Sarah Cardwell: research seminar

 

Monday 26th October, 5pm – 7pm. in KS14

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Sarah Cardwell (right) in discussion with Margrethe Bruun Vaage

‘Framing television: the dramatic implications of aspect ratio’

Within television studies, and even within television aesthetics, ‘aspect ratio’ is frequently overlooked or naively characterised. Yet it plays a fundamental, determining role in forming and framing television’s dramatic spaces and in turn, its stories and meanings. A balanced reappraisal of television’s varied aspect ratios and its impact upon TV’s unique dramatic and aesthetic possibilities can enhance our close analyses and further our understanding of television’s fascinating ‘art history’.

In this paper I will challenge some residual myths, misunderstandings and preconceptions about TV’s aspect ratios and their spatial properties. I would like to counter prevailing pro-widescreen rhetoric, by tracing some of the dramatic and aesthetic qualities of 4:3 that have been lost in the movement to 16:9; in pursuit of this, I’ll consider the example of Marion and Geoff (BBC, 2000 & 2003). I aim to make the case for more overt and sustained attention to be paid to aspect ratio within television aesthetics.

Dr Sarah Cardwell is Honorary Fellow in the School of Arts, University of Kent, where she was previously Senior Lecturer. She is the author of Adaptation Revisited (MUP, 2002) and Andrew Davies (MUP, 2005), as well as numerous articles and papers on film and television aesthetics, literary adaptation, contemporary British literature, and British cinema and television. She is a founding co-editor of ‘The Television Series’ (MUP), Book Reviews editor for Critical Studies in Television, and on the advisory board for the new series ‘Adaptation and Visual Culture’ (Palgrave Macmillan).