They last just seconds and are almost always abstract - hippos swimming in a circle; the number four revealed by groups of floating hay bales or bowling green hedges; the number two figured as a squeaking, furry pet.
But these fleeting images are as much a part of our media experience as TV programmes, feature films and websites, according to academics at The University of Nottingham.
A series of workshops hosted by the University's Institute of Film and Television Studies will bring together experts from both higher education and the creative industries to look at the concept of ephemeral media - from the channel "˜idents' and film and television logos mentioned above to user-generated content seen on sites such as YouTube.
The workshops are funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s ‘Beyond Text’ scheme, a £5.5 million research programme which examines the impact of sounds, images, objects and performances on cultural life.
Led by Dr Paul Grainge, Deputy Director of the Institute of Film and Television Studies, the project will be divided into two separate workshops. The first — ‘Internet Attractions: online video and user-generated ephemera’ — will examine how the emerging digital environment has created new opportunities for user-generated material to receive broad distribution and, with it, huge potential audiences. The second — ‘The Promotional Surround: logos, promos, idents and trailers’ — will look at the promotional ephemera used by media producers to capture the attention of transitory audiences.
“‘The proliferation of competing media channels and the rise of new technology like the Internet has given rise to a host of short media forms that have become types of entertainment in themselves’, said Dr Grainge. ‘There has been plenty of academic debate about traditional media — films, programmes, radio broadcasts and so on — but very little consideration of the brief or ephemeral elements that exist in between and that remain a significant component of our media experience.”
Together with plenary lectures from key academics in film, television and media studies from the US and the UK, participants in the workshops include Charlie Mawer, the Executive Creative Director of Red Bee Media, the company responsible for making the BBC's idents and logos, and Hugh Hancock, the Artistic Director of Strange Company, a leading producer of online 'machinima'. Both will be discussing key aspects of their work.
For more information visit www.ephemeralmedia.co.uk
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Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.