Call for Papers – Ecstatic Truth V: The Age of the Absurd

George Grosz - The Voice of the People is the Voice of God from The Face of the Ruling Class

Ecstatic Truth V: The Age of the Absurd
27-28th April 
2020 (in conjunction with Under_the_Radar, Vienna)

plus 29th  April – Under_the_Radar symposium, Vienna

Call for papers deadline: 16th February 2020

Ecstatic Truth is an annual symposium that explores issues arising from the interface between animation (in all its forms) and documentary (conceptualised very broadly as non-fiction), with a particular interest in the questions raised by experimental and practitioner perspectives. According to Werner Herzog, mere facts constitute an accountant’s reality, but it is the ecstatic truth (a poetic reality) that can capture more faithfully the nuances and depths of human experiences. Given that animation (or manipulated moving image in all of its expanded forms) has the freedom to represent, stylize or reimagine the world, it lends itself well to this aspirational form of documentary filmmaking.

For this, our 5th symposium, held in collaboration with the Under_the_Radar Festival, Vienna, our theme is the Absurd. George Monbiot has described our contemporary age of increasing social and economic inequality, mass extinction and impending climate breakdown as deliberate disaster capitalism in which the ultra-rich benefit as institutions, systems of taxation and democratic processes implode. Everywhere the killer clowns and kleptocrats are taking over, he argues, with ludicrous strongmen dominating nations that would once have laughed them off stage. Absurdity is what they seek in order to take advantage. Chaos becomes the profit multiplier for the disaster capitalism on which they thrive. Every rupture is used to seize more of the assets on which our lives depend.[1]

So how can we imaginatively and creatively respond to these killer clowns and the absurdity of a world being run to continuously make profit regardless of its sustainability? What is there to stand for if the world is perceived as meaningless and how to fight this complacency ? Can we use animation for activism, to re-animate our conscience?  How can we creatively challenge all this doom and gloom, and use our creative practice to navigate and challenge the absurd of our everyday lives? What is the role of humour, surrealism, the historic strategies of the Absurd and Central European Existentialism? Why does animation matter?

We invite speakers to respond to these ideas in order to reflect, speculate and imagine how the animated (or expanded manipulated image) form might elicit different facets of poetic truth through its unique language. We welcome proposals for 20-minute presentations, speculations, poetic reflections, rigorous questioning, even fierce creative opposition from both academic and practitioner-led perspectives. Selected papers will be published in a themed issue of the International Journal of Film and Media Arts.

The proposal should include an abstract of not more than 500 words and a short biography of no more than 200 words. Please send it to: ecstatic.truth.symposium@gmail.com

Further details of the Under_the_Radar Festival 2020 will be released in January.

Call for papers deadline: 16th February 2020


Ecstatic Truth is organised by: Birgitta Hosea, Animation Research Centre, UCA Farnham, UK; Pedro Serrazina, Universidade Lusófona, Lisbon, Portugal; Tereza Stehlikova, CREAM, University of Westminster, UK

With thanks to Under_the_Radar: Barnaby Dicker, Martina Tritthart, Holger Lang

[Image: George Grosz, ‘The Voice of the People is the Voice of God from The Face of the Ruling Class’ (1920)]


[1] George Monbiot, ‘From Trump to Johnson, nationalists are the rise – backed by billionaire oligarchs’, The. Guardian, 26/07/19

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