Welcome to the Seminar

Welcome to the seminar, and welcome to our course website. I love leading this seminar and am looking forward to the weeks ahead, where we will have the opportunity to engage with ‘critical terms’ for understanding media and for critical engagement with critical algorithm studies, new media art and art histories.

I envision this as a seminar that places similar emphases on 1) learning about and discussing media theory, through the lens of Mitchell and Hansen’s Critical Terms for New Media Studies (2010); and 2) exploring computational art history and the conceptual frameworks it has advanced by looking at examples of new media art, using Shanken’s Art and Electronic Media (2010) as a guide; and 3) takes up an interest in ‘critical algorithm studies’, which demonstrates the political, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of the algorithm as it has become embedded in our technoanthropological universe.

This website is a central element of the seminar. I expect that each week you will write a short discussion post that reflects on the week’s readings in relation to an artwork, or a contemporary event or issue. This should  be posted in advance of the seminar to allow for the class to read and comment on it, and for that discussion to continue in class. Please send me the email address that you would like to use for me to add you as a user of the website. Please also let me know if you need assistance navigating wordpress.

The image above is from Masaki Fujihata’s Morel’s Panorama (2003), is a real-time video panorama that references 19th Century landscape painting and the panopticon, making the viewer immersed in, but never central to the work. A more recent work, Landing Home in Geneva (2005), explores trans-geographic and trans-linguistic experiences of people who have moved to Geneva, Switzerland. Mitchell and Hansen (Critical Terms for New Media Studies, 2010) describe how, using technologies such as digital camcorder, a panoramic lens, and GPS technology, Fujihata shows us how “in the midst of a rapidly accelerating surveillance society, we can use the newfound technical precision of space-time mapping as a rich and poignant means of asserting our own existential uniqueness” (2010: 112). That an art work can do so much is truly remarkable–but this is what we are here to explore and even emulate. Like the dynamic panorama of Fuijihata’s Landing Home, which both places and displaces the viewer at its centre, I hope that each one of use can find our own unique way of expressing the ideas we encounter.

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