The next meeting of the Digital Aesthetics Workshop is right around the corner! On Tuesday, November 5, 2019 (5-7pm in McMurtry 370), Scott Bukatman will be talking about digital bodies, superheroes, and more, in a talk titled “We Are Ant-Man.”
We Are Ant-Man
The body of the 21st-century cinematic superhero is often a digital body, in whole or in part. It offers itself as a particularly visible digital effect (or effect of the digital). It somatizes the mutability afforded by digital technology. It speaks to the sense that bodies (and therefore selves) in the digital age are no more inviolate than any other form of coded information. But having said that they “speak to” such conditions, what do they say beyond the fact of our own hybridity? Do these bodies tell us anything useful about our digital lives? Comedies have long served to mediate new technologies for audiences, so to pursue this, I’m going to concentrate on Ant-Man and the Wasp (Peyton Reed, 2018), perhaps thesunniest and most classically comedic film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What do the film’s particular emphases — the nature of its gags, its depiction of technology, and the state of knowledge of both protagonists and audience — tell us about our digital condition?
Though not required, workshops participants are encouraged to watch Ant-Man and the Wasp prior to the event. Snacks and drinks will be served, and all are welcome!
On July 3, 2019, I delivered a talk related to my forthcoming book, Discorrelated Images, at Leuphana Universität’s Institute of Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation (MECS), during my fellowship in Lüneburg. The video is now online, and can be viewed here (or the direct link to YouTube).
Thanks to Florian Hoof for the kind invitation, and for everyone at MECS and the Center for Digital Cultures for hosting me this summer!
On June 29, 2019, I will be presenting work from my forthcoming book, Discorrelated Images, at the media-philosophical workshop on “Reflexivity in Digital Media” at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. Thanks to Katerina Krtilova for organizing, and thanks to Dieter Mersch for the invitation to be a part of this!
On July 3, 2019, I will be giving a talk titled “Images of Discorrelation” at the Center for Digital Cultures/Institute for Advanced Studies on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation at the Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany, in the context of a research fellowship I’ll be doing there this summer. Thanks to Florian Hoof, Claus Pias, and everyone at CDC/MECS for making this happen!
The exhibition catalog for APPROXIMATELY 800cm3 of PLA, curated by Gabriel Menotti at last year’s Center for 21st Century Studies conference on The Ends of Cinema (May 3-5, 2018 at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) is now online.
Among the pieces featured was DataGnomeKD1.stl, a generative/deformative 3D-printed garden gnome that Karin Denson and I made a couple of years ago in the context of a larger project at the Duke S-1: Speculative Sensation Lab. (You can check out our publication here.)
Thanks to Gabriel Menotti for putting together this playful show!
Next Monday (January 14, 2018), we will be joined at the Digital Aesthetics Workshop by Stephanie Boluk & Patrick LeMieux. They are coming to us from UC-Davis, where Stephanie is Associate Professor of English and of Cinema and Digital Media, and where Patrick is Assistant Professor of Cinema and Digital Media. Boluk & LeMieux are scholars, critics, and artists who work largely around videogames and digital art. Their book Metagaming (Minnesota, 2017) wrenches open the ‘texts’ of videogames to consider them as tools, materials, platforms, and stages for all sorts of new social practices – it is easily one of the best works in game studies yet published. They have also co-created several critical games of their own that you can easily run on your laptop.
On Monday, they will be sharing in-progress material from their next book project, Money Games. Join us on Monday, January 14, 2018 (5-7pm in the Roble Arts Gym Lounge), and RSVP if you can! There will not be pre-circulated reading, though their games are recommended.
Here is the blurb for the event:
In 1987, a pyramid scheme called the “Plane Game” funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the pockets of “passengers,” landing at least six of the game’s “pilots” in jail. In 2018, more ubiquitous moneygames are played with smaller stakes across far wider fields. From the Valve Corporation’s Flatland to grey market gambling with Counter-Strike gun skins, this talk will move from from the Steam Workshop to the Steam Marketplace to series of third-party websites that explore the way in which money operates as a game mechanics and how game mechanics have come to operate as money. Although strict distinctions are made between gambling and gaming in both US law as well as 20th century philosophies of games and play, these terms’ etymological roots are tightly wound. In a post-2008 age of precarity, the wage has once again become a wager. In 2012, Alex Galloway proclaimed “we are all goldfarmers,” but gun skins and skin gambling represent an even more complex and complete financialization in that players have moved from one mode in which labour time is exchanged for a clear wage (even if it’s grinding in World of Warcraft) to one in which labour time itself becomes a wager. Ultimately skins are not simply texture files that wrap around the polygonal geometry of virtual weapons. Instead, they are objects of affinity and status, digital cash and casino chips, and a gun skins’ procedurally generated pattern, determined by a 9-digit floating point number selected upon unboxing, is more cryptocurrency than art asset. In this talk we follow the money, the skin, the flow, and the flight of new “plane games” as metagames become moneygames.