ParticipantS

Rizvana Bradley is Assistant Professor of the History of Art and African-American Studies at Yale University. Bradley’s research and teaching focus on the study of film and media at the intersections of literature, poetry, contemporary art and performance. Her scholarly approach to artistic practices in the fields of African-American cultural production, as well as the wider black diaspora, expands and develops frameworks for thinking across these contexts, specifically in relation to global and transnational artistic and cinematic practices. She has published articles in TDR: The Drama Review, Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, Black Camera: An International Film Journal, and Film Quarterly.

Adam Diller is a Ph.D. candidate in Documentary Arts and Visual Research at Temple University. His film, audio, and installation work explores human-nonhuman ecologies through a practice informed by phonography, critical geography, and landscape film. He has performed and exhibited in venues throughout the U.S. and abroad and in festivals such as Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Crossroads Film Festival (SF Moma), Visible Evidence, Interfilm (Berlin), Prvi Kadar (Sarajevo), New York Independent Documentary Festival, London International Documentary Festival, Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival, Northwest Film Forum, Montreal Underground Film Festival.

Leo Goldsmith is a visiting assistant professor in screen studies at Eugene Lang College, The New School. He is a co-author of Keywords in Subversive Film/Media Aesthetics (Wiley 2015), by Robert Stam with Richard Porton, and is currently writing a book about the filmmaker Peter Watkins with Rachael Rakes. His writing has appeared in Artforum, art-agenda, Cinema Scope, and The Brooklyn Rail, where he was film editor from 2011 to 2018. He has organized exhibitions and film programs with the Uppsala International Short Film Festival, the Museum of the Moving Image, Anthology Film Archives, UnionDocs, and CAC/Contemporary Art Centre (Vilnius, Lithuania).

Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib are Philadelphia-based artists who have been collaborators since 2008. Their work employs the tools and conventions of moving-image culture to offer counter-mythical visions of our contemporary world. They are recipients of several honored awards including a 2015 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, Pew Fellowships in the Arts and Fellowships from CFEVA and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Their work has been widely exhibited both domestically and abroad at venues including, Fondazione MAXXI (Rome), New Media Gallery (Vancouver), The Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), UCLA Hammer Museum, PS1/MoMA, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Arizona State University Art Museum. Matthew Suib is co-founder of Greenhouse Media and Nadia Hironaka serves as a professor and department chair of film and video at the Maryland Institute College of Art. The couple, along with their daughter and one cat, reside in South Philly.

Cymene Howe is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rice University. Her research is concerned with how anthropogenic climate change calls for new ways of imagining our collective biotic and material futures. Her second book, Ecologics: Wind and Power in the Anthropocene (Duke 2019) follows the contingencies of renewable energy development in Oaxaca, Mexico where indigenous people, state actors and non-human others are swept up into the turbulent politics surrounding wind power. She cohosts the Cultures of Energy Podcast, and in 2018 released the documentary film NOT Ok: A Small Movie about a Little Glacier at the End of the World, about Iceland’s first glacier to be lost to climate change. In 2019, with Dominic Boyer, she created the Okjökull memorial, the first monument to a dead glacier anywhere in the world.

Selmin Kara is an Associate Professor of Film and New Media Studies, and the co-organizer of the Culture Shifts documentary series at OCAD University. Dr. Kara's primary research interests are digital aesthetics and ecological sensibilities in film as well as the use of sound and new technologies in contemporary documentary. She is the co-editor of Contemporary Documentary and her work has also appeared in Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st Century Film, The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media, Sequence, Music and Sound in Nonfiction Film, The Philosophy of Documentary, and Studies in Documentary Film. She is currently working on a book project about cinema and the Anthropocene. 

Ernst Karel is a musician, sound designer and artist with an emphasis on observational cinema. His works span electroacoustic music, experimental nonfiction sound for installation and performance, and postproduction sound for nonfiction film and video. From 2006 until 2017 he managed the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University, doing postproduction sound for films including The Iron Ministry, Manakamana, and Leviathan. As Visiting Lecturer in Anthropology at Harvard, he also developed and taught a practice-based course in 'sonic ethnography'. For the fall semester of 2019, he is a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Experimental Ethnography, University of Pennsylvania.

Shambhavi Kaul is Associate Professor of the Practice of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University. Her short films conjure uncanny, science-fictive non-places and have been described as creating “zones of compression and dispersion.” These cinematic constructions utilize strategies of montage and recirculation to invite an affective response while simultaneously measuring our capacity to know what we encounter. She has exhibited her work worldwide at venues such as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Berlinale, The New York Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Edinburgh International Film Festival, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the 2014 Shanghai Biennale and a 2015 solo show at Jhaveri Contemporary, in Mumbai.

