the exhibition itself is considered a “cultural format” (Dorothea von Hantelmann) that is deeply rooted in the context of Western modernism and indebted to the administration of its legacies. Thus, further investigation is required regarding the interdependencies of aesthetic practices and institutional policies as well as the forms of cooperation and collaboration brought by these interdependencies.

(B) historiographic implications of format: This highlights moments of rupture and discontinuity in the histories of formats and their usages. As ensembles of technical specifications, embedded in institutional networks and infrastructures, formats are the result of historic processes of industrial standardization. Format standards guarantee technical compatibility as well as economic competitiveness on the global image market. The constellations that lead to the establishment of format standards marginalizing or displacing others by rendering them obsolete or inoperable “have played an important und understudied role in what we now call the globalization of media” (Jonathan Sterne). In the context of the negotiated and often contingent processes of standards-making, the local practices that favor discontinuities or cause ruptures within standard usage are particularly interesting. Their investigation affords critical contextual research, recovering specific situations and interconnections from the general accounts of media history that are grounded in assumptions of uniform and stable usage.

For application and further information see the website of the University of Zurich