Plastic Dialectics: Community and Collectivity in Japanese Contemporary Art — Miryam Sas at Digital Aesthetics Workshop

Sas Poster

What do we mean when we speak of “collectivity,” collaboration, and community? How have artists and theorists in Japan questioned and created experimental practices that reframe these terms, so crucial to discussions of the arts today? Sas will reflect on issues of collectivity and assemblage as manifested in Japanese contemporary art, drawing examples from 1950s art theory, late 1960s intermedia art, 1970s site-specific photography events, and post 3-11 sculptural installation. Through site-specific critique and new modes of engagement with local space, artists in each of these distinct moments engage in a subtle but powerful rethinking of the frameworks and practices of collectives past and present.

At the next meeting of the Digital Aesthetics Workshop, Miryam Sas, Professor of Comparative Literature and Film & Media at UC Berkeley, will discuss Plastic Dialectics: Community and Collectivity in Japanese Contemporary Art. As we have throughout this quarter, we will meet on Tuesday, Dec 4, from 5-7 at the Roble Gym. RSVP to deacho@stanford.edu – we expect there will be a paper that we will pre-circulate this weekend.

Sas studies Japanese literature, film, theater, and dance; 20th century literature and critical theory; and avant-garde and experimental visual and literary arts.  She is the author of Experimental Arts in Postwar Japan: Moments of Encounter, Engagement, and Imagined Return  (Harvard, 2010); and Fault Lines: Cultural Memory and Japanese Surrealism(Stanford, 2001).  Sas is currently working on a book on media theory and contemporary art in Japan, Feeling Media: Infrastructure, Potentiality, and the Afterlife of Art in Japan, for which she was awarded a President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities (2017-18).  She has published numerous articles in English, French, and Japanese on subjects such as Japanese futurism, cross-cultural performance, intermedia art, butoh dance, pink film and Japanese experimental animation.

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Chroma Glitch: Carolyn Kane at Digital Aesthetics Workshop

kane_chroma-glitch

The Digital Aesthetics Workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center is entering its second year, and we are pleased to announce the first event: Carolyn L. Kane will share some of her current research with us, under the title Chroma Glitch: Data as Style. The discussion will encompass Takeshi Murata, Ryan Trecartin, and datamoshing, all within Kane’s broader project, tentatively titled Precarious Beauty: Glitch, Noise, and Aesthetic Failure. There will be a paper pre-circulated ahead of the talk; we will pass it along a week ahead of the event. We are thrilled Dr. Kane can join us – when we first came up with this idea for a workshop, her name became a token for the sort of scholarship we would want to bring in. She will launch a year already filling up with exciting speakers and a new graduate colloquium (more on that to come).

Carolyn L. Kane is the author of the award-winning Chromatic Algorithms: Synthetic Color, Computer Art, and Aesthetics after Code (U Chicago, 2014). [You can learn more about this fascinating project through this interview in Theory, Culture & Society.] She earned her Ph.D. from New York University’s Dept. of Media, Culture, and Communication in 2011, and was awarded the Nancy L. Buc Postdoctoral Fellowship in “Aesthetics and the Question of Beauty” at Brown University in 2014. From 2011 to 2014 she taught at Hunter College; she is now Associate Professor of Communication and Design at Ryerson University in Toronto.

This event will be held from 5-7p on Tuesday, Oct 9, 2018 at the Roble Arts Gym Lounge (TAPS department). Drinks and snacks will be served. Please RSVP to Doug Eacho (email in image above) if you can, and share widely.

Matthew Wilson Smith: The Nostalgia of VR

Smith poster DAW 2018

On Tuesday, May 15th, we’ll have our fourth and final Digital Aesthetics Workshop of the Spring quarter, “The Nostalgia of Virtual Reality” with Matthew Wilson Smith, at 4 PM in the Stanford Humanities Center Board Room. In this workshop, we will discuss the degree to which emergent technologies of virtual reality are indebted to longstanding concepts of presence and disembodied consciousness.

Matthew Wilson Smith is an Associate Professor of German Studies and Theatre and Performance Studies at Stanford University. His  interests include modern theatre; modernism and media; and relations between technology, science, and the arts. His book The Nervous Stage: 19th-century Neuroscience and the Birth of Modern Theatre explores historical intersections between the performing arts and the neurological sciences and traces the construction of a “neural subject” over the course of the nineteenth century. It was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. His previous book, The Total Work of Art: From Bayreuth to Cyberspace (Routledge, 2007), presents a history and theory of modern artistic synthesis, placing such diverse figures as Wagner, Moholy-Nagy, Brecht, Riefenstahl, Disney, Warhol, and contemporary cyber-artists within a genealogy of totalizing performance.

Jonathan Sterne: Machine Learning, ‘AI,’ and the Politics of Media Aesthetics

Sterne poster DAW

On April 24, 2018 (4-6pm in the Stanford Humanities Center Board Room), Jonathan Sterne will be speaking at the Digital Aesthetics Workshop. The title of his talk is: “Machine Learning, ‘AI,’ and the Politics of Media Aesthetics: Why Online Music Mastering (Sort of) Works.”

Jonathan Sterne is Professor and James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology in the Department of Art History & Communication Studies at McGill University. His work is concerned with the cultural dimensions of communication technologies, especially their form and role in large-scale societies. One of his major ongoing projects has involved developing the history and theory of sound in the modern west. Beyond the work on sound and music, he has published over fifty articles and book chapters that cover a wide range of topics in media history, new media, cultural theory and disability studies. He has also written on the politics of academic labor and maintains an interest in the future of the university. His new projects consider instruments and instrumentalities; histories of signal processing; and the intersections of disability, technology and perception.

Psychedelic Space and Anachronic Time: Elizabeth Kessler at Digital Aesthetics Workshop

DAW Kessler poster

On Tuesday, April 10 (4-6pm in the Board Room of the Stanford Humanities Center), Elizabeth Kessler (Stanford, American Studies) will deliver a talk, titled “Psychedelic Space and Anachronic Time: Photography and the Voyager’s Tour of the Solar System,” in the context of the Digital Aesthetics Workshop.

Elizabeth Kessler’s research and teaching focus on 20th and 21st century American visual culture. Her diverse interests include: the role of aesthetics, visual culture, and media in modern and contemporary science, especially astronomy; the interchange between technology and ways of seeing and representing; the history of photography; and the representation of fashion in different media. Her first book, Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime, on the aesthetics of deep space images, was published in 2012. She’s currently writing on book on extraterrestrial time capsules, as well as developing a new project on fashion photography.

See here for more information.

Discorrelated Images — Digital Aesthetics Workshop, April 3

DAW-poster copy

On Tuesday, April 3, 2018 (4:00-6:00pm), I will be giving a talk titled “Discorrelated Images” in the context of the Digital Aesthetics Workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center. The talk draws on my current book project of the same title and will address primarily temporal and affective relations and transformations occasioned by digital images.

Participants are encouraged (but not required) to read my chapter “Crazy Cameras, Discorrelated Images, and the Post-Perceptual Mediation of Post-Cinematic Affect” prior to the event.