Master class Michel Chion: Trans-Sensory Rhythm in Cinema

Date: Friday, December 7, 2012
Venue: Universiteit van Amsterdam
Lecture: Time: from 11-13, location: Bushuis F 0.22
Seminar: Time: from 15-18, location: Bushuis F 0.22
Registration: Send an email to: before December 4, 2012
Due to room size, the number of available places is limited.

Credits: 1 ECTS

Event co-organised by NICA and RMeS.

We are proud to welcome the French composer, filmmaker and film theorist Michel Chion for a NICA Masterclass. In film studies, Chion is best-known for his ground-breaking work on sound in cinema, as exemplified in the two books translated into English, Film, a sound art, and Audio-vision: sound on screen. During his stay in Amsterdam, he will talk about his latest research as well as give interested students and researchers the opportunity to discuss his work.

Michel Chion’s lecture will re-visit his earlier work on the relation between sound and image in order to reassess the question how to analyze films appropriately. The Masterclass consists of a lecture and a seminar. The lecture will be devoted particularly to the “trans-sensory” nature of rhythm. The seminar will turn to the role of texts in cinema and confront the differences between “reading a text” and “listening” in the perception of a film. The abstracts of both events can be found below.

The NICA-RMeS Masterclass with Michel Chion is conducted as part of the ASCA 2012/13 film-philosophy PhD seminar “Resonances and Rhythms: The Epistemology of Cinema as Aural Art” (convenor: Prof. dr. Patricia Pisters (, coordinator Philipp Schmerheim (

If you want to participate in the Masterclass, please register by sending an email to before December 4, 2012. Due to room size, the number of available places is limited.

The lecture will be in French, but we will make available an English translation of the manuscript beforehand. The seminar discussion will be conducted in English.

Lecture: “Defining sound cinema differently, and re-dividing it for describing it in a better way”

Since the publication of my book Audio-vision: sound on Screen in 1990, where I introduce the concept of “rendering” (“rendu”), I suggest that analyzing movies using the technical distinction between “sounds” (“les sons”, sometimes erroneously called “soundtrack,” “bande-son”) and “images” (“les images”) is as false as analyzing a sonata for piano and violin by describing separately the violin and the piano part. But at the same time we cannot act as if there were no difference between sounds and images, or between a violin and a piano.

On the other hand, what about the texts which may be present in the film’s image (letter, newspaper, signs, inscriptions, generic titles, etc.) or sound (voice, dialogues)? This is why I suggest, first, to incorporate into the analysis of films the language and the words read and heard, which are not just images and sounds (hence the notion of the “audio-logo-visual” (“audio-logo-visuel”) introduced in Audio-vision), and, second, to study how sounds and images together constitute mental representations and “trans-sensory” perceptions which are neither visual nor auditory but rather “audio-visiogènes”, and, third, to also study how they divide each other (“audio-division”).

The lecture will be devoted particularly to the “trans-sensory” nature of rhythm.

Note: the notions of the “audio-logo-visual” (“audio-logo-visuel”), “trans-sensorial” (“trans-sensoriel”), of “audio-visiogenic effects” (“effet audio-visiogène”) and “audio-division” (“audio-divisuel”) are defined in the Glossary contained on the website The definitions are currently only available online in French. An English translated version will soon be available. A print version of the English translation can be found in the book Film, a sound art, translated by Claudia Gorbman, Columbia University Press, 2009. (Original French title: Un art sonore, le cinema)

Seminar: “Having time to read: Reading a text and listening to a film”

Sound cinema is the only art that almost systematically confronts the written and spoken text, although this confrontation is often manifested in specific scenes. It thus raises the question of the “time that is left” to the viewer to read (a letter, a newspaper article, a generic text, but also the subtitles, etc.). This question obviously presents itself in a different way since the viewer has the possibility (roughly since the advent of video cassettes in the 1980s) to own or borrow a copy of the film in order to make “judgments on the image” and to read quietly.

Thanks to a fellowship of the IKKM of Bauhaus University Weimar, in 2011-2012 I conducted a research project on “Writing in Cinema” (L’Ecrit au Cinema), which was particularly interested in the confrontation between “reading a text” and “listening,” and fits into my overall research on the “audio-logo-visual” (“audio-logo-visuel”). I will illustrate this issue with the help of film examples.

