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2135 SSMS Building

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SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
8058932347

Past Events

November 2018

Media Hot and Cold

Friday, November 16, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Nicole Sarosielski

All matter emits heat and is transformed by it. These are ubiquitous communications, heat-signals often relayed without intentionality and registered without cognition. An attunement to such affective emissions is critical in the current moment, which is marked both by climate change and by intensifying forms of atmospheric communication, manipulation, and control. This talk articulates a media theory of heat that encompasses the cultural and ideological work of thermal technologies, the thermoceptive reproduction of racialized, gendered, sexualized forms of power, and the ways that the infrared spectrum…

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Rachael Ball, Tyler Morganstern

Graduate Student Colloquium

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 @ 11:00 pm - Thursday, November 29, 2018 @ 1:00 am
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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December 2018

Anthropocene Chemistry: Residual Media after Deepwater Horizon

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Anthropocene Chemistry: Residual Media After Deepwater Horizon

This talk develops a theory of the “fluid cut” based on the materiality of surfactants used to disperse oil during the Deepwater Horizon spill. Whereas photography theory tends to think of the “cut” as the click of a camera shutter that slices through moments in time, “fluid cuts” of surfactants like Corexit relate more to processes of diffusion in the medium of seawater. Through readings of photographic images by Daniel Beltrá and ads by the dish soap company Dawn, I…

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March 2019

Palestine in Black and White: Race, Media, and Transnational Solidarity

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Palestine in Black and White

In 2014, many in the United States were indulging in viral media campaigns like the Ice Bucket Challenge and the Hands Up, Don’t Shoot movement. Both eventually went global, even reaching the Middle East, and while some Israelis took part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, a number of Palestinians held up signs of solidarity with the Black protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. Both groups were constructing global racial imaginaries, and if the Israelis were making a claim to whiteness, the Palestinians…

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May 2019

Black Like Moi: Performing Race with Rouch & Cassavettes

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 @ 3:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
Black Like Moi: Performing Race with Rouche and Cassavettes

This paper analyzes interactions between blacks and whites depicted between 1957 and 1961 in Jean Rouch’s I, a Black Man, The Human Pyramide, and Chronicle of a Summer. It concludes with remarks on Shadows, a 1958-59 feature film by John Cassavetes often credited as a breakthrough in U.S. independent filmmaking. In so doing, I mean to explore what Rouch and Cassavetes were trying to accomplish through production practices that bordered on the experimental. Major topics to be raised include: (1)…

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June 2019

Wish List, Wonder Weapon or Web Series 4.0? – “Wishlist” as a New Type of German Web Series or Public Television’s (Vain) Attempt to Attract Younger Audiences

Monday, June 3, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
Wish List, Wonder Weapon or Web Series 4.0? - Prof. Dr. Markus Kuhn

Among the broad range of new players in the market for audiovisual content on the Internet, the German content-network funk has a special position. As it is run by Germany’s public broadcasters ARD and ZDF and, thus, financed by mandatory television license fees, the platform is, on the one hand, bound to rigid production guidelines. On the other hand, funk’s success is highly dependent on its ability to appeal to its target audience of young viewers and, therefore, its capacity…

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October 2019

Parallax Effects: Postwar Modernity and the Uncanny Optics of 3D Cinema

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Parallax Effects: Postwar Modernity and the Uncanny Optics of 3D Cinema

This paper argues that the uncanny optics of stereoscopic 3D cinema made it an ideal format for the Hollywood’s investigation of the culture and experience of technological modernity in the postwar era. Focusing on the 3D versions of House of Wax (André de Toth, 1953) and Dial M for Murder (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954), I analyze how the 3D format allowed filmmakers to exploit a range of “stereo-effects” in pursuit of an “aesthetic of dispossession” grounded in 3D’s ability to violate…

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November 2019

Zoological Surrealism: The Nonhuman Cinema of Jean Painlevé: An Argument in 21 Images – James Leo Cahill

Thursday, November 14, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Zoological Surrealism: The Nonhuman Cinema of Jean Painlevé: An Argument in 21 Images

Who was Jean Painlevé and what does a careful study of his short, surreal scientific and animal films offer to the way we approach film history and film theory? This talk answers these questions through a synoptic pass through my new book Zoological Surrealism (University of Minnesota Press, 2019) in 21 archival images. Through the bias of Painlevé's early oeuvre, I rethink the entangled histories of cinema, Surrealism, and contemporaneous scientific research, and the value of such a trans-contextual approach for the history and historiography of cinema. I also make a theoretical argument about photographic…

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November 2021

Film History and the Poetics of Dark Patrimony – Jennifer Wild

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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In a study of films from the 1930s belonging to what French filmmaker Jean Vigo called “social cinema,” this talk examines the concept of “dark patrimony” and some of its cinematic objects. Unlike traditional patrimonial objects, such as works of literature or art, those associated with dark patrimony do not bestow glory upon the French nation. They are nevertheless collected in museums, archives, and they also appear across French film history and arise visibly in Vigo’s classic work of Poetic…

