Video: Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory, Part 1 — #SCMS15

Above, the first of five videos documenting the “Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory” panel I chaired on March 27, 2015 at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference in Montreal.

The room was jam-packed with people (as you can see in the images here), and the panel was equally jam-packed with dense theoretical discussions of post-cinema. These videos are meant to compensate for the limited space and the limited time (and cognitive capacity) to process these thinkers’ ideas on the spot, preserving and opening their presentations to a wider audience.

This, the shortest of the videos, contains my introductory remarks outlining my overall rationale for organizing the panel.

Stay tuned for videos of talks by Steven Shaviro, Patricia Pisters, Adrian Ivakhiv, and Mark B. N. Hansen, which will be appearing here in the coming weeks (if you like, you can subscribe to the blog to make sure you don’t miss them; see the link on the upper right-hand side of the screen). In the meantime, you can read their abstracts here:

Steven Shaviro, “Reversible Flesh”

Patricia Pisters, “The Filmmaker as Metallurgist: Post-Cinema’s Commitment to Radical Contingency”

Adrian Ivakhiv, “Speculative Ecologies of (Post-)Cinema”

Mark B. N. Hansen, “Speculative Protention, or, Are 21st Century Media Agents of Futurity?”

Finally, you can look forward to contributions by all four speakers (and many more as well) to the open-access collection Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film, which I am currently co-editing with Julia Leyda for REFRAME Books (and which will be coming out later this year).

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#SCMS15 — Post-Cinema, Digital Seriality, and a Book Giveaway!

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Only two weeks until the 2015 Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference (March 25-29 in Montreal)! In case you haven’t seen it already, the official program is now up here (warning: opens as a PDF).

As I have posted before, I will be participating in two panels this year:

First, I will be serving as chair on the “Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory” panel (Session K7: Friday, March 27, 9:00 – 10:45am), for which I feel extremely lucky to have secured an all-star lineup of panelists: Steven Shaviro, Patricia Pisters, Adrian Ivakhiv, and Mark B. N. Hansen (click on each name to read the panelists’ abstracts). I also feel very honored that the Media and the Environment Special Interest Group has chosen this panel for official sponsorship!

Second, I will be co-presenting a paper on “Hardware Seriality” with my colleague Andreas Jahn-Sudmann in the “Digital Seriality” panel (Session Q20: Saturday, March 28, 3:00 – 4:45pm). Other panelists include Scott Higgins and Dominik Maeder (click for their abstracts). (Unfortunately, Daniela Wentz will not be able to attend the conference.)

Finally, just for fun: A BOOK GIVEAWAY! The first person to ask me (in person, during the conference) about my book Postnaturalism: Frankenstein, Film, and the Anthropotechnical Interface (excerpt here) will get a free copy! So be on the lookout!

SCMS 2015 Preliminary Schedule Online — #SCMS15

montreat2015

The preliminary schedule for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies 2015 conference in Montreal is now online (here). As I posted recently, I will be involved in two separate panels:

First, I will be chairing the panel on “Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory” (panel K7, Friday, March 27, 2015, 9:00-10:45am) — with presenters Steven Shaviro, Patricia Pisters, Adrian Ivakhiv, and Mark B. N. Hansen. You can find the complete panel description, as well as individual abstracts, here. Note also that all participants on this panel are contributors to the forthcoming Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film, which I am co-editing with Julia Leyda.

Second, I will be participating in a panel on “Digital Seriality” (panel Q20, Saturday, March 28, 2015, 3:00-4:45pm) — along with Andreas Jahn-Sudmann, Scott Higgins, Dominik Maeder, and Daniela Wentz. Panel description and abstracts can be found here. And, as with the other panel, this one too has a tie-in with a publication: all the participants on this panel were contributors to the special issue of Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture that Andreas Jahn-Sudmann and I edited on the topic of “Digital Seriality.”

“Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory” — Panel at #SCMS15 in Montreal

post-cinema-glitch

[UPDATE: Full video of the complete panel is now online: here.]

At the upcoming conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (March 25-29, 2015 in Montréal), I will be chairing a panel on “Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory,” which brings together four of the most significant voices in the ongoing attempt to theorize our current media situation: Steven Shaviro, Patricia Pisters, Adrian Ivakhiv, and Mark B. N. Hansen.

(Not quite incidentally, all four speakers are also contributors to the forthcoming volume Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film, which I am co-editing with Julia Leyda.)

Here is the panel description, along with links (below) to the abstracts for the various papers:

Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory

Following debates over “the end” of film and/or cinema in the wake of the massive digitalization of moving-image media, recent film theory has begun considering the emergence of a new, properly “post-cinematic” media regime (cf. Shaviro 2010; Denson and Leyda, forthcoming). The notion of post-cinema takes up the problematic prefix “post-,” which debates over postmodernism and postmodernity taught us to treat not as a marker of definitive beginnings and ends, but as indicative of a more subtle shift or transformation in the realm of culturally dominant aesthetic and experiential forms (cf. Jameson 1991). In the context of post-cinema, this suggests not so much a clear-cut break with traditional media forms but a transitional movement taking place along an uncertain timeline, following an indeterminate trajectory, and characterized by juxtapositions and overlaps between the techniques, technologies, and aesthetic conventions of “old” and “new” moving-image media.

The ambiguous temporality of the “post-,” which intimates a feeling both of being “after” something and of being “in the middle of” uncertain changes – hence speaking to the closure of a certain past as much as a radical opening of futurity – necessitates a speculative form of thinking that is tuned to experiences of contingency and limited knowledge. With respect to twenty-first century media, theories of post-cinema inherit this disposition, relating it to concrete media transformations while speculating more broadly about the effects they might have on us, our cognitive and aesthetic sensibilities, our agency, or our sense of history.

