Imagining Media Change — Photos from the Symposium

Here are some images from our symposium “Imagining Media Change,” which took place on June 13, 2013:


Above, Ruth Mayer opening the symposium with some nice words of welcome.

1-Jussi_ParikkaJussi Parikka talking about “Cultural Techniques of Cognitive Capitalism: On Change and Recurrence” in his wonderful opening keynote.

2-Florian_GrossFlorian Groß delivering his talk “The Only Constant is Change: American Television and Media Change Revisited” — with examples from Mad Men.

3-Bettina_SollerBettina Soller on hypertext and fanfic in her talk “How We Imagined Electronic Literature and Who Died: Looking at Fan Fiction to See What Became of the Future of Writing”.

4-Shane_DensonMe, Shane Denson, on escalators and “On NOT Imagining Media Change”.

5-Wanda_StrauvenWanda Strauven delivering the second keynote, “Pretend (&) Play: Children as Media Archaeologists” — a lively talk with great examples!

6-Christina_MeyerChristina Meyer talking about the Yellow Kid and “Technology – Economy – Mediality: Nineteenth Century American Newspaper Comics”.

7-Ilka_BraschIlka Brasch talking about early film serials and “Facilitating Media Change: The Operational Aesthetic as a Receptive Mode”.

8-Alexander_StarreAlexander Starre wrapping up the symposium with an excellent talk on “Evolving Technologies, Enduring Media: Material Irony in Octave Uzanne’s ‘The End of Books’”.

And finally, here are a few more random pictures:




Alexander Starre, “Evolving Technologies, Enduring Media”


Abstract for Alexander Starre’s talk at the symposium “Imagining Media Change” (June 13, 2013, Leibniz Universität Hannover):

Evolving Technologies, Enduring Media: Material Irony in Octave Uzanne’s “The End of Books”

Alexander Starre

In the electric shockwaves sent through the United States by the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1893, the French writer and publisher Octave Uzanne appeared to have lost his belief in the future of the book. As a reporter for Le Figaro, Uzanne spent three months touring the country, meeting President Grover Cleveland and inventor Thomas Edison, besides strolling the fairgrounds in Chicago. After his visit, he published the short story “The End of Books” in Scribner’s Magazine in 1894, which depicts a future in which books have been replaced by the phonograph. In the seminal volume Rethinking Media Change (ed. David Thorburn and Henry Jenkins), Priscilla Coit Murphy reads “The End of Books” as an exuberant embrace of new media. This paper aims to complicate Murphy’s analysis through a materialist perspective on Uzanne’s text as a historical artifact. “The End of Books” does not unfold its full complexity in the English text printed in Scribner’s. The French version “La fin des livres”, which forms part of the collection Contes pour les bibliophiles (1895), exposes the material irony embedded in the text. Octave Uzanne’s relationship to technology was strikingly ambivalent and manifested larger shifts in networks of communication and cultural distinction. While he was fascinated by new electro-mechanical inventions, his ultimate goal was to improve the quality of printed artifacts. From this peculiar case, my paper will extract several theoretical implications for current debates in media studies and book history.