Biography of Michel Chion:

Michel Chion was born in 1947 in Creil (France). After literary and musical studies, he began in 1970 to work for the ORTF (French Radio and Television Organization) Service de la recherche, where he was assistant to Pierre Schaeffer at the Paris Conservatoire national de musique, producer of broadcasts for the GRAM, and publications director for the Ina-GRM, of which he was a member from 1971 to 1976. It was there that he met Robert Cahen, composer and video artist, and with whom he entered into a long-lasting friendship and collaboration.

Parallel to these activities, he composed musique concrète works in the studios of the GRAM including Requiem (Grand prix du disque 1978) and several concrète melodramas, a dramatic form which he inaugurated in 1972 with Le prisonnier du son (The Prisoner of Sound) and continued with Tu, 1977-85, La tentation de saint Antoine, 1984, and Nuit noire, 1985. Also worthy of mention are La Roue, cycle du quotidien, 1972-85, 24 préludes à la vie (24 Preludes to Life), Variations, and Sonate, 1989-91, Crayonnés ferroviaires, 1992, Credo mambo, 1992 — realized at Musiques & Recherches (Ohain, Belgium) —, Gloria, 1994… all works for which he developed original compositional techniques.

He also works as a theoretician in a new area: the systematic study of audio-visual relationships, which he teaches at several centres (notably at Université de Paris III where he is an Associate Professor), and film schools (ESEC, Paris; DAVI, Lausanne) which has developed in a series of five books. Besides the twenty written publications translated into a dozen languages, he has also written on Pierre Henry, François Bayle, Charlie Chaplin, Jacques Tati, David Lynch, diverse subjects on music and film; he has published in French and international journals, and has contributed to numerous dictionaries and encyclopedias. He has also commenced work in film direction and production with the short film Éponine (Prix Jean-Vigo, prizes in Clermont-Ferrand, and in Montréal). Most recently in 1995, he has begun an audio-visual piece entitled Messe de terre at the CICV Pierre Schaeffer in Montbéliard (France).

After having dedicated his Guide des objets sonores to the ideas of Schaeffer, he continued with Le promeneur écoutant, essais d’acoulogie, (Plume, éditeur, 1993), and finally with Musique, médias, technologies (Flammarion), a theory of sound based on language. In 1991 he published, with the support of Jérôme Noetinger, L’art des sons fixés in which he proposes, in order to properly designate this music, the return to the term ‘musique concrète’ in its initial non-causal sense. His redefinition insists upon the effects particular to the fixation of sound, a term which he proposes in place of recording.

Recent publications:

  • CHION, M. (2012). False Reality in the Audio-Logo-Visual Sphere: on Science and Cinema. The New Soundtrack. 2, 23-38.
  • CHION, M. (2012). Audio-vision: son et image au cínema. 2e éd. revue et corrigée. Paris, Armand Colin.
  • CHION, M. (2010). No man’s France. Studies in French Cinema. 10, 251-256.
  • CHION, M. (2010). Le son: traité d’acoulogie. Paris, A. Colin.
  • CHION, M. (2010). Ton und Bild – eine Relation?: Hypothesen über das Audio-Divisuelle. Bild Und Stimme. 49-64.
  • CHION, M. (2009). La musique concrète, art des sons fixés. Lyon, Mômeludies éditions.
  • CHION, M. (2009). La femme desarticulee – La folie chez Jane Campion. Positif. 51.
  • CHION, M. (2008). Andreï Tarkovski. Paris, “Cahiers du cinéma.
  • CHION, M. (2008). Toute une epoque: le temps de L’Eclipse. Positif. 44.
  • CHION, M. (2008). Les films de science-fiction. [Paris], “Cahiers du cinéma.

English book translations:

  • CHION, M. (2009). Film, a sound art. New York, Columbia University Press.
  • CHION, M., GORBMAN, C., & MURCH, W. (1994). Audio-vision: sound on screen. New York, Columbia University Press.

