Media Theory for the 21st Century


Week 1 (January 8): Introductions

Week 2 (January 15): What have been New Media?

  • Selections from The New Media Reader (Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, Norbert Wiener, J.C.R. Licklider, Douglas Engelbart, Roy Ascott, Theodor Nelson [#s 11, 21, 30], Alan Kay & Adele Goldberg)
  • Adalaide Morris, introduction to New Media Poetics [ERES*]
  • Watch: Doug Engelbart SRI presentation (1968)
  • Context for discussion: Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, Remediation: Understanding New Media (1999); Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media (2001); N. Katherine Hayles, Writing Machines (2002)

Week 3 (January 22): Writing Systems

  • Friedrich Kittler, “Gramophone, Film, Typewriter”; “The World of the Symbolic”; “Protected Mode”; and “There Is No Software,” Literature, Media, Information Systems
  • Kittler, Discourse Networks 1800/1900 (pp. xii-xviii, 206-229, 369-372) [intro linked as pdf; latter pages on ERES]
  • Recommended: Geoffrey Winthrop-Young and Nicholas Gane, “Friedrich Kittler: An Introduction,” Theory, Culture & Society 23: 7-8 (2006): 5-16.

Week 4 (January 29): Code

Week 5 (February 5): Distraction (attention & perception)

  • Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
  • Wolfgang Schivelbusch, The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century (“Panoramic Travel”) [ERES]
  • Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture (pp. 11-51, 77-78) [ERES]
  • Talan Memmott, Lexia to Perplexia
  • Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, “Rain on the Sea
  • Recommended: Sue Currell, “Streamlining the Eye: Speed Reading and the Revolution of Words, 1870-1940” and Charles Acland, “The Swift View: Tachistoscopes and the Residual Modern,” in Residual Media [ERES]

Week 6 (February 12): Embodiment

  • Michele White, The Body and the Screen: Theories of Internet Spectatorship (introduction & afterword) [ERES]
  • N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman (“Virtual Bodies and Flickering Signifiers”) [ERES]
  • Mark Hansen, New Philosophy for New Media (Chapter 1) [ERES]
  • Recommended: Myron Krueger, “Responsive Environments,” The New Media Reader; “Makeover: Writing the Body into the Posthuman Technoscape” (special issue of Configurations); Bernadette Wegenstein, “The Medium is the Body,” Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory
  • Consider: Shelley Jackson, Patchwork Girl; interactive art installations, haptic interfaces

Week 7 (February 19): Narrative/Database

  • Victoria Vesna, ed., Database Aesthetics: Art in the Age of Information Overflow (selections include Vesna, Manovich, Paul, Dietz, Seaman, Daniel, Sack)
  • N. Katherine Hayles, “The Tempestuous Relationship of Narrative and Data” [ERES]
  • Artists and Data Projects: George Legrady, Pockets Full of Memories | Lynn Hershman-Leeson, “The Raw Data Diet” | Eduardo Kac, “Time Capsule

Week 8 (February 26): Media Ecologies

Week 9 (March 4): Socio-political Engagements

  • Nigel Thrift, Knowing Capitalism (pp. 93-111, 212-226) [ERES]
  • Alan Liu, The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (“The Idea of Knowledge Work”) [ERES]
  • Alex Galloway and Eugene Thacker, The Exploit: A Theory of Networks (pp. 25-35, 58-63) [ERES]
  • Browse: Lisa Autogena and Joshua Portway, Black Shoals: Stock Market Planetarium | John Klima, ecosystm (Vesna, ed.) | Nancy Paterson, Stock Market Skirt (Vesna, ed.)

Week 10 (March 11): Media Spaces (pervasive computing, locative & mobile media)

* ERES = electronic reserve

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