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Projects

Understanding Media Studies Lecture Series: 2017

I organized the New School’s School of Media Studies’ Monday Night Lecture Series

March 6: Documentary and Difference

Genevieve Yue is an assistant professor of culture and media at Eugene Lang College, and co-editor of Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture. Her writing has appeared in October, Grey Room, Film Comment, and Film Quarterly. She is currently completing a book on feminism, materiality, and film theory.

Ephraim Asili is an African American Artist, Filmmaker, and Deejay. One of the points of focus in Asili’s work is the African Diaspora as a cultural force. His work often weaves together the near and the far as a way of revealing linkages across history and geography. Thus far Asili’s work has been filmed in locations including  Ghana, Brazil, Jamaica, and Ethiopia as well as in Philadelphia, Harlem, and Detroit. His films have screened in festivals and venues all over the world, including the New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Milano Film Festival, Trinidad and Tobago International Film Festival, MOMA PS1, LAMOCA, and The Boston Museum of Fine Art.

March 27: Power Plays With Data

Zara Rahman is a researcher, writer, and linguist who is interested in the intersection of power, culture and technology. She has travelled and worked in over twenty-five countries in the field of information accessibility and data use among civil society. She was the first employee at OpenOil, looking into open data in the extractive industries, then worked for Open Knowledge, working with School of Data on data literacy for journalists and civil society. Now, she is a fellow at Data & Society Research Institute in New York City, and Research Lead at The Engine Room where she leads their Responsible Data Program, looking into the practical and ethical challenges around using data in social change and activism.

Mimi Onuoha is a Brooklyn-based artist and researcher using code and writing to explore the process, results, and implications of data collection. Recently she has been in residence at Data & Society Research Institute and the Royal College of Art. Onuoha has spoken at and exhibited at events internationally, and in 2014 was selected to be in the inaugural class of Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellows. Currently she teaches at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and is a Research Resident at Eyebeam, where she is programmatically and interpersonally investigating data collection, missing datasets, and strategies for intervention and response.

April 17: Media and Thermodynamics

Tega Brain is an artist making eccentric engineering, work that intersects art, ecology & engineering. Eccentric engineering reimagines technologies to address their scope and politics, with a focus on externalities and unintended consequences. She has exhibited at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, the Science Gallery Dublin, Eyebeam in New York City and the Australian Centre for Design, Sydney. Tega is a fellow at Data & Society NYC and is an Assistant Professor of New Media at SUNY Purchase.

Nicole Starosielski is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. She is author of The Undersea Network (2015), which charts the development of transoceanic cable systems, beginning with the nineteenth century telegraph network and extending to today‚Äôs fiber-optic infrastructure. She is also co-editor of Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructure (2015),¬†Sustainable Media: Critical Approaches to Media and Environment (2016), and the ‚ÄúElements‚ÄĚ book series at Duke University Press. Her current project, Media Hot and Cold, traces the relationship between media technologies, embodied perception, and thermal conditions.

April 24: Expanding Soundscape: Experiments in Field Recording

Kevin T. Allen is a filmmaker and sound artist who makes ethnographically imbued ‚Äúsound-films‚ÄĚ in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, the Wild West, and the migrant farm worker community of Immokalee, Florida. Recent research leads him to find culture not exclusively in human forms, but also inherent within physical landscapes and material objects. His work is featured internationally at museums and festivals and is funded through the Jerome Foundation. He is a part-time assistant professor of sound and filmmaking at The New School.

Maile Colbert is an intermedia artist and educator with a concentration on sound and video. She holds a BFA in The Studio for Interrelated Media from Massachusetts College of Art, an MFA in Integrated Media/Film and Video from the California Institute of the Arts, and is currently a Research Fellow towards a PhD in the Estudos Artísticos program in the College of Social and Human Sciences at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. She has had multiple screenings and exhibits, and has performed and screened widely in Japan, Europe, Mexico, and the States.

May 1: Everyday Forms of Innovation: Africa Contemporary

Sean Jacobs is on the international affairs faculty of The New School. A native of Cape Town, South Africa, he studied there, at Northwestern University and the University of London. He has held fellowships at The New School, Harvard University and NYU. His writings on African politics, reality television, the internet and soccer, have appeared in/on The New York Times, Jacobin, The Guardian, Volkskrant and Chimurenga Chronic.

Clapperton Mavhunga is an associate professor of science, technology, and society at MIT. His professional interests lie in the history, theory, and practice of science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the international context, with a focus on Africa. He is the author of Transient Workspaces: Technologies of Everyday Innovation in Zimbabwe (MIT Press, 2014), and has just finished editing a volume entitled What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean from Africa? which explores STI in Africa from an archaeological, historical, philosophical, anthropological, STS, engineering, development, and policymaking perspective. Mavhunga‚Äôs second monograph‚ÄĒon tsetse fly as a site of African knowledge production‚ÄĒis finally finished after extensive further research and is expected late 2017 or early 2018.

