Nov. 9, Georgetown University: Post-Cinema, Artificial Creation, and the Concept of Animation

Denson Poster-2aOn Friday, November 9, I will be giving a talk titled “Post-Cinema, Artificial Creation, and the Concept of Animation: From Frankenstein to Ex Machina” at Georgetown University’s Film and Media Studies Program.

This is work stemming from my current book project, Discorrelated Images, which I am excited to present. Thanks to Caetlin Benson-Allott and Sky Sitney for inviting me to speak! For further information about the event, please contact Caetlin Benson-Allott.

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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.

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.

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.

Rethinking Temporalities in Cinema and Digital Media, SLSA 2017

SLSA-2017

At this year’s SLSA conference, “Out of Time,” hosted by Arizona State University, I will be chairing a panel titled “Rethinking Temporalities in Cinema and Digital Media” (Saturday, November 11, 2017; 4:00-5:30pm). My own talk is titled “Pre-Sponsive Gestures: Post-Cinema Out of Time.” Here is the complete list of panelists and topics:

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Post-Cinematic Artifacts at Media Fields Conference

RuinsPoster

Next week, on April 7, 2017, I’ll be giving a talk titled “Post-Cinematic Artifacts: Digital Glitch and the Ruins of Perception” at the 2017 Media Fields conference, “RUINS,” at UC Santa Barbara.

Building on recent work I’ve been doing, I’ll be arguing “that new forms of sensibility and collectivity may become thinkable in the spaces opened up by post-cinematic media – that new ways of being and relating to the world may arise from the ruins of perception.”

The full conference program is posted on the conference website.