Sabiha Khan is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Texas at El Paso, specializing in Digital Media Production. Her research and production interests include the agro-ecological documentary, food studies, ecocriticism, public media and the public humanities. She is currently writing about the rhetoric of the future of food in documentary and speculative media. Her research has been published in Frontiers in Science and Environmental Communication, Food and Foodways, and other venues.

Toby Lee is an artist, anthropologist, and Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She works across film, video, drawing, and text, and her media work has been exhibited at Locarno, Ann Arbor, Camden, Thessaloniki, Flaherty NYC, Museum of the Moving Image, and the 2014 Whitney Biennial, among other venues. Her research interests include visual and media anthropology, cultural institutions, cultural citizenship, expanded documentary, and cultures of surveillance and documentation, and she is currently writing a book on the politics of cultural production in contemporary Greece. She has a PhD in Anthropology and Film & Visual Studies from Harvard University, where she was a member of the Sensory Ethnography Lab. 

Peter Bo Rappmund is a filmmaker and artist based in Sante Fe, New Mexico. His films take a phenomenological approach to the study of contemporary infrastructural landscapes, and have been screened widely at international festivals and museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Film Festival, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Vancouver International FIlm Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Camden International Film Festival, CPH:DOX, and many others. Through meticulously sculpted compilations of location sound with still imagery captured at a variety of intervals, he has produced hyperrealist portraits of the Los Angeles River (Psychohydrography, 2010), the Trans Alaska Pipeline (Topophilia, 2015), and the U.S. - Mexico border (Tectonics, 2011). His newest project, Communion Los Angeles (2018), is a collaboration with Adam R. Levine that traces Los Angeles’s 110 freeway at day and at night. 

Nancy Lee Roane is a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research focuses on energy, infrastructure, and technology in 21st century cinema and literature in the Southern Cone. She has been a fellow with the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities and co-organizes the Intensive Theory Reading Group. 

Rea Tajiri is an Associate Professor at Temple University’s School of Theater, Film and Media Arts. Her experimental documentary History and Memory; for Akiko and Takashige (1991), along with her feature film Strawberry Fields (1991), have influenced a generation of filmmakers, leading to their inclusion in Asian American, Cinema Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies curricula throughout the United States. Her recent multi-site installation project, “Wataridori-birds of Passage (2018),” mapped and enlivened forgotten traces of local Japanese American history throughout Philadelphia. Her feature documentary Lordville (2014) probed the material and immaterial traces of an upstate New York town’s history. Her current documentary-in-progress is Wisdom Gone Wild. The film chronicles her sixteen year journey of elder care for her mother who had dementia, and illuminates their lifelong passion for the arts and the language of the elders.

Deborah Thomas is the R. Jean Brownlee Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and the founding director of the Center for Experimental Ethnography. She is the author of Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization and the Politics of Culture in Jamaica (2004), Exceptional Violence: Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica (2011), Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation: Sovereignty, Witnessing, and Repair (forthcoming), and co-editor of the volume Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness (2006). She is also the Editor-in-Chief of American Anthropologist. Prior to her life as an academic, she was a professional dancer with the New York-based Urban Bush Women. She is the coproducer and director of the experimental documentary Four Days in May, a co-curator of the Bearing Witness Exhibit, and the codirector of the documentary Bad Friday: Rastafari after Coral Gardens

Bethany Wiggin is Founding Director of the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH) and an Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature, as well as an affiliated faculty member in the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania. She regularly teaches on topics including Environmental Humanities theory and practice, cultural and literary translation, and European and American literary and cultural history. She co-organizes the Schuylkill River and Urban Waters Corps, an informal collective of academic, non-profit, civic and community organizations, and co-founded the collaborative public archiving project, Data Refuge.

ORGANIZERS

Ben Mendelsohn is a Mellon postdoctoral fellow with the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH) where his research and filmmaking focuses on the intersections of coastal urban studies and documentary media. His article, “Making the Urban Coast: A Geosocial Reading of Land, Sand, and Water in Lagos, Nigeria” appears in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and his film criticism has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail and Public Books. His most recent film, As If Sand Were Stone, is an essay documentary exploring earth moving along New York City’s waterfronts, and will premiere at the Rockaway Film Festival in October 2019. He was a 2019 Flaherty Film Seminar Fellow.

Rahul Mukherjee is an Assistant Professor of Television and New Media Studies in the Department of English and the Cinema and Media Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Drawing on the conceptual lenses of cultural studies, media theory, and science studies, he has written on database management systems, advertising cultures of mobile telephony, Bollywood thrillers, chronic toxicity related to chemical disasters, and translocal documentaries. His book, Radiant Infrastructures: Media, Environment, and Cultures of Uncertainty, is forthcoming from Duke University Press. He is presently working on a second book project Unlimited: Aspirational Politics and Mobile Digital Practices in India, which examines aspirational mobilities unleashed by mobile media technologies.