Screen Tests #1: Celebrity Cultures

Prof. Dr. Brigitte Weingart
Screen Tests #1: Celebrity Cultures

Seminar with Film Screenings, English, 3 SWS, 2 ECTS
Tuesdays, 17-20 h, weekly, Grunewaldstraße 2-5, room 110

Registration on Moodle starts 15.04.2024:
Moodle Enrollment Key / Einschreibeschlüssel: celebrity

This course combines two objectives: first, to create a shared platform for viewing and discussing films (potentially forming a series of classes under the title "Screen Tests"), and second, to infuse the insights of Celebrity Studies into UdK's interdisciplinary community of creative producers (if not future celebrities!).

Roughly half of the films and audiovisual materials will be pre-selected to ensure a spectrum of historical and cultural diversity. This selection spans from Hollywood's self-representation in SUNSET BLVD (allowing for a discourse on amnesia through the exploration of a silent movie actress's faded stardom) to counter-cultural experiments such as ANDY WARHOL'S SCREEN TESTS and the Black Cinema meta-movie SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM. The contemporary South Korean Netflix influencer drama series CELEBRITY would be a potential conclusion. The remaining half will comprise of suggestions from participants, encouraging engagement from various perspectives (for example, music students exploring TÁR, or different renditions of A STAR IS BORN).

Each screening begins with a brief introduction, which could highlight a film-historical context and/or a framework for stardom analysis, covering themes like public versus private self, affective work, gossip, fandom, reputation management, and more. Following the screening, there will be a discussion, delving into the intricate social dynamics of celebrity phenomena. Discussions will inevitably touch on power relations, body politics, constructions of gender, race, and class, as well as exploitation and discrimination in the creative industries – addressing relevant and controversial topics. Simultaneously, the course aims to provide a platform for exploring questions related to audiovisual aesthetics.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credit points: Regular attendance, active participation in discussion, introduction to one of the films or topics — possibly as part of a team, depending on the number of participants (as an alternative to the presentation you can also hand in a short written essay on one of the films).

Brigitte Weingart is professor of Media Theory at the UdK. Previously she was Professor of Media Studies at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (2019-2020) and at the Universität zu Köln (2014-2019), and inter alia an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at Columbia University in New York. She worked on the Editorial Board of Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft (ZfM) between 2013 and 2022. She is currently a principal investigator at the Collaborative Research Center Intervening Arts (SFB 1512) where she directs a study group on internet memes. Other research interests include film studies, media practices of appropriation, concepts of contagion, media aesthetics of fascination and celebrity cultures. For more information and publications, see