Discorrelated Images — Digital Aesthetics Workshop, April 3

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On Tuesday, April 3, 2018 (4:00-6:00pm), I will be giving a talk titled “Discorrelated Images” in the context of the Digital Aesthetics Workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center. The talk draws on my current book project of the same title and will address primarily temporal and affective relations and transformations occasioned by digital images.

Participants are encouraged (but not required) to read my chapter “Crazy Cameras, Discorrelated Images, and the Post-Perceptual Mediation of Post-Cinematic Affect” prior to the event.

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Twenty-First Century Mediations of Subjectivity, ACLA 2018 #ACLA2018

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At this year’s conference of the American Comparative Literature Association, taking place March 29 – April 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, I will be participating in a great seminar/panel stream on “Twenty-First Century Mediations of Subjectivity,” organized by Jim Hodge of Northwestern University.

I’m looking forward to all of the talks, on such a rich set of topics. Here is the abstract for my talk:

Post-Cinema and the Phenomenology of External Time-Consciousness

Shane Denson

Something about the temporality of media has changed, and with it the relation of media to the temporality of subjective experience. In Technics and Time, Bernard Stiegler famously argued for just such a change, which he located in the advent of “tertiary memories” – externalized, reproducible experiences stored by industrial media objects. Using the term “cinema” to designate not only a specific apparatus but also the broad media regime or epoch instituted by recording technologies from photography and phonography to television and digital technologies, Stiegler identifies a threat to our subjective experience – exacerbated with the advent of live media in “the televisual epoch of cinema” – whereby media colonize consciousness by pre-formatting our immediate awareness (primary retention) with the images of tertiary retention. One thing Stiegler’s argument fails to account for, however, is the emergence of a protentional dimension that distinguishes computational media as decidedly “post-cinematic.” No longer simply memorial or mnemotechnical, post-cinema’s protentional images are generated on the fly according to compression algorithms rather than photochemical processes, thus disrupting the stability of tertiary memory while producing an external homologue to internal time-consciousness. This paper seeks to trace the impact of post-cinematic temporality on the production of subjective experience.

Stanford Film & Media Studies 2018 Symposium: “Pieces”

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The inaugural Stanford Film and Media Studies Symposium takes place on Friday April 13, 2018 in Oshman Hall. The theme of the conference is “Pieces” and talks will address questions concerning how bits of film and media make us rethink the relation of part to whole and what methods artists use to make discrete pieces—temporal, spatial, material, performative—that may or may not fit into larger collaborative works.

The keynote speakers are Lotte Hoek (University of Edinburgh) on “Anthropology and the Cinematic Fragment in South Asia” and Steven Shaviro (Wayne State University) on “Speculative Time.” In addition, there will be two panels. The first will feature an artist’s talk by Srdan Keca (Documentary Film and Video); Daniel Cohen (Art & Art History) on “Chinese Comedy and the Postsocialist Art of Deflation”; Heather Rastovac Akbarzadeh (Dance Studies) on “Sensorial Performativity of the ‘Veil’ in Aisan Hoss’s Dance-Theater The Pleasant Pain”; and Dustin Condren (Slavic) on Sergei Eisenstein’s film scenario MMM. Terry Berlier (Art Practice) will deliver an artist’s talk on the second panel, followed by Tiffany Naiman (Thinking Matters) on “Memory, Meaning, and Fragmentation in David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’; Henry Rownd (Art & Art History) on the marked disjuncture between widescreen and pan-and-scan in Otto Preminger’s late work Skidoo (1968); and Max Suechting (Modern Thought and Literature) on “Fragments and Wholes in J Dilla’s Donuts.”

9:30am – Welcome
9:50am – Opening Remarks
10:00am – Keynote Speaker
11:30am – Panel 1
2:30pm – Panel 2
4:30pm – Keynote Speaker
5:45 pm – Closing Remarks

Department of Art & Art History, Film & Media Studies, thanks their sponsors: Center for South Asia, Office of the Vice President for the Arts, CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, Stanford Global Studies Division, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Iranian Studies, The Program in Modern Thought & Literature, Department of Communication, Thinking Matters.

See also the official announcement here: https://art.stanford.edu/events/stanford-film-and-media-studies-symposium-pieces

Review of Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film, Screen 59:1 (2018)

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Lisa Åkervall has a review out in the latest issue of Screen, covering three works on post-cinema: 1) the open-access volume that I edited with Julia Leyda, Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film; 2) the special issue of Cinéma & Cie (16:26-27, 2016), titled ‘Post-what? Post-when? Thinking moving images beyond the post-medium/post-cinema condition,’ edited by Miriam de Rosa and Vinzenz Hediger (which also includes my article on “Speculation, Transition, and the Passing of Post-Cinema”); and 3) Malte Hagener, Vinzenz Hediger, and Alena Strohmeier’s edited collection The State of Post-Cinema: Tracing the Moving Image in the Age of Digital Dissemination

About the collection I co-edited with Julia Leyda, Åkervall writes:

“Shane Denson and Julia Leyda’s comprehensive volume Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film, an open access online publication by Reframe Books, presents a multifaceted compendium. […] The editors’ framing in Post-Cinema is precise and penetrating, flexible enough to accommodate enduring themes in film and media studies while also making allowances for new questions associated with topics such as digital media aesthetics, media archaeology and environmental studies. Their volume rejects the idea that postcinema is merely a successor to cinema or a step in the teleological digitalization of all media, instead identifying it with competing perspectives on a changing media situation that bears on cinema as an institution, a practice and a medium. In this respect the volume admirably addresses our changing media landscape.”

Read the full review here.

Let’s Make a Monster! Critical Making (Stanford, Spring 2018)

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Ever since Frankenstein unleashed his monster onto the world in Mary Shelley’s novel from 1818, the notion of “technology-out-of-control” has been a constant worry of modern societies, plaguing more optimistic visions of progress and innovation with fears that modern machines harbor potentials that, once set in motion, can no longer be tamed by their human makers. In this characteristically modern myth, the act of making — and especially technological making — gives rise to monsters. As a cautionary tale, we are therefore entreated to look before we leap, to go slow and think critically about the possible consequences of invention before we attempt to make something radically new. However, this means of approaching the issue of human-technological relations implies a fundamental opposition between thinking and making, suggesting a split between cognition as the specifically human capacity for reflection versus a causal determinism-without-reflection that characterizes the machinic or the technical. Nevertheless, recent media theory questions this dichotomy by asserting that technologies are inseparable from humans’ abilities to think and to act in the world, while artistic practices undo the thinking/making split more directly and materially, by taking materials — including technologies — as the very medium of their critical engagement with the world. Drawing on impulses from both media theory and art practice, “critical making” names a counterpart to “critical thinking” — one that utilizes technologies to think about humans’ constitutive entanglements with technology, while recognizing that insight often comes from errors, glitches, malfunctions, or even monsters. Co-taught by a practicing artist and a media theorist, this course will engage students in hands-on critical practices involving both theories and technologies. Let’s make a monster!

ARTSTUDI 233, FILMSTUD 233/433 — Spring 2018 — Profs. Paul DeMarinis & Shane Denson — Thursdays 3:00-5:50pm

Horror and New Media, and the Horror of New Media #SCMS18 #SCMS2018

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Looking forward to speaking on this panel, alongside Cecilia Sayad, Adam Hart, and Kevin Chabot at the 2018 Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Toronto. Panel L13, Friday, March 16, 2018 (3:15pm – 5:00pm).

Thesis of my paper: “Post-cinematic horror is a side-channel attack on our affective processing of time itself.”