Adorno on TV


On January 16, 2013, the Film & TV Reading Group will meet (at 4 pm in room 613, Conti-Hochhaus) to discuss “Prolog zum Fernsehen” [Prologue to TV] by Theodor W. Adorno (pp. 507 – 517 in Adorno’s Gesammelte Schriften, Band 10.2: Kulturkritik und Gesellschaft II — Eingriffe, Stichworte, Anhang). Felix Brinker will moderate the discussion. As always, all are welcome to join us! (Feel free to contact me for more info — email address can be found on the “About” page.)

Campus-Cultur Prize Awarded to Film & TV Reading Group / Initiative for Interdisciplinary Media Research


I am pleased to announce that this year’s Campus-Cultur Prize has been awarded to the Film & TV Reading Group and the student members of the Initiative for Interdisciplinary Media Research!

The award recognizes students’ active participation, initiative, and creativity in curricular and extracurricular contexts. The prize is awarded annually by CampusCultur, an association dedicated to promoting the cultural life of the humanities and social sciences at the Leibniz University of Hannover.

The Film & TV Reading Group offers interested students from all disciplines the opportunity to engage with key texts on film, television, and media theory. In conjunction with the film series, lectures, and other activities of the Initiative for Interdisciplinary Media Research, it offers students and instructors a space in which to discuss relevant media phenomena and media-theoretical issues.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who helped make this possible, particularly to the student members of the reading group and media initiative!

Film & TV Reading Group: Baudrillard, The Ecstasy of Communication


On December 5, 2013, the Film & TV Reading Group will meet (at 4 pm in room 613, Conti-Hochhaus) to discuss “The Ecstasy of Communication” by Jean Baudrillard (pp. 126 – 134 in The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, ed. Hal Foster). Julia Schmedes will moderate the discussion. As always, all are welcome to join us! (Feel free to contact me for more info — email address can be found on the “About” page.)

Walter Benjamin & the Wizard of Oz

Tomorrow (November 14, 2012), there are two events at the University of Hannover that might be of interest to readers of the blog.

First up, there’s the first meeting this semester of the Film & TV Reading Group (see the flyer here), where we’ll be discussing Walter Benjamin’s famous Artwork essay. We’ll meet from 4 to 6 pm in room 613 (Conti-Hochhaus). The reading group always welcomes new participants, so please spread the word to anyone who might be interested in joining us!

Second, and immediately following the reading group, Frank Kelleter will be giving a talk entitled “Massenkultur, Serienkultur, Populärkultur am Beispiel des Wonderful Wizard of Oz und seiner Variationen” [roughly: Mass Culture, Serial Culture, Popular Culture, with Reference to the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its Variations]. The talk, from 6 to 8 pm in room 103 (Conti-Hochhaus), will take place in the context of the seminar “Massenkultur: Unterhaltung, Konsum, Medialität” [Mass Culture: Entertainment, Consumption, Mediality], which is being jointly taught by Ruth Mayer and Michael Gamper. Frank Kelleter is professor of American studies in Göttingen and the speaker for the DFG Research Group “Popular Seriality — Aesthetics and Practice” (in which Ruth Mayer and I are collaborating on the project “Serial Figures and Media Change”). He has recently published a chapter entitled “‘Toto, I Think We’re in Oz Again’ (and Again and Again): Remakes and Popular Seriality” in Film Remakes, Adaptations and Fan Productions: Remake / Remodel, edited by Kathleen Loock and Constantine Verevis.

Film & TV Reading Group (Winter 2012/13)

(Click on the image for a larger view)

As indicated on the flyer above, the Film & TV Reading Group will have its first meeting of the semester on Wednesday, November 14 (4:00 pm in room 613, Conti-Hochaus), where we will discuss Walter Benjamin’s famous “Artwork” essay. The topics for the following meetings have not been determined yet, so if there is anything you would like to discuss, please let me know. Tentatively, the following dates have also been reserved: December 5 and January 16 (also 4:00 – 6:00 pm in room 613). New participants are always welcome!

Steven Shaviro on “Post-Continuity”: Film & TV Reading Group

Tomorrow (Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 6:00 pm in room 615 of the Conti-Hochhaus), the Film & TV Reading Group will meet to discuss Steven Shaviro’s take on the “chaos cinema” debates (and his alternative idea of “post-continuity”). Felix Brinker will be moderating the discussion, which will center around a recent talk by Shaviro on the topic (which can be found on his blog, here:

As usual, everyone is welcome to join us!

Mark B.N. Hansen on Media as Environment (for Life)

Delimination of Life: Mark B. Hansen (us) about his new work on subjectivity and experience in the wake of contemporary media from transmediale on Vimeo.

On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, the Film & TV Reading Group will meet at 6:00 pm in room 615 (Conti-Hochhaus) to discuss Mark Hansen’s article “Media Theory,” (from Theory, Culture & Society 23.2-3 (2006): 297-306). In this piece, Hansen importantly rethinks media beyond their apparatic, empirical determinations (devices, machines, storage media, etc.), instead conceiving media as “the environment for life.” The argument behind this approach is outlined in the paper’s abstract:

Poised on the cusp between phenomenology and materiality, media institute a theoretical oscillation that promises to displace the empirical-transcendental divide that has structured western meditation on thinking, including the thinking of technics. Because media give the infrastructure conditioning thought without ceasing to be empirical (i.e. without functioning as a transcendental condition), they form the basis for a complex hermeneutics that cannot avoid the task of accounting for its unthematizable infrastructural condition. Tracing the oscillation constitutive of such a hermeneutics as it serves variously to constitute media theory in the work of critics from McLuhan to Kittler, from Leroi-Gourhan to Stiegler, my interrogation ultimately conceptualizes the medium as an environment for life: by giving concrete form to ‘epiphylogenesis’ (the exteriorization of human evolution), concrete media find their most ‘originary’ function not as artifacts but via their participation in human technogenesis (our co-evolution with technics).

Hansen’s reconceptualization of media has been a key point of reference in my own attempts to theorize the ecology of “postnaturalism,” which turns on the notion of a constantly evolving “anthropotechnical interface.” One of the things that I tried to do in my engagement with Hansen’s thought was to expand it and to push the notion of media as environment beyond the qualification “for life,” arguing that media constitute the environment for agency in a broader sense, both living and non-living. One could say, in fact, that this is equivalent to saying that media constitute the environment period. And, interestingly, in the video above (from the transmediale 2011), we find Hansen working towards precisely this type of expanded approach: a non-anthropocentric, non-biocentric, positively cosmological notion of media.