Today is Zukunftstag (“Future Day” or “Day of the Future”) here in Germany. On this day, 5th graders go to a place of work (a corporation, a bank, a hospital, a factory, police department, etc.) instead of going to school. Today, my ten-year-old son (a.k.a. DrZombie999) came with me to the university to see what it’s like to work here. I showed him what kinds of things we do here everyday: you know, the usual things like playing video games, goofing around, and surfing YouTube…
But then we decided to get serious, and we put together the video above. Having built the world you see in the popular game Minecraft, DrZombie999 takes us on a little guided tour, which we then saved as a screencast video, edited with nonlinear editing software (where he learned how to add transitions, effects, music, etc.), posted to a brand new YouTube account, and blogged here to get the word out.
DrZombie999 promises that this is only the first in an ongoing series of videos, and he asks viewers to vote for what they’d like to see him build next (from the Lord of the Rings universe). Please leave a comment on his YouTube site if you’ve got an idea! He’ll only be taking votes for one month (until May 25, 2013)!
Delimination of Life: Mark B. Hansen (us) about his new work on subjectivity and experience in the wake of contemporary media from transmediale on Vimeo.
On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, the Film & TV Reading Group will meet at 6:00 pm in room 615 (Conti-Hochhaus) to discuss Mark Hansen’s article “Media Theory,” (from Theory, Culture & Society 23.2-3 (2006): 297-306). In this piece, Hansen importantly rethinks media beyond their apparatic, empirical determinations (devices, machines, storage media, etc.), instead conceiving media as “the environment for life.” The argument behind this approach is outlined in the paper’s abstract:
Poised on the cusp between phenomenology and materiality, media institute a theoretical oscillation that promises to displace the empirical-transcendental divide that has structured western meditation on thinking, including the thinking of technics. Because media give the infrastructure conditioning thought without ceasing to be empirical (i.e. without functioning as a transcendental condition), they form the basis for a complex hermeneutics that cannot avoid the task of accounting for its unthematizable infrastructural condition. Tracing the oscillation constitutive of such a hermeneutics as it serves variously to constitute media theory in the work of critics from McLuhan to Kittler, from Leroi-Gourhan to Stiegler, my interrogation ultimately conceptualizes the medium as an environment for life: by giving concrete form to ‘epiphylogenesis’ (the exteriorization of human evolution), concrete media find their most ‘originary’ function not as artifacts but via their participation in human technogenesis (our co-evolution with technics).
Hansen’s reconceptualization of media has been a key point of reference in my own attempts to theorize the ecology of “postnaturalism,” which turns on the notion of a constantly evolving “anthropotechnical interface.” One of the things that I tried to do in my engagement with Hansen’s thought was to expand it and to push the notion of media as environment beyond the qualification “for life,” arguing that media constitute the environment for agency in a broader sense, both living and non-living. One could say, in fact, that this is equivalent to saying that media constitute the environment period. And, interestingly, in the video above (from the transmediale 2011), we find Hansen working towards precisely this type of expanded approach: a non-anthropocentric, non-biocentric, positively cosmological notion of media.
Above, video from UC Davis yesterday, in which heavily armed police officers brutally pepper-spray peaceful protestors at close range. Watch the whole video, though, for an incredible show of solidarity. The incident has prompted Assistant Professor Nathan Brown (Department of English, Program in Critical Theory at University of California at Davis) to post this open letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, calling for her resignation.
The pain these officers inflicted will subside, but thanks to Youtube, the shame of their deeds is eternal. The world is watching.
See BoingBoing for more background and another video from an alternative POV.
UPDATE: Send a message to UCD Chancellor Katehi: http://chancellor.ucdavis.edu/contact.php
The human microphone, born out of prohibitions against protestors’ use of technical means of amplification, has been transformed from a simple medium to a message in its own right. And as the Occupy movement (or idea, tendency, effort, etc.) has gone viral, so too has the human microphone, moving from the street to the auditorium, where it serves as a (non-neutral) means for dissenting audiences to speak back. Here, we see Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (above) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (below) getting “mic checked” by Occupy supporters.
From boingboingvideo. The Youtube description says it all: “Deaths. In old games.”
As I’m preparing a talk on Lady Gaga for the upcoming conference “Cultural Distinctions Remediated: Beyond the High, the Low, and the Middle” (to be held here in Hannover December 15-17, 2011), Ruth Mayer just sent me a link to the video above. Wow! What else can you say about that? (Especially if, like me, you don’t understand even a fraction of what’s going on there?) Judging from the looks of it, this certainly seems to be one remediation that’s “beyond the high, the low, and the middle” – where exactly is it, though, and who’s that woman at 3:15-3:20? (By the way, if anyone’s looking for X-mas present ideas, I’ll take one of those cool t-shirts with her face on it being peddled via the youtube video description):
Evgeny Morozov: “The Internet in Society: Empowering or Censoring Citizens?”
Slavoj Zizek: “First as Tragedy, then as Farce”
Following up on the video of Iain McGilchrist’s talk on “The Divided Brain,” which I posted earlier, I have discovered that Andrew Park’s animation studio Cognitive Media has produced a number of great animations for talks by a range of interesting speakers, including these by Evgeny Morozov and Slavoj Zizek.