Video: Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory, Part 1 — #SCMS15

Above, the first of five videos documenting the “Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory” panel I chaired on April 27, 2015 at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference in Montreal.

The room was jam-packed with people (as you can see in the images here), and the panel was equally jam-packed with dense theoretical discussions of post-cinema. These videos are meant to compensate for the limited space and the limited time (and cognitive capacity) to process these thinkers’ ideas on the spot, preserving and opening their presentations to a wider audience.

This, the shortest of the videos, contains my introductory remarks outlining my overall rationale for organizing the panel.

Stay tuned for videos of talks by Steven Shaviro, Patricia Pisters, Adrian Ivakhiv, and Mark B. N. Hansen, which will be appearing here in the coming weeks (if you like, you can subscribe to the blog to make sure you don’t miss them; see the link on the upper right-hand side of the screen). In the meantime, you can read their abstracts here:

Steven Shaviro, “Reversible Flesh”

Patricia Pisters, “The Filmmaker as Metallurgist: Post-Cinema’s Commitment to Radical Contingency”

Adrian Ivakhiv, “Speculative Ecologies of (Post-)Cinema”

Mark B. N. Hansen, “Speculative Protention, or, Are 21st Century Media Agents of Futurity?”

Finally, you can look forward to contributions by all four speakers (and many more as well) to the open-access collection Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film, which I am currently co-editing with Julia Leyda for REFRAME Books (and which will be coming out later this year).

Ludic Serialities @ CUNY

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On April 23-24, 2015, I will be participating in the conference “Thinking Serially: Repetition, Continuation, Adaptation,” hosted by the Department of Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center, CUNY. You can find the full program here, and here is the abstract for the talk I’ll be giving:

Ludic Serialities: Levels of Serialization in Digital Games and Gaming Communities

Shane Denson (Duke University, Program in Literature)

In this paper, I outline several layers of seriality that are operative in and around the medium of digital games. Some of these resemble pre-digital forms of popular seriality, as they have been articulated in commercial entertainments since the nineteenth century; others would seem to be unique to digital formats and the ludic forms of interactivity they facilitate. Thus, the “inter-ludic” seriality of sequels, remakes, and spinoffs that constitute popular game franchises are recognizable in terms of the (predominantly narrative) seriality that has characterized serialized novels, films serials, television series, cinematic remakes and blockbuster trilogies. But these franchises also give rise to “para-ludic” forms of seriality that are more squarely at home in the digital age: games form parts of larger transmedia franchises, which depend in many ways on the infrastructure of the Internet to support exchanges among fans. On the other hand, games also articulate low-level “intra-ludic” serialities through the patterns of repetition and variation that characterize game “levels” and game engines. These serialized patterns are often non-narrative in nature, manifesting themselves in the embodied rhythms instantiated as players interface with games; they therefore challenge the traction of pre-digital conceptions and point to what would appear an unprecedented form of “infra-ludic” serialization at the level of code and hardware. Interestingly, however, such ultra-low-level serialities remain imbricated with the high-level seriality of socio-cultural exchange; levels of code and community cross, for example, in highly serialized modding communities.

This presentation takes a comparative approach in order to identify historical, cultural, and medial specificities and overlaps between digital and pre-digital forms of seriality. Besides outlining the levels of seriality described above, I will also look at methodological challenges for studying these new forms, as well as several approaches (including both close and “distant” forms of reading) designed to meet these challenges.

Bibliography:

Boluk, Stephanie, and Patrick LeMieux. “Hundred Thousand Billion Fingers: Seriality and Critical Game Practices.” Leonardo Electronic Almanac 17.2 (2012): 10-31. http://www.leoalmanac.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/LEAVol17No2- BolukLemieux.pdf

Denson, Shane, and Andreas Jahn-Sudmann. “Digital Seriality: On the Serial Aesthetics and Practice of Digital Games.” Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture 7.1 (2013): 1-32. http://www.eludamos.org/index.php/eludamos/article/view/vol7no1-1/7-1-1- pdf

Denson, Shane, and Andreas Jahn-Sudmann, eds. Digital Seriality. Special issue. Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture 8.1 (2014). http://www.eludamos.org/index.php/eludamos/issue/view/vol8no1

Kelleter, Frank, ed. Populäre Serialität: Narration – Evolution – Distinktion. Zum seriellen Erzählen seit dem 19. Jahrhundert. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2012.

