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.

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Generativity and Creative Agency in Post-Cinematic Media — SLSA 2016 Panel

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I am excited to be chairing and participating in the panel “Generativity and Creative Agency in Post-Cinematic Media” at the 2016 conference of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA), which will be taking place this year in Atlanta, November 3-6, 2016. Below you will find the panel description and links to the individual abstracts.

Generativity and Creative Agency in Post-Cinematic Media

SLSA 2016 Panel

Chair: Shane Denson, Stanford University

This panel seeks to elucidate the generative potentials and creative agencies of contemporary audiovisual media, or post-cinematic media. We explore these potentials in terms of technological, aesthetic, affective, and political processes involved in 21st-century media, theorizing their impact on the images that dominate our experience of the contemporary lifeworld. Collectively, these presentations provide a picture of post-cinema as a field of material, cultural, informatic, and ideological agencies—a media regime that exhibits an unprecedented form of productivity, or creative force, owing in part to the shift from a photographic-indexical to a computational ontology, but continuing to speak to human sensibilities through images that actively generate an interface with sub-perceptual and informational processes.

Shane Denson’s contribution introduces the notion of post-cinema as a framework for contemporary experience—a generative framework that displaces human perspectives while simultaneously re-situating them with respect to the microtemporal processes that subtend perception in the age of digital, networked media. Mark Hansen’s talk turns to the use of military drones in the production of strategic and aesthetic images, questioning the relation between the visual and the informatic. Ozgun Eylul Iscen picks up this thread and links the political power of post-cinematic images to the generative power of the glitch, a phenomenon which hovers between properly perceptual and infrastructural registers. Finally, Jason Lajoie’s contribution focuses on interactive potentials and the reconfiguration of photographic media and agencies in contemporary videogames.

Abstracts for the individual papers:

Shane Denson, “Post-Cinema as a Generative Media Regime”

Ozgun Eylul Iscen, “Indexicality as ‘Shadow Archive’ in Post-Cinema”

Mark B. N. Hansen, “Between Information and Fabulation: Cinema After Drones”

Jason Lajoie, “Playing the Photographer: Creative Self-Expression through In-Game Photography”

Post-Cinema (Book Trailer)

Here is a short “book trailer” for the open-access collection Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film, edited by Shane Denson and Julia Leyda (REFRAME Books, 2016).

Also, don’t forget that we’ll be having a book launch party at Pro qm Books in Berlin this coming Friday, June 24. See here for more info and a flyer.

Post-Cinema Book Launch Party

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On June 24, 2016, Julia Leyda and I will be celebrating the launch of our co-edited book Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film at Pro qm Books in Berlin. Several contributors will be on hand as well for a short book presentation, Q&A, and wine!

See the flyer above for details, and come out if you’re in the neighborhood!

Out Now — Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film

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I am happy to announce, at long last, the publication of Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film, edited by Shane Denson and Julia Leyda, which is out today as a completely free and open-access volume with REFRAME Books.

If cinema and television, as the dominant media of the 20th century, shaped and reflected our cultural sensibilities, how do new digital media in the 21st century help to shape and reflect new forms of sensibility? In this collection, editors Shane Denson and Julia Leyda have gathered a range of essays that approach this question by way of a critical engagement with the notion of “post-cinema.” Contributors explore key experiential, technological, political, historical, and ecological aspects of the transition from a cinematic to a post-cinematic media regime and articulate both continuities and disjunctures between film’s first and second centuries.

The book will appear in several digital formats: the web-based version is online today, and several ebook formats will be appearing soon.

The book brings together foundational texts by some of the key voices in the discussion of post-cinema and places them next to a range of brand-new chapters, as well as a series of roundtable discussions.

The long list of contributors includes:

Caitlin Benson-Allott, Paul Bowman, Felix Brinker, Kristopher L. Cannon, Francesco Casetti, Steen Christiansen, Elena del Río, Shane Denson, Rosalind Galt, Therese Grisham, Richard Grusin, Leon Gurevitch, Mark B. N. Hansen, Bruce Isaacs, Adrian Ivakhiv, Kylie Jarrett, Selmin Kara, ​Julia Leyda, Patricia MacCormack, Lev Manovich, Ruth Mayer, Michael O’Rourke, Patricia Pisters, Alessandra Raengo, David Rambo, Nicholas Rombes, Sergi Sánchez, Karin Sellberg, Steven Shaviro, Michael Loren Siegel, Vivian Sobchack, Billy Stevenson, Andreas Sudmann

Here is the table of contents:

Post-Cinema-TOC

A brief “press release” with a description of the book and the complete table of contents is available here (opens as a PDF): POST-CINEMA-Press-Release

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Video: Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory, Part 5: Mark B. N. Hansen, “Speculative Protention” — #SCMS15

Above, Mark B. N. Hansen’s talk “Speculative Protention, or, Are 21st Century Media Agents of Futurity” — the last of five videos documenting the “Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory” panel I chaired on March 27, 2015 at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference in Montreal.

See here for more information and a general introduction to the panel.