Bringing together several key figures in the theoretical discussions of post-cinema, this panel seeks to explore and expand this speculative dimension. Steven Shaviro looks at a recent FKA twigs music video as an encapsulation of the post-cinematic media regime at large, theorizing the speculative theoretical work done by the video itself. Patricia Pisters argues that post-cinematic appropriations of archival materials lead to a necessarily speculative revision of history. Adrian Ivakhiv brings the discussion into contact with pressing issues of ecological change. Finally, Mark B. N. Hansen offers a media-philosophical perspective on post-cinema as a future-oriented mode of experience. Together, these interventions articulate post-cinema’s media-technical, aesthetic, ecological, and philosophical vectors in order to develop an emphatically speculative media theory.

Bibliography:

Denson, Shane, and Julia Leyda. Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film. Sussex: REFRAME Books, forthcoming.

Jameson, Fredric. Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke UP, 1991.

Shaviro, Steven. Post-Cinematic Affect. Winchester: Zero Books, 2010.

Chair Bio:

Shane Denson is a DAAD postdoctoral fellow at Duke University and a member of the research unit “Popular Seriality—Aesthetics and Practice.” He is the author of Postnaturalism: Frankenstein, Film, and the Anthropotechnical Interface (Transcript 2014) and co-editor of several collections: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives (Bloomsbury, 2013), Digital Seriality (special issue of Eludamos, forthcoming), and Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st Century Film (REFRAME, forthcoming).

Finally, here are links to the individual abstracts:

Steven Shaviro, “Reversible Flesh”

Patricia Pisters, “The Filmmaker as Metallurgist: Post-Cinema’s Commitment to Radical Contingency”

Adrian Ivakhiv, “Speculative Ecologies of (Post-)Cinema”

Mark B. N. Hansen, “Speculative Protention, or, Are 21st Century Media Agents of Futurity?”

[UPDATE: Full video of the complete panel is now online: here.]

“Digital Seriality” — Panel at #SCMS15 in Montreal

giphy-digital-seriality

At the upcoming conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (March 25-29, 2015 in Montréal), I will be participating in a panel on “Digital Seriality,” co-chaired by Andreas Jahn-Sudmann and Scott Higgins, along with Dominik Maeder and Daniela Wentz.

Here is our panel description, along with links (below) to the abstracts for the various papers:

Digital Seriality

Seriality and the digital are key concepts for an understanding of many current forms, texts, and technologies of media, and they are implicated in much broader media-historical trajectories as well. Beyond the forms and functions of specific cultural artifacts, they are central to our global media ecology. Surprisingly, though, relatively few attempts have been made at thinking the digital and the serial together, as intimately connected perspectives on media. This is precisely the task of the present panel. On the one hand, the papers interrogate the serial conditions, forms, and effects of digital culture; on the other hand, they question the role of the digital as technocultural embodiment, determinant, or matrix for serialized media aesthetics and practices. The panel thus brings together heretofore isolated perspectives from studies of new media culture (cf. Manovich 2001, Jenkins 2006) and emerging scholarship on seriality (cf. Kelleter 2012, Allen and van den Berg 2014).

Seriality and digitality are understood here in terms not only of their narrative/representational manifestations but also their technical-operational impacts on our media environments. Accordingly, Shane Denson and Andreas Jahn-Sudmann’s paper looks to the case of the Xbox One in order to show how computational platforms affect the serial forms and practices emerging within, among, and around digital games (“intra-,” “inter-,” and “para-ludic” serialities; cf. Denson and Jahn-Sudmann 2013), but also how these platforms inscribe themselves – as a serialized factor in their own right – into the parameters of computational expression. Whereas video games serve here to highlight the differences between digital and pre-digital serial forms, Dominik Maeder approaches things from the opposite direction, arguing that the interfaces of Netflix, Hulu, and other digital streaming services embody a form of spatio-temporal serialization that, already anticipated by TV series, is closely related to (pre-digital) televisual seriality. As a complementary perspective, Daniela Wentz’s paper shows how certain TV series anticipate their own digital afterlives in the form of fan-made gifs and memes. Finally, Scott Higgins provides an “archeological” perspective, exploring the ludic dimensions of the operational aesthetic, which anticipates computer games in pre-digital forms, thus offering a fruitful case for rethinking digital seriality from a media-comparative perspective.

Bibliography

Allen, Robert, and Thijs van den Berg, eds. Serialization in Popular Culture. London: Routledge, 2014.

Denson, Shane, and Andreas Jahn-Sudmann. “Digital Seriality: On the Serial Aesthetics and Practice of Digital Games.” Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture 7.1 (2013): 1-32.

Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York UP, 2006.

Kelleter, Frank, ed. Populäre Serialität: Narration – Evolution – Distinktion. Zum seriellen Erzählen seit dem 19. Jahrhundert. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2012.

Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. Cambridge, MIT, 2001.

Finally, here are links to the individual abstracts:

Shane Denson and Andreas Jahn-Sudmann, “The Xbox One as Serial Hardware: A Technocultural Approach to the Seriality of Computational Platforms”

Dominik Maeder, “Serial Interfaces: Publishing and Programming Television on Digital Platforms”

Daniela Wentz, “The Infinite Gesture: The Serial Culture of the Gif”

Scott Higgins, “Ludic Operations: Play and the Serial Action Sequence”