Categories
Publications

The Archival Apparatus

‚ÄúThe Archival Apparatus,‚ÄĚ PROPS¬†18: The Disciplining Image¬†(Yale/MIT: August 2017) [pdf here]

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Classes

Archived Course: Archives, Libraries + Databases

Graduate seminar elective

“There has been more information produced in the last 30 years
than during the previous 5000.‚ÄĚ

We‚Äôve all heard some variation on this maxim. As U.S. publishers add 250,000 printed books and close to 300,000 print-on-demand books to our libraries each year; as we find ourselves wading through over 200 million websites; as we continue to add new media ‚Äď from Tweets to Apps to geo-tagged maps ‚Äď to our everyday media repertoires, we continually search for new ways to navigate this ever more treacherous sea of information. Throughout human history we have relied on various institutions and politico-intellectual architectures to organize, index, preserve, make sense of, and facilitate or control access to our stores of knowledge, our assemblages of media, our collections of information. This seminar looks at the past, present, and future of the library, the archive, and the database, and considers what logics, priorities, politics, audiences, contents, aesthetics, physical forms, etc., ally and differentiate these institutions. We will examine what roles the library, archive, and the database play in democracy, in education, in everyday life, and in art. Throughout the semester we‚Äôll examine myriad analog and digital artworks that make use of library/archival material, or take the library, archive, or database as their subject. Some classes will involve field trips and guest speakers. Students will have the option of completing at least one theoretically-informed creative/production project for the class.

I was invited to talk about our work in this course at the 2014 Digital Preservation conference at the Library of Congress (talk + slides here), on the LOC’s Signal blog, and at the 2015 New York Art Resources Consortium conference at the Museum of Modern Art (talk + slides here). Archivist Extraordinaire Rick Prelinger has also had some nice things to say about the course:

Fall 2014: Syllabus | Course Website

Fall 2013: Syllabus | Course Website | Recap of Semester + Student Projects

Fall 2012: Syllabus | Course Website | Recap of Semester + Student Projects

Spring 2011: Syllabus | Course Website | Recap of Semester + Student Projects

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Classes

Archived: Bookshelves to Big Data: Archaeologies of Knowledge

Graduate elective

‚ÄúThere has been more information produced in the last 30 years than during the previous 5000.‚ÄĚ

We‚Äôve¬†all¬†heard some variation on this¬†maxim. As we find ourselves wading through a billion websites; as publishers¬†supply over two million books to the world‚Äôs libraries each year; as we¬†continue to add new media ‚Äď from¬†apps to geo-tagged maps ‚Äď to our everyday¬†media repertoires, we continually search for new ways to navigate¬†this¬†ever more treacherous sea of information. Meanwhile, our analog audio-visual¬†archives are deteriorating,¬†and our ever-volatile digital media and data sets¬†present their own preservation challenges. Throughout human¬†history we¬†have relied on various institutions and politico-intellectual architectures to¬†organize, index, preserve,¬†make sense of, and facilitate or control access¬†to our stores of knowledge, our assemblages of media, our¬†collections of¬†information. This seminar looks at the past, present, and future of our¬†archives, libraries, and data¬†repositories, and considers what logics,¬†politics, audiences, contents, aesthetics, physical forms, etc., define them.¬†We will examine what roles these collections play in a variety of¬†contexts: in democracy, in education, in socio-cultural heritage, in everyday¬†life, and in art. Throughout the semester we‚Äôll examine myriad analog¬†and digital¬†artworks that make use of archival/library material, or take¬†the archive, library, or data repository as their¬†subject. Some classes¬†will involve field trips and guest speakers. Students will have the option of¬†completing a¬†substantial traditional research project, or a research-based,¬†theoretically-informed creative/production project¬†for the class.

