One of the few North American events specifically devoted to exploring the intersections of film, media and philosophy, the Spiral Collective seeks submissions for its second annual conference, organized, this year, around the theme of “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.

We seek papers for 20 minute presentations on, but not limited to, any of the following topics, themes and concepts:

• existentialism, nihilism, death drive;

• romanticism, the sublime, morbidity, the gothic;

• materialism, decay, death;

• negativity and negation;

• mourning and melancholy;

• vitalism, difference, life;

• phenomenology of love and death;

• religion, theology, sacrifice and ritual;

• intimacy, sexuality, infatuation;

• pornography and eroticism;

• affect and affect theory;

• psychoanalytic approaches to love and death;

• suicide, martyrdom, end-of-life issues;

• terror, horror, shock, delirium;

• biopolitics, immunization and wounds;

• femininity and feminist approaches to love and death;

• queer theory and love and death;

• cultural reproduction, transmission and survival;

• cinephilia and the death (and/or afterlife) of cinema;

• aesthetics of love and death;

• cinematic bodies, cinematic deaths, cinematic loves;

• media and morbidity

We welcome papers that engage with the work of specific philosophers and theorists who think about love and death from any variety of perspectives and further relate them to questions of cinema and media studies. We also welcome filmmakers, media practitioners, and activists to present and discuss their work.

The confirmed Keynote Speaker for “Love and Death” is Eugenie Brinkema,  Associate Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of The Forms of the Affects,  published with Duke University Press in 2014. Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including Angeiaki, Camera Obscura, Criticism, differences. Discourse, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, The Journal of Visual Culture, Qui Parle,  and World Picture.

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

Please send a 350 word abstract, brief bibliography and bio (with institutional affiliation, if applicable) in a single document to by Feburary, 15, 2017.

Conference Registration Fee:

Conference Attendance: $100 (Canadian)

Graduate Students and Underemployed: $50 (Canadian)

Conference website:

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