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March 2022

Angels of Efficiency. A Media History of Consulting and Big Data – Florian Hoof, Leuphana University Lueneburg.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Angels of Efficiency

Corporate consulting, a one-time seemingly marvelous mixture of bare-knuckle rationalization, esoterica, and visionary futurism, is invariably deployed when business structures threaten to lose their equilibrium. What it actually means to be consulted, the part played by film and media in consulting, and how the branch of corporate consulting became a system of knowledge with such a socially important role is the object of this talk. It develops a new, interdisciplinary approach, situated between film, media and business history, media archeology,…

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April 2022

Love Technologies and its (Dis)Contents – Ania Malinowska, Centre for Critical Technology Studies, University of Silesia (Poland)

Wednesday, April 13, 2022 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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This talk outlines the conditions of loving in technoculture and explains the ways and manners of "practicing of togetherness" in high tech environments. It will show what technologies tell us about the way we love and critically rereads late modern paradigms of emotional and affective experiences, challenging the existing critical approaches to technological and technologized love. Ania Malinowska is an author, cultural theorist, and associate professor in media and cultural studies at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Silesia (Poland),…

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May 2022

Policing Blackness and Black Bodies: On Bert Williams’s A Natural Born Gambler (1916) – Althea Wasow, Institute of the Arts and Sciences, UC Santa Cruz

Wednesday, May 18, 2022 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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This talk explores the production of racial difference and the policing of black men in the US through A Natural Born Gambler (1916), a predominantly black-cast silent film featuring Caribbean American star Bert Williams. By paying particular attention to film form and archival evidence, I reclaim the importance of Williams’s first Biograph comedy. I argue that through its attention to modes of policing and strategies of avoiding detection, A Natural Born Gambler interrogates the discursive production of black masculinity, illuminates…

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October 2022

Navigating the Archives in Film and Media Studies Research – Regina Longo, Brown University

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Regina Longo

Led by Brown University Media Archivist Regina Longo, this workshop will introduce graduate students to a range of archival resources and approaches utilized throughout film and media studies research. Following this overview, participants will be encouraged to share their own research interests and any archive-related queries. Longo will provide research advice, answer questions, and assist participants in locating archival support pertinent to their dissertation work. Regina M. Longo is an archivist, historian, and producer. She manages the MCM Media Archives…

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The Code of Presence: Protest Embroideries and Digital Media from Belarus – Dr. Sasha Razor, UCLA

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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The Code of Presence: Protest Embroideries and Digital Media from Belarus

In the wake of the women-led uprising of 2020, women artists from Belarus have responded to the ongoing challenges of the past year and a half with a substantial corpus of protest embroidery and ornamental digital artworks, drawing their inspiration from recent trends in Western contemporary art but also grounding their practices in the region’s rich folk heritage. The talk by Sasha Razor will explore these artworks' connection to digital activism, feminism, collective labor, memory, and trauma. An emphasis will…

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November 2022

Media of Extraction and Abstraction – Hanna Rose Shell

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
Hannah Rose Shell

“Media of Extraction and Abstraction” begins with a discussion of the medium of clothing, more specifically of textile waste; its industrial reprocessing shaped forms of meaning and me­­dia making in the late 19th and early twentieth centuries. The talk then turns to the nexus of industrial mining and solar astrophysics, excavating the space – literal and figurative, aesthetic and technological – of the so-called Climax High Altitude Observatory. Built on the Continental Divide at 11,500 feet above sea level, on…

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Hollywood’s Embassies: How Movie Theaters Projected American Power Around the World – Ross Melnick, UCSB

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 @ 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Hollywood's Embassies: How Movie Theaters Projected American Power Around the World

Beginning in the 1920s, audiences around the globe were seduced not only by Hollywood films but also by lavish movie theaters that were owned and operated by major U.S. film companies. In his new book, Hollywood’s Embassies: How Movie Theaters Projected American Power Around the World, Ross Melnick considers these movie houses as “cultural embassies” and examines the operation of U.S.-owned and operated cinemas in nearly three dozen countries on four continents between 1923-2013. A truly global account, Hollywood’s Embassies…

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January 2023

Technics Improvised in Global Media Art – Timothy Murray, Cornell University

Wednesday, January 11, 2023 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Technics Improvised in Global Media Art - Timothy Murray

Timothy Murray explores how global media art resists and rewires the political and economic structures that govern technology. In dialogue with his most recent book, Technics Improvised: Activating Touch in Global Media Art, he explores the intersections of philosophies of touch and technology in dialogue with historical and contemporary practices of tactical media. In view of the combined risks of digital sovereignty and the Anthropocene, he will discuss how a wide range of critical texts, from Verena Andermatt Conley to…

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March 2023

Taiwan New Cinema at Film Festivals – Beth Tsai, Visiting Assistant Professor, EALCS, UCSB

