Call: The Real of Reality – International Conference on Philosophy and Film

The Real of Reality
International Conference on Philosophy and Film
2 – 6 of November 2016
ZKM | Centre for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (Germany)

Submission deadline: December 31, 2015


Film and real-image-based media in general are a ubiquitous element of our globalized world in which reality appears as contingent, mobile, and multiple, increasingly dominated by its own images becoming real. However, the ontological consequences of these post-human techno-possibilities have not hitherto been considered in their full dimension in the context of philosophy. For this conference, which will take place at the ZKM | Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe (Germany), we propose 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, its immanent reproduction of reality, yet without ignoring the intriguing borders between fiction, construction and actuality in film.

For five days, more than one hundred philosophers, media scholars and filmmakers will relate philosophical theory with cinematic practice and unfold new ideas and concepts. There will be film screenings of documentaries by invited filmmakers followed by Q&A sessions.

Confirmed keynote speakers and guests of honor are: Hans Belting (Karlsruhe University of Art and Design), Markus Gabriel (University of Bonn), Heddy Honigmann (Filmmaker, Netherlands), Hyun Kang Kim (Hochschule Düsseldorf), Marie José Mondzain (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris), Stephen Mulhall (University of Oxford), Joshua Oppenheimer (Filmmaker, Kopenhagen), Christine Reeh (University of Lisbon), Thomas Wartenberg (Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts), Peter Weibel (ZKM | Karlsruhe). Further special invitees are to be confirmed.

We invite you to present individual proposals or panels addressing the topics raised by the referred ideas, suggesting the integration into one of the following thematic groups (to be extended):

  • The real and the reproduction of reality
  • Shaping reality through moving images
  • Film, language and reality: how does a movie move?
  • Film, reality and truth: what does a movie show?
  • Ontology of the cinematographic body
  • Film and new forms of realism and materialism in contemporary philosophy
  • The transformation of philosophy through film
  • New ways of thinking film

The suggestion to steer the topics towards documentary is merely a proposed preference, but by no means an ultimate condition for selection. Please send us abstracts of max. 250 words for a 20 minutes talk, together with your affiliation, contacts, and a short CV (1-2 paragraphs) to the following email: The conference will be hold in English. Deadline is the 31st of December 2015.

The jury of selection is composed of Hyun Kang Kim (University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf), Christine Reeh (University Lisbon / ZKM | Karlsruhe), Mirjam Schaub (University of Applied Sciences Hamburg), Stefan Schmidt (University of Wuppertal), André Ujica (Filmmaker Karlsruhe/Bukarest) and Peter Weibel (ZKM | Karlsruhe).

Authors will be notified about the selection outcome in March 2016. For further information and upcoming news please check our website: or contact our project manager

Please notice that there will be registration fees to be announced.

The presentation of papers will be filed in an online audio-journal on the conference website. Authors of some selected papers will be invited after the conference to participate in a publication, whether as an e-book or as a printed copy.

We are looking forward to your proposals and kindly ask you to help us to distribute this call!

Christine Reeh and Peter Weibel


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