The Cinema and Moving Image Research Assembly (CAMIRA) is composed of critics, academics and curators in the domain of cinema and other moving image arts. CAMIRA is an association emerging at a moment when cinema and other moving image practices are undergoing profound structural changes in the domains of production, dissemination and reception. The association seeks to create adequate responses, critiques and relations alongside these new and mutating forms, technologies and practices. The multitude of contingencies that insist upon being accounted for force us to pose the question of our own practices and interrogate what our understanding is of this endlessly transforming object: is cinema something that is forever becoming, and therefore always inherently pre-cinematic? Or, is it an historical epoch, a time that has passed and with it the dream of its own being-in-the-world? It takes an international association to attack the storm of moving images that leaves us unable to remember what to choose for reflection. To this end CAMIRA are made up of an eminently international council of delegates, secretaries and boards, dedicated to several productive sectors of the association: festival relations, academic liaisons, an editorial board for our bi-annual multilingual printed journal as well as a board committed to an equally multilingual blog.
Along with the multitude of cinemas and moving images we are confronted with (from the incessantly hybrid genres, the myriad screening platforms/locales, to the conflicting issues surrounding national cinemas) we must also address the issue of language. In an effort to avoid a monolithic or monological lingua franca, we read and write in dialects, we communicate in minor and hegemonic languages; like the cinema and its contemporaries we are national—regional—local.
We are committed to exploring the critical issues of moving images outside the purview of what we call ‘cinema’. The disciplinary limits of cinema pushes CAMIRA to explore further the emergence of various kinds of cinematic forms in different mediums like television, the internet, and the media generated from technological interfaces like gadgets, smart phones, and installed media in public and private spaces such as museums and galleries. Cinematic form inter-penetrated all layers of the cultural membrane making it imperative for media studies to locate itself within this multiplicity.
The foundation of CAMIRA as an organization emerged from the collective exigencies of various cinematic regions of the world. The organization seeks to establish an alliance among nations to create a rhizomatic network of film practitioners committed to the critical (re)assessment of existing and emerging ‘cinematic’ forms of experience and their material and geopolitical implications.
We ask, like Bazin 50 years ago: What is cinema? Not to create discrete, totalizing or universal definitions, but to remember that the object is not a given, that our workaday assumptions might hold the key to understanding, which at the same time is always assured of failure.
We ask like Lenin asking like Chernyshevsky: What is to be done? Not to stop thought in the face of an imagined or desired crisis of the image, or death of cinema (for following Barthes following Winnicott we know that there is no disaster about to happen because the disaster happened a long time ago), but to create new ideas and concepts consistent and congruent with the emerging moving image techne.