I Organized a Speaker Series. Hope You Like It.


So this is how I’ve spent a huge portion of the past eight months of my life: organizing the School of Media Studies’s 2014-15 Lecture Series. Here’s more info — including bios, abstracts, and additional resources, for each Monday event. All events are free and open to the public; you should totally come!

The weekly series was a new undertaking for this year, so I had to figure out a whole bunch of logistics and build an infrastructure that will make it easier for my successors to take on the challenge in years to come. All the little moving parts — Holy Mary, Mother of God!

Speaking of saints, I also have to acknowledge the wonderful folks who helped me: Dale MacDonald and Rosalie McManis and our A/V team are overseeing the weekly live-streaming (Dale also put me in contact with the Major League Baseball folks), Tracy Varites helped with honorarium and rights-clearance paperwork, Liana Bailey is helping with publicity, Chad Phillips is creating our awesome posters, and our Dean, Anne Balsamo, offered funding and moral support. I’m also teaching a class that’s built around the lecture series; Ari Spool helped build our course website (with some support from Dale), Sherbano Javeri is handling the weekly video-recording, and Lauren Gary is helping me to corral all the students.

I’m super-excited to announce our line-up for the spring [pdf here; more info here]:

  • February 9: Garnet Hertz, Canada Research Chair in Design and Media Arts, Emily Carr University of Art + Design: “Critical Making: Foundations and Processes of Critically Engaged Design Practice”
  • February 23: Dragan Espenschied, Digital Conservator, Media Artist, Home Computer Folk Musician: “Understanding the Creation of Artifacts of Digital Culture” and  Ben Vershbow, Director, New York Public Library Labs: “Time Machines, Community Gardens, and Other Metaphors for Libraries” 
  • March 2: Jeanne Liotta, Artist and Filmmaker, University of Colorado Boulder Film Studies and the Bard MFA Program: “The Real World at Last Becomes a Myth: Ruminations on Art and Science” 
  • March 9: Brian Larkin, Barnard College, Columbia University: “Techniques of Inattention: Religion and the Mediality of Loudspeakers in Nigeria”
  • March 16: Joe Inzerillo, Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, MLB (Major League Baseball) Advanced Media: “Mathematical Interplay of Accelerated Bodies: Or, How I Learned Not to Slide Into First Base”
  • March 30: Laura Kurgan, Associate Professor of Architecture; Director, Spatial Information Design Lab, Columbia University: “Seeing Through Data” 
  • April 6: Chi-hui Yang, Film Curator: “Curating Media: Idea Combustion as Knowledge Production”
  • April 13: Melissa Gregg, Principal Engineer, Intel Corporation: “This Productive Life” 
  • April 20: Stephanie Boluk, Assistant Professor, Pratt Institute: “Welcome to Flatland: Money, Metagames, and Valve’s Digital Economy”
  • April 27: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Artist, PhD Candidate and Lecturer, Forensic Audio Investigator: “Aural Contract : The Voice Before the Law” (Co-organized with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics)
  • May 4: Jim Paradis, Robert M. Metcalfe Professor of Writing and Comparative Media Studies, MIT; Visiting Researcher, The New School: “Reflections on the Cultural History of Surveillance”
  • May 11: Nick Montfort, Associate Professor of Digital Media, MIT; Visiting Researcher and Part-Time Lecturer, The New School: “Computer Programming for Developing a Better Society” 


We had an equally great roster for the fall. There were a few fewer lecturers because we also hosted a number of panel discussions — on “creative methods,” modes of publicizing one’s work, and career trajectories — with alums and advanced students. Our fall guests included:

  • Mary Flanagan, Artist, Writer, Game Designer + Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities @ Dartmouth College: “Changing the World Through Values at Play”
  • Caitlin Burns, Transmedia Producer: “Lessons from the Story Business”
  • Susa Pop, Managing Director, Public Art Lab, Berlin: “Urban Screens as Community Platforms”
  • Mary Wareham and Jody Williams, with Peter Asaro: “Media Advocacy for Humanitarian Disarmament: From Landmines to Killer Robots”
  • Benjamen Walker, Host, Public Radio Exchange’s “Theory of Everything”: “A Resounding Theory of Everything”
  • Jill Godmilow, Independent Filmmaker, Emeritus Professor @ University of Notre Dame: “Staying Out of the Torture Room: The Post-Realist Documentary” (with Deirdre Boyle)
  • Andrew Uroskie, Associate Professor of Modern Art History and Criticism, SUNY Stony Brook: “Selma Last Year (1966): Site-Specificity and the Origins of Expanded Cinema”
  • Anne Balsamo, Dean, School of Media Studies: “Digital Memorials and Media Art Activism: Designing Digital Experiences for the AIDS Memorial Quilt”

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