2nd Spiral Film and Philosophy Conference

Love and Death

Can the much-discussed and debated “death of cinema” introduce, through its very negation of a future of/for cinema, a renewed love for the cinematic? Can cinema bring us into an encounter -perhaps an amorous one- with something beyond human experience, and by extension, beyond mortality and death? Love and death have been primary concerns in philosophy, from its pre-classical origins to the present, finding a multitude of complex and contradictory sets of interrelations. Indeed, the fraught, and perhaps integral, relationship between love and death has been a recurrent, even obsessive feature of both philosophical reflection and cinematic representation that shows no signs of letting up. From romantic, existential, metaphysical, and phenomenological meditations on morality, mourning and grief to transgressive depictions of the erotics of violence or the aesthetic formalization of sexuality and mortality, philosophy and cinema have both passionately and coldly considered the deep ties and bubbling surfaces between the two highly suggestive terms.

In taking on the cognition of death -that of others and of one’s own- and the affective and emotive intensity of love, or, alternatively, the affective charge of morbidity and the rationality of commitment (romantic, political, or otherwise), philosophy and cinema both find and construct a vital zone of encounter and confrontation. To this end, contemporary developments in cinema and media respond to transformations in the political and cultural meanings of love and death just as philosophy maintains its relevance, or not, in relation to how it approaches both timely and timeless issues of life, love and death relative to other concepts like truth, morality, world, and community. Influential philosophical traditions persist in theoretical debates on the concepts of love and death, some arguing for pure affirmation and difference and others for negativity and nothingness. Cinema inscribes mortality into its very images: it reanimates and creates in the same gestures of disappearance and destruction. Digital cinema and media further complicate the dynamics of love and death.

“Love and Death” will be held in Toronto, Canada May 12-13. 2017.

Organized by the Spiral Film and Philosophy Collective in collaboration with the department of Cinema and Media Studies, York University.

Spiral 2017 – Love and Death