Michael Richards: Winged

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The other day I promised (or threatened) to reactivate this blog for things other than announcing talks, publications, etc. It remains to be seen how much time I will actually devote to this, but my thought was anyway that I should reclaim the time I waste on social media (especially Facebook). Accordingly, why not post just the pictures I would otherwise be sharing there here instead? Of course, these are not just any pictures…

These are from the moving show Michael Richards: Winged, which is currently up at the Stanford Art Gallery (but ending this week, so hurry if you plan to see it!).

Michael Richards, whose work powerfully probes race in American culture, tragically died in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, where he was working in his studio on the 92nd floor of Tower One.

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The show was recently an Artforum Critics’ Pick.

Check it out if you can!

 

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The Rebirth of the Blog?

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I quipped the other day on Facebook, “Thank god blogs are dead!” — thinking of some particularly toxic moments and scenes from “back in the day.” Facebook must have heard me… I wanted to post the rough scrap of writing above to that piece of … social media today (with the clever caption: “Brian O’Blivion makes a surprise cameo appearance in my book! Was not expecting this…”), but FB won’t accept my image or post my comment. I know that the network is having major difficulties today, difficulties that will likely pass quickly, but this episode has gotten me thinking (somewhat romantically) about the possibility of a different Internet. The blogosphere was often horrible, but could it ever be as bad as Facebook? Could #FacebookDown and #InstagramDown spark a mass migration and a revival of blogs? Probably not… But leave a comment if you’d like to see it happen! (Or if not, why not.)

Talks and Events in Norway, March 2019

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In the week of March 25 – 29, 2019, I will be giving several talks and workshops in Norway — first at the Deapartment of Art And Media Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, and then at the Department of Nordic and Media Studies at the University of Agder in Kristiansand.

First, in Trondheim, on March 26 and 27, I will be participating on two workshops on videographic pedagogy and scholarship with Kathleen Loock.

Then, on March 28, also in Trondheim, I’ll be presenting work from my book project Discorrelated Images.

Finally, on March 29, in Kristiansand, I’ll be giving a talk on contemporary horror, also under the perspective of discorrelation.

Thanks to Julia Leyda for inviting me to Trondheim, and to Ahmet Gürata for the invitation to Kristiansand!

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Dreams and Terrors of Desktop Documentary — Kevin B. Lee at Digital Aesthetics Workshop

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On Wednesday, February 27 (5-7pm in the Board Room of the Stanford Humanities Center), the Digital Aesthetics Workshop will be hosting Kevin B. Lee for an event titled “Dreams and Terrors of Desktop Documentary”:

Desktop documentary is a form that both presents and critically reflects on the world as experienced through computer screens and online interfaces. Treating the desktop as a medium for non-fiction storytelling proposes a unique set of epistemological dilemmas, affective dimensions and aesthetic discoveries. These factors inform Bottled Songs, a collaborative investigation by Kevin B. Lee and Chloé Galibert-Laîné of online terrorist media. Screening excerpts from the project, Lee will elaborate on the desktop documentary approach and its applications in exploring the underlying networks — both human and technological — informing online terrorism.

Kevin B. Lee is a US-born filmmaker and critic. He has produced over 360 video essays exploring film and media. His award-winning film Transformers: The Premake played in several festivals and was named one of the best documentaries of 2014 by Sight & Sound. He was Artist in Residence of the Harun Farocki Institut in Berlin. He is now Professor of Crossmedia Publishing at the Merz Akademie, Stuttgart. In 2018 he and Chloé Galibert-Laîné were grantees of the Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fund and artists-in-residence of the European Media Art Platform (EMAP).

Can Computers Create Meaning? — N. Katherine Hayles at Digital Aesthetics Workshop

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Coming up in a few weeks: N. Katherine Hayles will be joining the Digital Aesthetics Workshop to present some of her latest research. This session will take place in the Humanities Center Board Room, on Tues. Feb 12, from 5-7 PM. Her event is entitled Can Computers Create Meaning? A Cyber-Bio-Semiotic Perspective.

We anticipate a full event, so you must RSVP to this google form link. We will circulate Hayles’s paper, which she will briefly introduce and then invite conversation around it. Here is her abstract:

Can Computers Create Meaning? A Cyber-Bio-Semiotic Perspective

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One of the promising areas to understand how computers cognize is biosemiotics, a field that draws on C. S. Peirce’s semiotics to argue that all living organisms generate and understand meanings appropriate to their contexts, even plants and unicellular organisms.  Although these approaches by such theorists as Jesper Hoffmeyer, Wendy Wheeler, and Terrence Deacon have considerable explanatory power, they share a common blind spot in arguing that such signifying capabilities apply only to living organisms, not computers.  However, many of their objections to networked and programmed machines creating, disseminating and understanding meanings become moot if the relevant unit is considered to be human plus computer rather than either alone.  The human species, this paper will argue, is in the midst of entering into a deep symbiosis with computational media. Still incomplete, this symbiosis is akin to endosymbiosis, where previously independently living organisms unite into a single entity, as happened for example with the absorption of mitochondria by eukaryotic cells.  The paper will conclude by exploring the implications of this symbiosis-in-progress.

Out Now: Videographic Frankenstein in Hyperrhiz 19

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I am excited to announce that the Videographic Frankenstein exhibit, which ran September 26 – November 2, 2018 at Stanford, lives on in an online version — out now in Hyperrhiz 19! There you will find 10 video works on various facets of Frankenstein‘s moving-image legacy, from early film to television and digital animation, along with creators’ statements that reflect on this history and its relations to videographic scholarship, among other monstrosities.

Thanks again to the Stanford Medicine and the Muse Frankenstein@200 Initiative and the Stanford Department of Art & Art History and Program in Film & Media Studies for their generous support of the project.

Thanks also to Helen Burgess, editor at Hyperrhiz, for entertaining the notion of publishing an exhibition of creative and scholarly videos, and for working with me to find the right format.

And thanks, finally, to the contributors for all their hard work: Matthew Fishel, Jason Mittell, Allison de Fren, David Verdeure, Carlos Valladares, Lester Friedman, Kristine Vann, and Spencer Slovic!

Also, be sure to check out the full issue of Hyperrhiz, which is chock full of more excellent scholarly and creative work!

Scholars Select

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There is a short article in today’s Stanford News about the Scholars Select exhibition that’s on right now until until April 14 at Green Library. The centerpiece of the article is this set of pictures by University Photographer Linda A. Cicero, who shot a selection of scholars and their objects. Each image links to the short statement that the faculty member prepared about their object. Take a look!