Invitation – Workshop on Audience Users in EYE

Workshop on Audience Users

EYE, Amsterdam
December 13, 2012

13 December 2012, from 13:00 – 17:00 EYE will host a workshop on Audience Users, with Ian Christie (Birkbeck College London / BFI), Raymond Bellour (CNRS Paris), Dominique Chateau  (Paris I, Panthéon Sorbonne), Torben Grodal  (University of Copenhagen), Annie van den Oever (University of Groningen), Ed Tan (University of Amsterdam), and Giovanna Fossati (head curator EYE, chair).

During this workshop the second issue of Necsus European Journal of Media Studies will be presented, with Patricia Pisters (UvA), Jaap Kooijman (UvA), Annie van den Oever (RUG) and others.

At the end of the afternoon, from 15.30 onwards, there will be a round table discussion about New and Trending topics in Film and Media Studies, with specialist from all the different disciplines represented in the Research School Media Studies (RMeS): Susan Aasman (University of Groningen), José van Dijck (RMes), Ian Christie (Birkbeck College London). Jeroen Jansz (Erasmus University), Markus Stauff (University of Amsterdam), Patricia Pisters (University of Amsterdam), and  Annie van den Oever (University of Groningen, chair).

The workshop is co-hosted by the  RUG, UvA, AUP, EYE and RMeS.

PROGRAM of the Workshop

13.00Welcome by Giovanna Fossati, Head curator EYE
13.15Audiences, Audience Users and Spectatorship Guest speakers: Ian Christie, Raymond Bellour, Torben Grodal, Annie van den Oever, and Ed Tan.
With a debate and Q & A. Chair: Giovanna Fossati, Head curator EYE
15.45Round Table Discussion on New and Trending Topics in Film and Media Studies.
With: Susan Aasman (University of Groningen), Nanna Verhoeff (University of Utrecht), Ian Christie (Birkbeck College London). Jeroen Jansz (Erasmus University), Markus Stauff (University of Amsterdam), Patricia Pisters (University of Amsterdam). Chair: Annie van den Oever (University of Groningen).
16:45Presentation of the online European Journal for Media Studies NECSUS: Cinema and “Tangibility.”
Presentation of The Key debates Volume 3. With Amsterdam University Press Publisher Jeroen Sondervan and CEO EYE, Sandra den Hamer
17.00closing words

All invited may request a free ticket for the event at the ticket office in EYE. No reservations are needed.

EYE, the new film museum
IJpromenade 1

Winter school Maastricht

Winter School 2012-13

When? Thursday January 31 and Friday February 1, 2013
Time? See programme
Where? Maastricht University, Spiegelzaal, Grote Gracht 80-82, Maastricht
For whom? PhD candidates
Fee? PhD candidates & RMa students enrolled with RMeS: free
PhD candidates & RMa students enrolled with other research schools: contact us for funding information
Non-members: € 100,00
Credits? 2 ECTS
Organized by? prof. José van Dijck (UvA) and prof. Renée van der Vall (UM), on behalf of the RMeS Advisory Board


This Winter School will consist of three different sessions: 1) presentations, 2) research talks and 3) a practical session on research ethics and academic integrity.

1) The Winter School is partly a graduate seminar, offering the opportunity to present your work-in-progress, so your peers and faculty members can critically assess your work and give constructive feedback and support. PhD candidates can opt to give a presentation on their dissertation in the making.

2) The Winter School also offers two talks by distinguished researchers:

dr. Karin Wenz (UHD, Univ Maastricht), on Fan Practices and Remix Culture;

and prof. dr. Anneke Smelik (Radboud University), on Fashion and Cultural Identity.

3) Finally, this Winter School graduate seminar will also offer a session on academic integrity and research ethics in Media Studies. In recent months, academic integrity has gained high priority on the agendas of KNAW and universities. The Royal Academy of Science issued a report in September 2012. This session will discuss the relevance of these issues for Media Studies researchers, particularly at the PhD level. The session will be introduced and chaired by José van Dijck, member of the KNAW Integrity Commission.

