About the International Conference On Philosophy And Film

The Real of Reality

A metro station dipped in golden light

Film and real-image-based media in general are a ubiquitous constitutive element of our globalized world in which reality appears as contingent, mobile, and multiple. Our reliance on real-time media in entertainment, social life, culture, communication and science has transformed everyday life into a technological phenomenon of global proportions. However, the ontological consequences of these post-human techno-capacities have not hitherto been considered in their full dimension in the context of philosophy. Photography and, in particular, film have pioneered the rise of complex philosophical questions on the nature of reality and its reproduction, which seems puzzling to grasp ontologically. It seems almost like two sides of the same coin: on the one hand, we have the image of reality, and, on the other, this image dominating reality as a substitute for reality, becoming real in itself. Film enables us to double our being-in-the-world, to overcome the subjective condition by reproducing it.

Regarding this intra-active entanglement and shift in human thought, we propose for the conference, hosted at the ZKM Karlsruhe in Germany, to regard film as representative for how apparatus-based images of reality and reality itself are correlated. More than 100 years after the invention of film and decades after the emergence of digital technology, we propose to reassess the question ‘What is film?’ as a philosophical interrogation inquiring into the real of film as a placeholder for ontological truth.

We further suggest to focus on non-fictional cinema as a magnifying glass for symptoms of this real; we thereby rely on the essentially factual character of film and its immanent reproduction of reality, yet without ignoring the intriguing borders between fiction, construction and actuality in film.

The selection of keynote speakers will cross theory and praxis and catalyze the dialogue between philosophers and filmmakers.. Film screenings of selected documentaries and a meeting with their creators will be part of the program. The presented papers will be filed in an online audio-journal on the conference website at the ZKM. Additionally the talks of the keynote speakers will be broadcasted live via online streaming.

We hope for an inspiring encounter for philosophers and filmmakers coming from all over the world to rethink philosophy and film by philosophizing film.