Sculpting Data (& Painting Networks) — Full Video

Above, a video explaining the collaborative art/theory work that my wife Karin and I have been doing lately — both as a part of the Duke S-1 Speculative Sensation Lab‘s Manifest Data project and in a spin-off project that will be going on display at Duke University next month. The video is being shown right now (at the time of this posting) at North Carolina State University — at the 6th annual AEGS conference “How do you do <digital> humanities?,” where Karin is representing the two of us and presenting alongside Amanda Starling Gould, Luke Caldwell, Libi Striegl, and David Rambo.

Wish I could be there, but I’ve got another panel here at SCMS in Montreal today…

A Few Post-Cinematic Images #SCMS15

Here are a few images, all taken from Twitter, from the “Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory” panel that I chaired this morning, bright and early at 9am.

Despite the early hour, people came out in droves to see Steven Shaviro, Patricia Pisters, Adrian Ivakhiv, and Mark Hansen.

Though I could not see it from my vantage point, people were even standing outside the room to hear these rich and energetic papers!

And a little meta-post-cinema…

Finally, if you couldn’t make it, couldn’t see the speakers, couldn’t hear them, or couldn’t follow all the intricacies of their very rich and theoretically dense papers this morning, you may be interested to know that the entire panel was videotaped and will be available here soon!

Sculpting Data (and Painting Networks)

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On March 28, 2015, members of the Duke S-1 Speculative Sensation Lab will take over a panel at the 2015 AEGS Conference <how do you do Digital Humanities?>. (See here for the conference website, which includes the full program.) General conference info:

The conference will be held in Tompkins Hall on the NC State University campus in Raleigh, NC, on Friday, March 27th and Saturday, March 28th.  Friday evening we will host a keynote panel of Digital Humanities scholars. These scholars will discuss how they “do” Digital Humanities in their research and pedagogy. On Saturday, participants will present their research in 15 minutes presentations.
Again, the final panel of the conference, Session IV (1:55 – 3:10pm on Saturday, March 28), will be devoted to the S-1 Lab’s recent work, especially the Manifest Data project that I have been posting about here. Titled “Digital Metabolisms: Manifesting Data as a Collaborative Research Process,” the panel consists of the following presentations:

Amanda Starling Gould, Duke University, “Digital Metabolism: Using Digital Tools to Hack Humanities Research”

Luke Caldwell, Duke University, “Leveraging Benevolent Spyware for Humanities Research”

Libi Striegl, Duke University, “3D Printing as Artistic Research Intervention”

Karin & Shane Denson, Duke University, “Sculpting Data”

David Rambo, Duke University, “Manifest Data as Digital Manifest Destiny”

(Observant readers of this blog will notice that I am to give two presentations on March 28: both at NC State and at the SCMS conference in Montreal. In fact, Karin will be representing the two of us in Raleigh, but we’re putting together some presentation materials that we’re quite proud of — and that we think will creatively solve the logistical problems of being in two places at once! More soon!)

#SCMS15 — Post-Cinema, Digital Seriality, and a Book Giveaway!

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Only two weeks until the 2015 Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference (March 25-29 in Montreal)! In case you haven’t seen it already, the official program is now up here (warning: opens as a PDF).

As I have posted before, I will be participating in two panels this year:

First, I will be serving as chair on the “Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory” panel (Session K7: Friday, March 27, 9:00 – 10:45am), for which I feel extremely lucky to have secured an all-star lineup of panelists: Steven Shaviro, Patricia Pisters, Adrian Ivakhiv, and Mark B. N. Hansen (click on each name to read the panelists’ abstracts). I also feel very honored that the Media and the Environment Special Interest Group has chosen this panel for official sponsorship!

Second, I will be co-presenting a paper on “Hardware Seriality” with my colleague Andreas Jahn-Sudmann in the “Digital Seriality” panel (Session Q20: Saturday, March 28, 3:00 – 4:45pm). Other panelists include Scott Higgins and Dominik Maeder (click for their abstracts). (Unfortunately, Daniela Wentz will not be able to attend the conference.)

Finally, just for fun: A BOOK GIVEAWAY! The first person to ask me (in person, during the conference) about my book Postnaturalism: Frankenstein, Film, and the Anthropotechnical Interface (excerpt here) will get a free copy! So be on the lookout!