Practical matters

The graduate seminar is for PhD candidates only. It will take place in the beautiful town of Maastricht, at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (UM FaSoS; exact locations will be announced). We will start Thursday January 31 at 1 PM until 5, and reconvene the next day at 9.30 AM, continuing until 3 PM (see program below). We invite you for dinner on Thursday night at a restaurant in Maastricht. On Friday, lunch will be served at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Conference hotel for the occasion is Hotel De la Bourse, but you are free to book accommodation wherever you want. Hotel de la Bourse offers one-person rooms (€60), two-person rooms for use of one (€64), and two-person rooms (€82; conference prices, including breakfast but excluding tax). When booking, make sure to mention “winterschool RMeS” to receive the conference discount. This discount also applies to the night of 28-28 January.

If you are not reimbursed by your own faculty for travel and accommodation, there is small RMeS fund to which you can apply for reimbursement. Send an e-mail before December 15th, 2012, to mrs. Chantal Olijerhoek at; include your contact details, a cover letter explaining for which costs you request reimbursement, and a brief (1 A4) resume.

Thursday January 31, 2013
12:00 - 12:30 PMReception with coffee, tea and snacks
12:30 - 1:00 PMIntroduction by prof. dr. José van Dijck, RMeS director
1.00 - 3:00 PM Presentations PhD candidates, first session
Tea break
3:15 - 4:00 PM Lecture by prof. dr. Anneke Smelik: Fashion and Cultural Identity
4:00 - 5.30 PM Presentations by PhD candidates, second session
7:00Dinner at local restaurant
Friday February 1, 2013
9:30 - 10:15 AMLecture by dr. Karin Wenz: Fan Practices and Remix Culture
10:30 - 12:30 PMPresentations by PhD candidates, third session
Lunch break
1:15 - 2:00 PM Discussion on Academic integrity and research ethics (chair: José van Dijck)
2:00 - 3:00 PMremainder of presentations and wrap up
Assignments and readings

During their three or four-year membership of RMeS, all PhD researchers are obliged to present their research at the winter school/graduate seminar at least once (or more if they prefer). You can therefore choose whether to present this year; otherwise you will asked to present next year or the year after. If you participate as a listener, you will be required to do so actively and provide well-balanced feedback.

Depending on your research topic and progress of your dissertation, you can also choose to present more than once.

We ask each participating presenter to submit one of their chapters or chapters-in-progress of their dissertation, as well as a one page-outline of the dissertation. As we have PhD candidates working in various stages of the process, we will organize the feedback process to accommodate these various levels. Please send in your chapter and outline to Deadline: January 15, 2013. Feel free to indicate in the outline which elements of your chapter specifically you welcome feedback on.

A week before the Winter School, we will make all submitted chapters available to all participants, to read and prepare in advance.

During the Winter School, the presenting PhD candidates will give a 10-15 minute presentation (audio-visual and/or oral). This is an introduction to your research and the chapter you have submitted, ideally containing one or two specific examples. Each presentation will receive prepared feedback by one specific peer reviewer, as well as from all participants and faculty present at the meeting.

Please register before december 5, 2012.

Master class – Peter Galison, Robb Moss and Frank Kessler

Filming animals

The Center for the Humanities, Utrecht University, in cooperation with the OGC, the Department of Media and Culture Studies and the Research School Media Studies (RMeS) organizes a seminar conducted by Peter Galison, Robb Moss, and Frank Kessler entitled ‘Filming animals’.

This mini film festival will explore human-animal relationship and the perception of animal movement in film.

When? 22 October 2012, 09:30 – 17:30
Where?: Studio, Kromme Nieuwegracht 80, Utrecht
Offered by? CfH of the UU, OGC, Dept. of Media and Culture Studies and RMeS
For whom? RMA students and PhD researchers
Credits? 2ECTS for RMa-students; 1 ECTS for PhD’s
Registration? via


9:30 – 9:45Introduction
9:45 – 11:15
Lecture Frank Kessler “Science and Spectacle” with examples from pre-1914 cinema and the work of Jean Painlevé
11.15 – 12.00
Screening: NATURE'S HALF ACRE (James Algar, 1951)
12:00 – 13:00
13:00 – 17:30
Lecture by Peter Galison and Robb Moss with screenings of GRIZZLY MAN (Werner Herzog, 2005) and LEVIATHAN (Lucien Taylor and Varena Paravel, 2012)

Research MA students can earn 2 ECTS for this seminar. Requirements: assigned readings, active participation, final paper (see required viewing and readings listed below).