Fall 2016 Website
See also Archives, Libraries & Databases (previous version of the course: 2011-2014)

Categories
Classes

Archived Course: Urban Media Archaeology

Graduate studio elective

Today‚Äôs city is layered with screens of all shapes and sizes and stitched¬†together with a web of wireless networks, but woven into these modern media spaces are¬†other, older urban media networks and infrastructures ‚Äď many of which have laid the¬†foundation for our newer media. This project-based course is dedicated to excavating and¬†mapping ‚Äď both theoretically and practically ‚Äď the layers of mediation that have shaped¬†urban forms and informed urban experiences through several key epochs in¬†communication history, from the oral culture of ancient Athens to the television age. Each¬†student, alone or in pairs, will conduct an urban media excavation ‚Äď exploring, for¬†example, how pneumatic tubes facilitated the delivery of mail in late-19th century New¬†York, how the rise of the film industry shaped early 20th-century Los Angeles, or how¬†television cables served as the nervous system of new mid-20th-century suburbs. Rather¬†than presenting this work as atomized individual projects, however, everyone will plot their¬†sites and networks, and post relevant archival media, to a collaboratively designed¬†interactive media map. Part of the class will be¬†devoted to designing the platform by analyzing which presentation format is best suited for¬†effectively displaying these layers of urban mediation and exploring the synergies¬†between individual students‚Äô projects. The class will lay historical and theoretical¬†groundwork for examining media and the urban environment, and also introduce students¬†to the fields of media archaeology and the digital humanities.¬† While students will¬†participate in the creation of interactive media maps, this hybrid course will have a strong¬†theory component.

Fall 2013: Syllabus | Course Website | Recap of Semester + Student Projects

Fall 2012: Syllabus | Course Website | Recap of Semester + Student Projects

Fall 2011: Syllabus | Course Website | Recap of Semester + Student Projects

Fall 2010: Syllabus | Student-Designed Syllabus for Final Eight Weeks | Course Website | Recap of Semester + Student Projects

Categories
Projects

Democratizing the Archives: 2012-2014

An Innovations in Education Fund-supported initiative to link archive-related projects across The New School, and to connect them to local archival resources and professionals. With Julia Foulkes and Claire Potter (co-PIs), Laura Auricchio, Ricardo Montez, and, from the NYPL, Thomas Lannon.

Categories
Publications

Preservation Aesthetics

‚ÄúPreservation Aesthetics: An Interview with Shannon Mattern‚ÄĚ (interviewed by Trevor Owens)¬†The Signal: Digital Preservation ‚ÄstA Library of Congress Blog (June 9, 2014).

Categories
Publications

Public In/Formation

‚ÄúPublic In/Formation,‚Ä̬†Places, November 2016 [on spatial data, map libraries + the role of librarians and archivsts in maintaining information commons in the age of Trump and data-driven development].

Categories
Presentations

Cartographic Archive (2015)

In November 2015 I guest-presented in Joseph Heathcott‚Äôs Archive/City class, which shares many interests with¬†my own¬†Archives/Libraries class¬†and my various map-related and urban-history-related classes. Joseph asked me to talk about archives and cartography, so I figured we‚Äôd address the relationship between those terms in seven variations:¬†archives of maps;¬†the ‚Äúarchive‚ÄĚ of cartographic epistemology, or how the Foucauldian ‚Äúarchive‚ÄĚ that maps embody has evolved over the centuries;¬†carto-archival art;¬†how history is ‚Äúmapped‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúarchived‚ÄĚ on maps themselves (or, maps as material objects that trace the passing of time);¬†the use of maps to archive ‚ÄĒ or as a substrate for archival arrangement;¬†curating and mapping archived data not to trace history, but for purposes of prediction; and¬†using maps as forensic tools. You can find my notes and links¬†here.

Categories
Presentations

The Vitality of the Archives (2015)

In September 2015 I headed¬†to Warsaw to take part in the NiNA Beta Festival, celebrating the opening of the new Polish¬†National Audiovisual Institute. I¬†was¬†joined by¬†Lev Manovich and Jesse de Vos, of the¬†Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision¬†(about which I wrote¬†a few years ago!), in an opening-day¬†panel on ‚ÄúThe Vitality of Archives.‚ÄĚ

Contrary to popular opinion, archives are not merely dusty, passive repositories of characters. They are characterized by ‚Äúvitality‚ÄĚ, a potential to influence contemporary life. ‚ÄúThe Archive‚ÄĚ in our view is a process rather than a place, and as much a vessel of our past as a shaper of our future.¬†It is a thoroughly material process: human cravings and endeavors find the archive brimming with allies and obstacles in the shape of shelves, drawers, and servers; files, folders, and vials; algorithms, lists, and fiches; chairs, tables, and screens.¬†Therefore, we will begin the conversation about the properties and capabilities of an archive as a cultural form ‚Äď as one should, in the new seat of an institution devoted to digitization and archiving ‚Äď with the problems of arranging, outfitting, and furnishing contemporary audiovisual archives.¬†How does the shifting material organization of content determine the forms of ‚Äúthe vitality of archives‚ÄĚ? What is the policy of carriers and formats? Towards what does the material aspect of contemporary archive nudge us, and what does it prevent us from doing? These are the questions that Lev Manovich, Shannon Mattern, and Jesse de Vos will attempt to answer. The discussion will be moderated by Mateusz Halawa.