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Beth Tsai

Taiwan New Cinema (first wave, 1982–1989; second wave, 1990 onward) has its unique history regarding film festivals, particularly in the way that these films are circulated in major European film festivals. On one hand, Taiwan New Cinema shares a common formalist concern about cinematic modernism with its Western counterparts, departing from previous modes of filmmaking that were preoccupied with nostalgically romanticizing China’s image. On the other hand, Taiwan New Cinema represents a struggling configuration of the "nation," brought forth by…

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April 2023

A Tale of Three Brothers: Ezra, Me’ir, and Hayyawi Sawda’i and a History of Cinema in Iraq – Pelle Valentin Olsen, University of Oslo, Norway

Wednesday, April 5, 2023 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Pelle Valentin Olsen

This talk investigates the historical entanglement of capital, culture, and leisure by mapping the local Iraqi capitalist and entrepreneurial elites, many of whom were upper-class Iraqi Jews with international outlooks, who invested in exhibition and production technology. In the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, the Iraqi Jewish Sawda’i family pioneered the construction of cinemas, import of films, and established Iraq’s first film studio, Studio Baghdad. Examining the history of Iraqi cinema and film production and distribution through the Sawda’i family brings…

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AGENTS OF ISHQ and the Radical Possibilities of Love – Paromita Vohra, Freelance Media Artist and Writer based in Mumbai

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Garden of Pleasure

A presentation about the experience of co-creating a digital space about sex and desire in India.   Paromita Vohra is a media artist and writer who works with a range of forms, including film, comics, digital media, installation art, and writing, to explore themes of feminism, desire, urban life and popular culture. Her films as director include the documentaries Partners in Crime (to be screened on April 27, 7 pm, Pollock Theater), Unlimited Girls, Q2P, and Morality TV and the…

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May 2023

RFG Talk: Color: Additions, Subtractions, Signals – RICARDO CEDEÑO MONTAÑA Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Color: Additions, Subtractions, Signals

In this presentation, Ricardo Cedeño Montaña will describe some of the particular principles, mechanisms, and techniques by which color film functioned in its formative years and the coding schemes for (re)producing, storing, and transmitting color information in electronic and digital media. Using a media archaeological approach to technical media, Cedeño Montaña will show that color in technical media is anything but stable and such instability implies different contexts of sensory data processing and storage. Dr. Ricardo Cedeño Montaña is professor,…

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November 2023

Grappling with Abandonment: OnlyFans and the Libidinal Economies of Pro Wrestling – Dewitt King (UC Irvine)

Wednesday, November 8, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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On April 15, 2020, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) released 19 wrestlers (and furloughed approximately 25 employees) just days after being designated an essential business by the state of Florida. While this designation allowed the WWE to continue to produce live televised shows and PPVS during the COVID-19 shutdown, these firings were only the beginning as they continued to release wrestlers on regular intervals until the summer of 2022. Following the story of a Black male wrestler who was released but…

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The Bars Are Ours and the Visual Culture of Gay Bars in America, 1960 and After – Lucas Hilderbrand (Film & Media Studies, UC Irvine)

Tuesday, November 28, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Lucas Hilderbrand is Professor and Chair of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of the books The Bars Are Ours: Histories and Cultures of Gay Bars in America, 1960 and After; Paris is Burning: A Queer Film Classic; and Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright. Gay bars have operated as the most visible institutions of the LGBTQ+ public life in the United States for the better part of a century, from before gay…

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May 2024

Ecogames: Playful Perspectives on the Climate Crisis – Joost Raessens, Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University

May 1 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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With the climate crisis and its repercussions becoming more and more tangible, the media are increasingly participating in the production, circulation, and interrogation of environmental assumptions, using both explicit and implicit ways of framing the crisis. In this lecture, I will present an overview of my research on green media/ecogames/VR. I will first present our ‘Green Media Studies initiative,’ the four thematic sections of our book Ecogames: Playful Perspectives on the Climate Crisis, and our Horizon Europe project STRATEGIES: Sustainable…

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Infrastructural Encounters: Ethnographic perspectives on telecommunication in the Arctic – Mette Simonsen Abildgaard, Department of Culture and Learning, Aalborg University Copenhagen

May 8 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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Infrastructural Encounters: Ethnographic perspectives on telecommunication in the Arctic

How do digital infrastructures shape the experiences of those positioned as living ‘on the margins’? This has been the central question guiding my research over the past five years, which has focused on sea-cables, wi-fi networks, mobile plans, satellites, and other infrastructures of telecommunication in Greenland. Another big question has been: How can we study these systems, which are both pervasive and deeply personal, using ethnographic methods? In this talk, I will present some of my methodological and theoretical approaches…

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The Political Aesthetics of Light – Brian Larkin, Barnard College, Columbia University

May 15 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
2135 SSMS Building, SSMS Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4010 United States
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The Political Aesthetics of Light

In this talk I use light as a way of opening up questions about the relation of aesthetics to racial capitalism. Drawing from research in Nigeria, but thinking more generally, I move between structures of political economy and the everyday techniques and experience of living with and in light. Brian Larkin is co-director of the Society of Fellows/Heyman Center for the Humanities and Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University. His research, broadly conceived, examines the operations of media…

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