Fri March 19 16:30 - 18:30
Spring School panel

Materiality and Infrastructures of Perception

Yasco Horsman

Leiden University

Aleksandra Skowronska

Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza–HAT Research Center

Erinç Salor

Amsterdam University College

Mercè Oliva

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Alan Salvadó

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Ivan Pintor

Universidad Pompeu Fabra

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Media Ecology’s Primal Scene: McLuhan, Innis & Ong on Radio

This paper provides a first step towards an ‘archaeology of the concept of media ecology’ by returning to what, according to Eric Havelock’s autobiographical preface to The Muse Learns to Write (1986), constituted the ‘primal scene’ of media theory. This scene took place a in October of 1939 when a group of young scholars at the University of Toronto, consisting of Harold Innis, Walter Ong, Havelock himself and a young Marshall McLuhan, gathered around a radio receiver to listen to a broadcast of one of Hitler’s speeches. Turning first to Benjamin, then to Lacan, I will suggest that radio, as a medium of the voice, complicates some of the assumptions about the body made by Innis, McLuhan and Postman. This also potentially undermines the utopian aspirations of figures as Brecht and Enzensberger who had turned to radio to develop new, emancipatory media practices.

Yasco Horsman

Yasco Horsman is a University Lecturer of Film and Literary studies at Leiden University. He holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale University and is author of Theaters of Justice: Judging Staging and Working Through in Arendt, Brecht and Delbo (Stanford University Press, 2010), on the relations between trials, theatre and psychoanalysis. He co-editor of a special issue of Law and Literature on Legal Bodies: Corpus, Persona, Communitas (2016), and has published essays on literature (Kafka, Beckett, Coetzee), cinema (Resnais), Graphic Novels (Spiegelman, Ware, Clowes), Animation (Mickey), drones and flipbooks. He is currently working on a book on Radio and Modernism and collecting notes for a genealogy of the “funny animal” figure in early animation and comic strips.

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Technological Art and Media Infrastructures

The issue of media materiality, politics and ecology is fundamental in my research. I consider the materiality of the media and media infrastructure in political terms, following the recognition on Natalia Casemajor (2015). In this paper I would like to present a general framework for my research: to present what is the role of the media infrastructure itself, especially in terms of media and technological art. Then, by presenting selected case studies, I would like to show how technological art subjects media infrastructures and how it proposes new, experimental/speculative infrastructure solutions. I will place the presentation in a methodological framework derived from Benjamin Bratton's The Stack thinking of infrastructure as a planetary layer, which remains at the same time a place of intertwining of relations and, above all, political forces - as mentioned by Nicole Starosielski's writing about environmental issues and the political economy of digital media (Parikka 2011).

Aleksandra Skowronska

Aleksandra Skorowronska is a Phd Student at the Institute of Theatre and Media Arts (Adam Mickiewicz University), a communication specialist and a curator at Pawilon (Poznan, Poland) whereby she has been working as a programme manager for the Forum przyszłości (Forum of the Future) event. She is a member of the HAT Reseach Center and of the Mediated Enviroment research Group. Her research interests deal mainly with media art and digital culture and she is currently working on a PhD dissertation project on the relationships between media infrastructure and new media art.

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A Picture of the Sky, Locked in a Box

This paper is about an act of self-blinding, species-wide. The Starlink satellite constellation, in early deployment and development by the private spaceflight company SpaceX, will, when completed, comprise of 12,000 satellites orbiting the earth by mid-2020s, with a potential expansion to 42,000 (“Starlink”). Designed to (eventually) provide internet access across the globe, Starlink can be seen as a culmination of a vision that can be traced back to not only pioneers of the World Wide Web, but also the realization of a fantasy that animated many early 20th century thinkers like H.G. Wells (“World Brain”). Following Peters’s invitation that “media studies can be a form of philosophical anthropology” (52), this paper will review our relationship with the night sky and reflect on a future when “it will look as if the whole sky is crawling with stars” that are of our own making (Hall).

