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Volkswagen Foundation project "Digital Cinema-Hub (DiCi-Hub): A Research Hub for Digital Film Studies"

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Film studies is a small discipline dedicated to the study of one of the major forms of cultural expression of the 20th and 21st Century. For film studies, the current transition to digital film production and distribution combined with the emergence of global digital communication networks represents a crucial challenge. The discipline’s established conceptual framework of index, dispositive and canon, which defined cinema as photochemical image technology with a privileged bond to reality, a site of public projection, and a set of works from auteurs from specific national origins, can no longer account for the current multitude of networks, formats and markets for moving images and the trajectories of their global movements. Taking up this challenge, DiCi-Hub brings together three spatially contiguous research universities with internationally visible film studies in the Rhein-Main-Mittelhessen region (Philipps-University Marburg, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz) and a strong track record of joint collaborative research to develop new conceptual frameworks and methodologies. In particular, DiCi-Hub will combine hermeneutical and post- hermeneutical analytics of film with new digital tools and methods to reposition film studies as a discipline that turns the challenge of the digital into an opportunity for both research and teaching. With a five year work plan focusing on the study of three key areas of film culture – networks, formats, and markets – and a series of joint research and training elements for all project participants and other stakeholders from film studies and adjacent disciplines, DiCi- Hub strengthens the position of film studies in the larger field of the humanities and social sciences as a discipline dedicated to the theoretical, aesthetic and historical examination of moving images – an expertise of growing relevance in a world in which the moving image is rapidly becoming a default mode of communication.

Project Duration: April 2021– March 2026

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