• GEM LAB

Works-in-Progress (WIP) presents: TV Series and Uncertainty: COVID Narratives, Audiences, Methods

A workshop with Marta Boni (University of Montréal, Department of Art History and Film Studies)

//Thursday, April 22 @ 5PM

//Online Event

//Zoom link


About the event: Uncertainty, or painfully yearning for information about the future, is a state that people tend to avoid; however, it is also a powerful pleasure engine when it comes to the experience of serialized fictional worlds. In this talk, we’ll highlight how, during the pandemic, uncertainty has become a “structure of feeling” observable in the current TV landscape. Taking the 17th season of the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 2005-) as our case study, we’ll explore how COVID (along with contract negotiations) has affected its production, therefore its structures, narratives, representations, and images. From a pragmatic standpoint, uncertainty emerges both as a reason to keep watching and a symptom of the crisis. Fans enthusiastically speculate whether this season will be the last or not, but they are also having a hard time coping with such an overflow of doubt, in a time of economic, political, and social crisis. In order to understand the impact of such transformations, we’ll present a mixed methodology, based on the analysis of sequences and on the digital mapping of traces of online discourses.


Scholar Bio: Marta Boni is Associate Professor at the University of Montréal, Department of Art History and Film Studies. She is specialized in TV fiction, fan studies, and world building. On these topics she leads the Labo Tele, at UdeM, has organized and co-organized conferences, and edited World Building: Transmedia, Fans, Industries (Amsterdam University Press, 2017) and Formes et plateformes de la television à l’ère du numérique (Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2020). She is currently working on a manuscript on uncertainty and awkwardness in TV series.


About WIP: The workshop series is meant to showcase new and developing projects by members of the Fine Arts graduate community (and special guests from beyond the faculty), creating a space for interdisciplinary critique and feedback. Encouraging the engagement of workshop participants, the emphasis is on research methodologies and future directions. We aim to create a space for alternative methodologies and practices, investigating research trends in the humanities such as visual anthropology, digital ethnography, field recording and sound experiments, approaches to information technologies, and other on the ground research practices. Workshops will be flexible and structured according to the necessities of the project. Workshop leaders are invited to pre-circulate reading materials and introduce multimedia aspects of their projects to accompany their presentations. However, other forms of workshop organization are welcome in order to fulfill the mandate of in-progress, emergent research.