Resistance is Futile Against Hot Asexuality

Recently, I wondered whether it was time to leave social media and reboot the blog as a space of active thinking and sharing. The jury is still out on whether that is feasible and even desirable. But I would like to use this space to post more than just upcoming talks and publications. In that spirit, I’d like to point out Yvette Granata’s 360-degree video CLONE (2017), which you can see above (but which is better viewed on a smartphone through the YouTube app, and even better with Google Cardboard or similar contraption).

On her website, Granata describes the video thus:

CLONE (HD Video, 2017) is a 360 video essay and a para-sexual design fiction. It narrates a future time after global climate collapse and mass pollution have made sexual reproduction no longer viable. Both sexual reproduction and the networked technology of the 21st century have all melted from the humidity produced by runaway greenhouse gasses. In this speculative future, a Xenofeminist world government has re-purposed the data farms of former tech companies for Mono-auto-sexual cloning clinics — the artificial wombs for the hot asexuality of the future.

I have recently been writing about this remarkable video against the background of big-budget movies about artificial women, including Her (2013), Ex Machina (2014), and Blade Runner 2049 (2017). Those movies, all of which happen to be directed by white men, are interesting meditations on, or parables of, artificial creation in an age of computer-generated imagery. But Granata’s weird video, drawing inspiration from the Xenofeminist Manifesto, goes farther than any of those movies in raising questions about the interface between gender, capital, climate change, and moving-image media.

Here is a brief snippet of what I’ve been writing:

Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 11.18.34 PM

Advertisements

The Horror of Discorrelation—Kristiansand, Norway

329817CB-ACD6-41D3-9114-3054E6500C7C

This week, thanks to a kind invitation from Julia Leyda, I have been in Trondheim, Norway, where I’ve led two workshops on videographic scholarship and pedagogy with Kathleen Loock and, today, gave a talk on “Screen Time.” Tomorrow, March 29, 2019, I will head down south, where I will be speaking on “The Horror of Discorrelation” at University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway. Thanks to Ahmet Gürata for inviting me!

Talks and Events in Norway, March 2019

53302367_10216066827896253_2775131519889440768_n

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!

53549420_10216066800695573_3535623340129517568_o

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.

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

C21-Ends-of-Cinema-poster

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

acla-seminar

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)

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 5.48.10 PM

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.