On Wednesday, February 27 (5-7pm in the Board Room of the Stanford Humanities Center), the Digital Aesthetics Workshop will be hosting Kevin B. Lee for an event titled “Dreams and Terrors of Desktop Documentary”:
Desktop documentary is a form that both presents and critically reflects on the world as experienced through computer screens and online interfaces. Treating the desktop as a medium for non-fiction storytelling proposes a unique set of epistemological dilemmas, affective dimensions and aesthetic discoveries. These factors inform Bottled Songs, a collaborative investigation by Kevin B. Lee and Chloé Galibert-Laîné of online terrorist media. Screening excerpts from the project, Lee will elaborate on the desktop documentary approach and its applications in exploring the underlying networks — both human and technological — informing online terrorism.
Kevin B. Lee is a US-born filmmaker and critic. He has produced over 360 video essays exploring film and media. His award-winning film Transformers: The Premake played in several festivals and was named one of the best documentaries of 2014 by Sight & Sound. He was Artist in Residence of the Harun Farocki Institut in Berlin. He is now Professor of Crossmedia Publishing at the Merz Akademie, Stuttgart. In 2018 he and Chloé Galibert-Laîné were grantees of the Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fund and artists-in-residence of the European Media Art Platform (EMAP).
On December 18, 2018, I will be giving a public lecture titled “Desktop Horror” at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart, as part of the Welcome to the Real World lecture series organized by Kevin B. Lee. I’m very excited to share this work, and hope to see friends in Germany!
The shift from a cinematic to a post-cinematic media regime has occasioned a great deal of anxiety for theorists and spectators alike, and the horror genre has been adept at channeling this unease for its own purposes, as is evidenced in movies that revolve around the proliferation of digital devices and networks as new media for ghosts, demons, and other forms of evil. In this presentation, I focus on “desktop horror” in particular and argue that the fears elicited in post-cinematic horror are deeply rooted in the upheaval that viewers experience in the face of a thoroughly computational lifeworld.
Starting May 1, I am proud to present an exhibition of video essays, including works by well-known scholar-filmmakers Allison de Fren and Kevin B. Lee, as well as students from my “Post-Cinema” seminar. Selected videos deal with a range of topics, including digital animation, Beyoncé’s Lemonade and the visual album, contemporary horror, slow cinema, transmedia franchises and post-cinematic television, and more.
The show will be on view May 1-12, 2017 in the Gunn Foyer, McMurtry Building (home of the Department of Art & Art History) at Stanford University.