PhD students participating can receive 1 credit for assigned readings and active participation.

In order to register please send an email to

About the Speakers

Professor Galison has a strong background not only in theoretical physics but also and more especially in the history and philosophy of science. He has been a visiting professor at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure in Paris, as well as in the equally renowned École des Mines and other leading research institutes in both the USA and Europe. Through seminal academic publications like: Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press); Einstein’s Clocks, Poincaré’s Maps. (W.W. Norton: New York) and the volume co-authored with L. Daston. Objectivity. (Boston: Zone Press), Professor Galison has developed the field of history and philosophy of science into an accessible inter-disciplinary domain. The combination of disciplinary depth with a broad span of interdisciplinary knowledge makes his work a unique contribution to his field.

Robb Moss is an independent documentary filmmaker and professor at Harvard University. Notable work includes such films as The Same River Twice, Secrecy and The Tourist. His films are often about the passage of time and its effect on characters, stories, and memories. The Same River Twice was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in 2004 as well as being listed as the Best Documentary and Cinematography of 2003 by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, Best Documentary at the Nashville Film Festival, Sidewalk Moving Picture Film Festival, and the New England Film Festival. Secrecy, directed with Peter Galison, was awarded Best Documentary at the Newport International Film Festival and Special Jury Prize at the International Film Festival in Boston. The Tourist premiered at The Telluride Film Festival.

Frank Kessler is Professor of Media History at the Utrecht University and currently the director of the Research Institute for History and Culture (OGC). Professor Kessler is co-founder and member of the editorial board of both Montage AV. Zeitschrift für Theorie und Geschichte der audiovisuellen Kommunikation [Montage AV. Journal for Theory and History of Audiovisual Communication] and KINtop. Jahrbuch zur Erforschung des frühen Films [KINtop. Yearbook for Research on Early Cinema]. From 2003 to 2007, Professor Kessler was the president of DOMITOR, an international association to promote the study of early cinema. In 2009 Kessler was a Research Fellow at the International Reasearh Institute for Cultural Technologies and Media Philosophy (IKKM) Weimar.

Assigned viewing and readings for RMA and PhD students:


  • Bear 71 (Web-Documentary)


  • De Bont, Raf (2008) “Savage Beauty and Brute Force. Colonials and Big Game Hunting”. In: Eric de Kuyper et al., Animalomania. Brussels: VDFC/Koninklijk Belgisch Filmarchief, pp. 40-65
  • Gaycken, Oliver (2002) “‘A Drama Unites Them in a Fight to the Death”: Some Remarks on the Flourishing of a Cinema of Scientific Vernacularization in France, 1909-1914”. In: Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 22, 3, 353-374
  • Holthof, Marc (2008) “Natura Artis Magistra. The Zoo as a Viewing Machine”. In: Eric de Kuyper et al., Animalomania. Brussels: VDFC/Koninklijk Belgisch Filmarchief, pp. 14-39
  • Mitman, Gregg (2009) Reel Nature: America’s Romance with Wildlife on Film. Seattle: University of Washington Press, pp. 26-108; 109-131
  • Painlevé, Jean (2000) “Feet in the Water” [1935]. In: Andy Masako Bellows, Marina McDougal (ed.), Science is Fiction. The Films of Jean Painlevé. Cambridge, Mass., London: The MIT Press / San Francisco: Brico Press, pp. 130-139
  • — (2000) “Scientific Film” [1955]. In: Andy Masako Bellows, Marina McDougal (ed.), Science is Fiction. The Films of Jean Painlevé. Cambridge, Mass., London: The MIT Press / San Francisco: Brico Press, pp. 160-169

Additional courses at Erasmus University Rotterdam

This year, Erasmus University Rotterdam opens courses for RMeS PhD and RMa students. These courses aren’t part of the RMeS core curriculum but are interesting enough to add to your programme.

Media, Children and Parents

When? Term 3 January – March 2013
For whom? Open for RMeS PhD and RMa students (max. 5)  

More information about this course and registration

Advanced Qualitative Methods  

When? Term 3 January – March 2013
For whom? Open for RMeS PhD students (max. 3)  

More information about this course and registration