Erinç Salor

Erinç Salor is a lecturer and tutor at Amsterdam University College, whereby he teaches the “New Media Analysis”, “Media Archeology” and “Perspectives on Games” courses and coordinates the activities of the Media Lab. His doctoral dissertation, titled “Sum of all Knowledge: Wikipedia and the Encyclopedic Urge”, completed in 2012 at the University of Amsterdam, presented an analysis of Wikipedia distilled through the heritage of western encyclopedic tradition. In his research and teaching, Erinç is primarily focused on studying the various ways new media interacts with established norms. His additional interests include video games, comics and science fiction.

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Ecology of Perception and Iconology of Representation: The Case of the Popular Protest in Film, News and Social Networks Throughout Spanish Media

In his Phenomenology of the End (2015), Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi distinguishes between conjunction, the priority form of personal interaction and communication in pre-digital society and connectivity as a fundamental sign of the contemporary society of semio-capitalism. When alluding to the protests of Occupy Wall Street, 11-M in Spain or the Arab springs, Berardi conceives all these phenomena as “erotic” explosions, as a result of a desire to join the bodies, something that communication devices tend to block depending on a communication regime limited to connectivity. In the present communication and based on a series of examples taken from an exhaustive investigation carried out on the press, television broadcasts and digital forms of information and remediation between 2011 and 2017, we will try to verify how the media ecoligal framework, algorithmic logics and the channels through which the connectivity runs interfere with the configuration of an iconography of the protest, the popular demonstration, the occupation of public spaces and even the situations of conflict, repression and war and its audiovisual representations. 

Mercè Oliva

Mercè Oliva (b. Lleida, 1980) is an interim associate professor in the Department of Communication at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Currently, she is the Director of the B.A. programme in Audiovisual Communication at UPF. Her research focuses on cultural studies and television studies and she is particularly interested in the analysis of reality TV and neoliberal governmentality. She has published several articles in international journals such as European Journal of Cultural Studies, Celebrity Studies, Convergence, Social Semiotics and Comunicar. She is the author of the book Telerrealidad, disciplina e identidad: Los makeover shows en España [Reality TV, Discipline and Identity: Makeover Shows in Spain] (ed. UOC, 2013). She was the Principal Investigator of the research project ‘Heroes of the crisis: Narrative and social discourse in the contemporary popular culture’ (CSO2014-56830-P, 2015-2019) and currently she is an investigator in the the research project Visual motifs in the public sphere: Production and circulation of images of power in Spain, 2011-2017.

Alan Salvadó

Alan Salvadó (b. Barcelona, 1981) is a lecturer in the Communication Department at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), where he teaches Film History, Images of Spain in Contemporary Spanish Cinema and Mise-en-Scene Models in the Audiovisual Communication degree program. He also teaches Cinemas of the Real in the Master's program in Contemporary Film and Audiovisual Studies. He is currently working on two research projects: HEBE: Youth Empowerment; and MOVEP (Visual motifs in the public sphere: Production and circulation of images of power in Spain, 2011-2017). His main lines of research involve the history and aesthetics of landscape in cinema, iconography in cinema, and aesthetics and narrative in TV fiction. He has published work on these topics in book chapters and academic journals in Spain and internationally.

Ivan Pintor

Ivan Pintor. PhD in Communication Studies from Universidad Pompeu Fabra (UPF). Senior lecturer at UPF and member of the CINEMA Research Group. He currently teaches Contemporary Cinema in the Bachelor’s program in Audiovisual Communication at UPF, and Cinema, Television and Comic-book History in the UPF Master’s in Contemporary Film and Audiovisual Studies program. With Jordi Balló, he is the Principal Investigator of the research project Visual motifs in the public sphere: Production and circulation of images of power in Spain, 2011-2017, and the Project Manager in Spain of the Erasmus + Project “Teseo – Arianna’s strands in the digital age”. In recent years, he has published articles in journals and contributed to more than 50 books, including Les Motifs au cinéma (2019), Flash Gordon. L’Avventurosa meraviglia (2019), Figuras del comic. Forma, tiempo y narración secuencial (2017) or I riflessi di Black Mirror (2018). He writes at the newspaper La Vanguardia, and has organised conference cycles for different European museums. His lines of research are: gestures in film, iconology and iconography, hermeneutics and myth criticism in film, comparative film studies, television series, sequential narrative, transmedia and intertextuality.