FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ZOMBIES
JULY 5th – JULY 7th 2012, UNIVERSITÉ DU QUÉBEC À MONTRÉAL
Amphithéâtre du Cœur des Sciences (SH-2800)
Université du Québec à Montréal, 200 rue Sherbrooke Ouest
Kyle William Bishop (Professor at Southern Utah University, Cedar City, U.S.A.) :
The Rise of Zombie Studies. How the Walking Dead Invaded the Academy ? And Why It Matters
Every year seems to bring with it a new viral contagion or infestation scare, and survival manuals, training retreats, and even governmental apocalypse contingency plans are soberly appearing with more frequency. Because the aftereffects of terrorism and natural, political, and economical disasters so closely resemble the scenarios of zombie narratives, the images from such fictions not only shock and terrify a population that has become jaded to more traditional horror genres, but they also provide the audience an outlet, a vehicle through which they can cope. Zombie narratives allow us to face the paranoia we feel about infection, death, and destruction. We purge our anxieties through the catharsis of apocalyptic narratives, exorcise our destructive tendencies through violent videogames, and verify our ingenuity and resourcefulness through survival scenarios and exercises. And by finally admitting these creatures have become a ubiquitous part of our art, literature, and culture, we can now dedicate a branch of serious academic study to zombies. Zombies matter, and they aren’t going anywhere.
— American Zombie Gothic: The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Walking Dead in Popular Culture, Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2010.
— «The Pathos of The Walking Dead: Bringing the Terror Back to Zombie Cinema» dans : James Lowder (dir.), Triumph of The Walking Dead: Robert Kirkman’s Zombie Epic on Page and Screen, Dallas: Benbella Books, 2011, p. 1–14.
— «Assemblage Filmmaking: Approaching the Multi-Source Adaptation and Reexamining Romero’s Night of the Living Dead» dans : Christa Albrecht-Crane and Dennis Cutchins (dirs.), Adaptation Studies: New Beginnings, Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh-Dickinson UP, 2010, p. 263–277.
— «Vacationing in Zombieland: The Classical Functions of the Modern Zombie Comedy» ,Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, 22.1 (2011): 24–38.
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Simon Niedenthal (Associate Professor, Malmö University – School of Arts and Communication, Sweden) :
Vile Perfume: the Future of the Zombie in the Smellscape of Gaming
Zombies are the stumbling block to adding scent to video games. Given the theoretical opportunity to add a smell dimension to gaming, one online commenter recoils in distaste: “I’m not sure if I would like to experience some smells (let alone fill my room with) in video games. I mean, places like Silent Hill must smell absolutely horrible.” Another warns of the stench of “rotting corpses and all manners of stink.” A Kotaku columnist concludes: “When smell-o-vision is standard, smell-enabled remakes of Dead Rising, Left 4 Dead, and the original Resident Evil are games I will be sure to avoid” (http://kotaku.com/5880036/why-i-dont-want-to-smell-video-games). Posts like this show the close linkage of the sense of smell to the emotion of disgust, with its basic mechanisms of avoidance and withdrawal.
And yet, the smell of zombies fascinates many enthusiasts, who speculate about what zombies smell like: “They would smell of rotting flesh, which smells surprisingly sweet but sickly sweet. My sister used to have a perfume called ‘Poison,’ that smelt like rotting flesh. I used to tell her she smelt like a zombie, she didn’t think it was funny!” This coupling of sweetness and rot is in alignment with the (more serious) work of Bataille on flower fragrance: “many contradictory forces, it may be suggested, coexist in a scent: humanity and animality, spirituality and materiality, beauty and corruption.” (Stamelman 2006 p. 299), and it has been frequently noted that the volatile scent molecules of jasmine and feces are both largely composed of the same elements (called indoles).
— «Skin Games: Fragrant Play, Scented Media and the Stench of Digital Games», in Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, vol. 6, no. 1, 2012.
— «Indoor Fireworks: The Pleasures of Digital Game Pyrotechnics», in Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, vol. 4, no. 1, 2010.
— «Patterns of obscurity: Gothic setting and light in Resident Evil 4 and Silent Hill2», in B. Perron (ed.), Horror Video Games: Essays on the Fusion of Fear and Play, McFarland and Co.,
Jefferson, North Carolina, 2009.
— «What We Talk About When We Talk About Game Aesthetics», Proceedings of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) Conference, London, UK, 2009.
Jean-Baptiste Thoret (Independent Searcher & Director of the anthology Politique des zombies, l’Amérique selon Romero) :
The zombie-image (Diary of the Dead and after)
In 1968, in The Night of the Living Dead, George A. Romero offered a clear metaphor of an America in the grip of a return of the repressed; drove the horror film on the political ground; and invented a figure carrying a desire for change. In 2005, Romero made Diary of the Dead and followed a group of film students who, to avert the chaos caused by the sudden and unexplained return of the dead to life, decides to turn their cameras on the phenomenon. In this film,the inflation of information produces an absolute deflation of the sense since at the end, we do not know more than at the beginning. The image of reality is to reality what the the zombie is for us: a pale copy of the living, its devitalized and proliferating simulacrum, governed by the same insane compulsion, that is images for some, flesh for others.
— Le Cinéma contemporain, Flammarion, coll. «Mode d’emploi», 2011.
— Sergio Leone, Le Monde/Cahiers du Cinéma, coll. «grands cinéastes», 2007.
— Politique des zombies. L’Amérique selon George Romero, dir., Ellipses, 2007.
— Le cinéma américain des années 70, Éditions de l’Etoile/Cahiers du Cinéma, 2006.
— 26 secondes, L’Amérique éclaboussée. L’assassinat de JFK et le cinéma américain, Éditions Rouge Profond, coll. «Raccords», 2003.
— Dario Argento, magicien de la peur, Éditions de l’Etoile/Cahiers du Cinéma, coll. «Auteurs», 2002 (réédition augmentée en 2008).
— Une expérience américaine du chaos: Massacre à la tronçonneuse de Tobe Hooper, Éditions Dreamland, coll. «Cinéfilms», 2000.
— Mythes et masques: les fantômes de John Carpenter (co-écrit avec Luc Lagier), Éditions Dreamland. 1998.