On Tuesday, May 15th, we’ll have our fourth and final Digital Aesthetics Workshop of the Spring quarter, “The Nostalgia of Virtual Reality” with Matthew Wilson Smith, at 4 PM in the Stanford Humanities Center Board Room. In this workshop, we will discuss the degree to which emergent technologies of virtual reality are indebted to longstanding concepts of presence and disembodied consciousness.
Matthew Wilson Smith is an Associate Professor of German Studies and Theatre and Performance Studies at Stanford University. His interests include modern theatre; modernism and media; and relations between technology, science, and the arts. His book The Nervous Stage: 19th-century Neuroscience and the Birth of Modern Theatreexplores historical intersections between the performing arts and the neurological sciences and traces the construction of a “neural subject” over the course of the nineteenth century. It was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. His previous book, The Total Work of Art: From Bayreuth to Cyberspace (Routledge, 2007), presents a history and theory of modern artistic synthesis, placing such diverse figures as Wagner, Moholy-Nagy, Brecht, Riefenstahl, Disney, Warhol, and contemporary cyber-artists within a genealogy of totalizing performance.
On April 24, 2018 (4-6pm in the Stanford Humanities Center Board Room), Jonathan Sterne will be speaking at the Digital Aesthetics Workshop. The title of his talk is: “Machine Learning, ‘AI,’ and the Politics of Media Aesthetics: Why Online Music Mastering (Sort of) Works.”
Jonathan Sterne is Professor and James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology in the Department of Art History & Communication Studies at McGill University. His work is concerned with the cultural dimensions of communication technologies, especially their form and role in large-scale societies. One of his major ongoing projects has involved developing the history and theory of sound in the modern west. Beyond the work on sound and music, he has published over fifty articles and book chapters that cover a wide range of topics in media history, new media, cultural theory and disability studies. He has also written on the politics of academic labor and maintains an interest in the future of the university. His new projects consider instruments and instrumentalities; histories of signal processing; and the intersections of disability, technology and perception.
On Tuesday, April 10 (4-6pm in the Board Room of the Stanford Humanities Center), Elizabeth Kessler (Stanford, American Studies) will deliver a talk, titled “Psychedelic Space and Anachronic Time: Photography and the Voyager’s Tour of the Solar System,” in the context of the Digital Aesthetics Workshop.
Elizabeth Kessler’s research and teaching focus on 20th and 21st century American visual culture. Her diverse interests include: the role of aesthetics, visual culture, and media in modern and contemporary science, especially astronomy; the interchange between technology and ways of seeing and representing; the history of photography; and the representation of fashion in different media. Her first book, Picturing the Cosmos: Hubble Space Telescope Images and the Astronomical Sublime, on the aesthetics of deep space images, was published in 2012. She’s currently writing on book on extraterrestrial time capsules, as well as developing a new project on fashion photography.
On Tuesday, April 3, 2018 (4:00-6:00pm), I will be giving a talk titled “Discorrelated Images” in the context of the Digital Aesthetics Workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center. The talk draws on my current book project of the same title and will address primarily temporal and affective relations and transformations occasioned by digital images.
On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, media maker/scholar Allison de Fren will be discussing post-cinema and videographic criticism with the Digital Aesthetics Workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center, focusing on her video essay “WTF IS THAT? The Pre- and Post-Cinematic Tendencies of Paranormal Activity” and Steven Shaviro’s article “The Glitch Dimension: Paranormal Activity and the Technologies of Vision.”
This event follows a screening of de Fren’s documentary and videographic work on fembots the night before (more details here).
I am pleased to announce the first event in the new Digital Aesthetics Workshop at the Stanford Humanities Center. On Tuesday, October 10, Mark B. N. Hansen (Duke University) will be speaking on the topic of “The Ontology of Media Operations, or, Where is the Technics in Cultural Techniques?”
Future workshops will welcome Claus Pias, Allison de Fren, Bonnie Ruberg, Jacob Gaboury, Jonathan Sterne, and more. Stay tuned!