P07
VCD visions: the fabulous aesthetics and new industries of VCD cinema and television across South Asia

Convenors:
Madhuja Mukherjee (Jadavpur University)
Location:
Arts and Aesthetics Auditorium
Start time:
4 April, 2012 at 8:30
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

This panel explores the histories and current forms of VCD aesthetics and industry in old and new South Asian cinema and television. The omnipresence of the VCD in South Asia posits serious conceptual challenges and research opportunities for the anthropology and history of the media in South Asia.

Long abstract:

This panel explores the new forms of vision opened up by the VCD format in South Asia. Across much of Asia and Africa, the VCD format has become extremely popular as low cost film carrier. From resistance movements using the VCD in Burma through to the widespread availability of controversial Pastho films in VCD formats in Pakistan, the VCD format lends itself to a range of unexpected media practices. This panel aims to explore the recent histories and current forms of VCD aesthetics and industry in old and new South Asian cinema and television. Challenging the dominance of large studios, national development corporations and linguistic majorities, the VCDs posit serious conceptual challenges and research opportunities for the anthropology and history of the media in South Asia. What new modes and means of production have been made available and to whom by the immense popularity of VCDs in South Asian cinema? What aesthetic transformations have been wrought by these new technologies? How and where have new audiences come into being through the VCD and its players? And in what ways might the theories of South Asian cinema need to be rethought on the basis of the VCD phenomenon? The panel encourages immersive ethnographic explorations of contemporary VCD practices and detailed histories of the format in South Asia.