“Unstable Interface” at SLSA 2018 Toronto

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On Saturday, Nov. 17 (3:30 – 5:00pm), I will be presenting alongside Beth Coleman, Jacob Gaboury, James Malazita, and Patrick Keilty on a panel titled “Unstable Interface” at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, & the Arts (SLSA) in Toronto.

Here’s the panel lineup:

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Images of Discorrelation at ASAP/10 in New Orleans

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Next week, Oct. 17-20, 2018, the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP) will be holding its annual conference in New Orleans. There I will be on a panel, called “Images Otherwise,” with some excellent co-panelists: Andrew Johnston (NC State), Brooke Belisle (SUNY Stony Brook), and Jacob Gaboury (UC Berkeley). I will be presenting work related to my forthcoming book, Discorrelated Images.

Here is my abstract:

Images of Discorrelation

Shane Denson, Stanford University

This presentation deals with the ongoing transition from a cinematic to a post-cinematic media regime. Situated at the cusp between film studies and digital media studies, “images of discorrelation” names a variety of contemporary visual phenomena (glitches, artifacts, motion-smoothing, etc.) and seeks to articulate a theory of the perceptual, actional, and above all affective impacts of the thoroughgoing computationalization of moving-image media. The concept of “discorrelation” concerns the severing of phenomenological relations between viewing subjects and image-objects; it results from the failure, on the part of contemporary cameras and other imaging devices, to situate spectators in a coherently articulated viewing position. Furthermore, discorrelation is an effect of the microtemporal processing of computational images, which impacts viewers’ own embodied processing of time at a subperceptual level, prior to the articulation of subject-object relations. This generative dimension implicates computational imaging systems, including their use in mainstream movies and other media, in a fundamental transformation of human-technological relations.

Frankenstein: 200 Years of Monsters

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Tomorrow, the third and final event on my Australia trip kicks off: Frankenstein: Two Hundred Years of Monsters, an international and interdisciplinary conference at the Australian National University and the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra (September 12-15, 2018).

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, I will be delivering one of the keynotes, titled “Adaptation and Experimentation: Frankenstein in the Cinema and Beyond.”

More information and the complete conference schedule can be found here.

Ends of Cinema: Center for 21st Century Studies 2018 Conference at UW Milwaukee

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I am excited to be participating in the Ends of Cinema conference at the Center for 21st Century Studies, taking place May 3-5, 2018 at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. There are some great keynote speakers, including my colleague Jean Ma and lots of other wonderful people. The C21, under the expert leadership of Richard Grusin (who is now back at the helm after a short hiatus), has put on some of my personal favorite conferences, and I expect this one to be no less exciting and thought-provoking.

My own contribution will be a paper titled “Post-Cinematic Realism” — work in progress for my current book project Discorrelated Images. Here is the abstract:

Post-Cinematic Realism

Shane Denson, Stanford University

In its classical formulation, cinematic realism is based in the photographic ontology of film, i.e. in the photograph’s indexical relation to the world, which grants to film its unique purchase on reality; upon this relation also hinged, for many realist filmmakers, the political promise of realism. Digital media, meanwhile, are widely credited with disrupting indexicality and instituting an alternative ontology of the image. David Rodowick, for example, argues that the interjection of digital code disrupts film’s “automatisms” and eradicates the index in favor of the symbolic. But while such arguments are in many respects compelling, I contend that the disruption of photographic indexicality might also be seen to open up spaces in which to explore new automatisms that communicate reality and/or realism with and through post-indexical technologies.

Whereas André Bazin privileged techniques like the long take and deep focus for their power to approximate our natural perception of time and space, theorists like Maurizio Lazzarato and Mark Hansen emphasize post-cinematic media’s ability to approximate the sub-perceptual processing of duration executed by our pre-personal bodies. The perceptual discorrelation of computational images gives way, in other words, to a more precise calibration of machinic and embodied temporalities; simultaneously, the perceptual richness of Bazin’s images becomes less important, while “poor images” (in Hito Steyerl’s term) communicate more directly the material and political realities of a post-cinematic environment. As I will demonstrate with reference to a variety of moving-image texts employing glitches, drones, and other computational objects, post-cinematic media might in fact be credited with a newly intensified political relevance through their institution of a new, post-cinematic realism.

Frankenstein@200: International Health Humanities Consortium Conference

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The 2018 International Health Humanities Consortium Conference will be held at Stanford University from April 20-22, 2018. The keynote speakers are:

Alexander Nemerov
Professor, Art and Art History at Stanford University

Lester Friedman
Professor, Media and Society at Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Alvan Ikoku
Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature and Medicine at Stanford University

Catherine Belling
Associate Professor, Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University

In addition, there will be a number of great events around campus. You can find more information here.

I will be participating in the conference in two ways:

First, on Friday, April 20 (2:30-3:30pm in McMurtry 115) I will be presenting a screening session of videographic works related to “Frankenstein & Film.” I will be showing a few of my own pieces (which you can see here and here), as well as works by video essayists like Allison de Fren, alongside commercial “making of” videos, art film reimaginations, and other moving-image forms that treat the history of Frankenstein films from Thomas Edison’s 1910 production up to the present day.

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Second, on Sunday, April 22 (11:15am), I will be presenting a paper titled “Frankenstein and Bioethics Beyond Chance and Choice.” The paper draws upon and rethinks ideas that I put forward in one of my very first publications: “Frankenstein, Bioethics, and Technological Irreversibility.” That paper, published in 2007, can be found here.

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