Versatile Camcorders: Looking at the GoPro-Movement
International Workshop June 21-23 2018 at ZeM (Brandenburgisches Zentrum für Medienwissenschaften) organized by Winfried Gerling and Florian Krautkrämer.
The GoPro is a so-called “action camcorder”, a small, easy-to-use and particularly robust camera which allows making video recordings under water or during a parachute jump and other situations that are difficult to shoot.
It was first launched as an analog photo camera for surfers in 2004. The objective of this new culture is inscribed in its brand “Go-Professional”: alleged professionalization of image production under extraordinary conditions.
With the GoPro as the “world’s most versatile camera”, as said in the advertising text, the gesture of this promoted mobility is transferred to the actions of the camera operator and the possibility of linking the camera to various moving objects and subjects.
A genre of daring (existential) images emerges. For example images of the falling (skydivers, base jumpers and wingsuit fliers) and the fallen (when helmet cameras of militants record combat situations) as well as images of situations beyond control (animals hijacking the camera). Even more as in images shot with a hand camera perspectives become shaky; they flip vertical or horizontal, with the filmmakers’ bodies in the center. GoPro not only introduced a new camera segment but also changed the way of amateur filmmaking. This cannot be reduced solely to technical means, but rather to assertive brand communication.
Topics that are to be discussed at the conference from the perspective of this still relatively new device include: the transformation of amateur filmmaking and its correlating visual worlds; the gesture of venturous action and increased risk-taking; the impact on (citizen) journalism; aspects of the the circulation of images in social networks; new gestures such as selfies as well as the effects of the device on the body; surveillance (when the GoPro is mounted on drones) as well as recording the unexpected or the unintended.
Contributions do not have to focus on the manufacturer of GoPro. Proposals on the voluntary work of users as part of the brand communication as well as contributions from an artistic practice, workshop reports and applied presentations of a problem are welcome.
Please hand in your abstract (should not exceed 400 words) with a short biographical note via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec 31 2017.
The workshop will be held in English and German.