What is the relationship between film and theory? The topics up for debate have been the function and use of the film image as an illustration or tool in politico-theoretical processes of gathering evidence, the truncation of the image through illustrative tasks and agreements, the “blowing up” of film contents by theory. These debates have been dominated by interpretations and allocations of meaning that are marked as linear and guided by “contentism.” In contrast, there is the possibility that film itself can be theory, arguing in place of a text and by means of other comprehension processes and affects. But what does “in place” of a text mean here? What do film argumentation methods look like? What are the connecting points between text-based theory and film theory that is not (any longer) a theory of film, but theory itself, albeit precisely as film? What is the relationship of these discussions to debates in visual studies, and how can they demonstrate their truncations? If film itself is theory, what consequences does this have for the conception of theory as such? The panel was dedicated to film as a medium of thinking itself and therefore to existing boundary crossings both in artistic practice as well as in the (scholarly) production of theory.

Madeleine Bernstorff (film curator and film researcher, Berlin)
Olga Moskatova (media scholar, IKKM Weimar, Universität der Künste Berlin)
Winfried Pauleit (film scholar, Universität Bremen)
Laurence Rickels (media theorist, Kunstakademie Karlsruhe)