Imagining Media Change — Photos from the Symposium

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

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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:

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Ilka Brasch, “The Operational Aesthetic as a Receptive Mode”

operational_aesthetic

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

Facilitating Media Change: The Operational Aesthetic as a Receptive Mode

Ilka Brasch

When the Scientific American published Eadweard Muybridge’s famous photographs of a horse in motion on October 19th, 1878, the magazine advised its readers to cut the images and mount them into the drum of a zoetrope. By means of this nineteenth-century optical toy, the readers could then prove whether Muybridge’s photographs really did depict the movement of a horse during gallop (Newhall 43). In addition to being one historical instance of media change, the example describes an engagement with media that exceeds a simple acknowledgment of mediated content. The tinkerer’s play with technology, I argue, relates back to what Neil Harris termed the operational aesthetic: a critical engagement with the nature and structure of an artifact, which then allows for the observer to judge about its truth value (Harris 79).

Tracing the history of a critical engagement with developing machines, or ‘new media’, since the 1840s, I will establish the operational aesthetic as a particular mode of engagement with media. That receptive mode then influenced the ways in which tinkerers, operators, or spectators experienced media change. Although media change itself impacts the operational aesthetic, that particular receptive mode also impacts the engagement with ‘new media’. As a final step, I will consider how the operational aesthetic influenced, and was changed itself, during the spectators’ engagement with silent film serials up to the 1920s. All in all, the presentation will serve to offer the operational aesthetic as one way of imagining media change.

Harris, Neil. Humbug: The art of P. T. Barnum. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1973.

Newhall, Beaumont. “Photography and the Development of Kinetic Visualization” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Insitutes, 7 (1944): 40-45.

M: Movies, Machines, Modernity — An Introduction

Above, a somewhat streamlined and re-focused version of the talk I gave last Thursday at the first screening in our film series “M: Movies, Machines, Modernity.” Text and video: Shane Denson. Music: Jared C. Balogh, “Break in the Action,” licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike License.