[-empyre-] Erkki's texts on Screenology: screens

Sean Cubitt sean.cubitt at unimelb.edu.au
Mon Jul 9 05:39:18 EST 2012

PS I have been teaching the short Cinema Journal piece - very useful!

On 08/07/2012 18:17, "erhuhta at ucla.edu" <erhuhta at ucla.edu> wrote:

>as a comment to Christiane's remark, it does not look like anyone
>taking place in this discussion is familiar with my research on
>The basic study is the one I published in ICONICS nearly a decade ago.
>Recently I wrote the lead to a special section on screen studies in
>Cinema Journal (ed. by Haidee Wasson).
>Hoping these could by useful, and maybe even give focus to the
>somewhat rambling discussion, I have attached them here.
>All the best,
>Erkki Huhtamo
>Quoting Christiane_Paul at whitney.org:
>> Thanks! I agree that medium / material specificity and agency,
>> affect, and the relationships between living beings and objects are
>> deeply interrelated (while neither side of the equation is reducible
>> to the other).
>> I haven't read all the posts in this very interesting discussion but
>> assume someone has brought up Erkii Huhtamo's understanding of
>> Screenology (http://wro01.wrocenter.pl/erkki/html/erkki_en.html) as
>> a history of the screen that "should comprise not only the evolution
>> of different kinds of screens and the interconnections between them,
>> but also account for their uses as part of different media apparata
>> and within changing cultural, social and economic settings." The
>> current constellations of big screen (urban screens, imax) and small
>> screens (mobile devices) seem particularly rich territory for
>> exploring economic and social relations.
>> Christiane
>> ________________________________________
>> From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of Richard Grusin
>> [rgrusin at gmail.com]
>> Sent: Sunday, July 08, 2012 1:44 AM
>> To: soft_skinned_space
>> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] screens
>> As a recent lurker on Empyre and "first-time caller," I've
>> appreciated the discussion on screens, particularly the claims by
>> many on the list about the importance of taking account of the
>> material specificity of screens. I especially admire Ian Bogost's
>> dogged insistence about keeping this material specificity at the
>> forefront of the discussion.
>> But in addition to taking up the materiality of mediation, my work
>> (like the work of others) also takes up questions of agency and
>> affect and the way in which objects like screens and sandwiches and
>> orchids and humans act and affect other objects.  I believe that
>> this agency and affectivity operate in ways that are directly
>> related to (but I would say not reducible to) their material
>> specificity.  I think we need to move more cautiously and think more
>> carefully about the interaction among agency, affectivity, and
>> materiality, resisting the urge to reduce screens (or whatever) to
>> any one of those concerns.  To call attention to the ontology of
>> agency or affect is not necessarily to eliminate all material
>> difference, just as insisting on the ontology of objects should not
>> be to eliminate considerations of agency, affectivity, or other
>> forms of what I understand as mediation (although this kind of
>> "reductionism" can happen all too easily, especially in discussion
>> lists like empyre).  For those like me (and I think others on this
>> list) who agree with Ian about material specificity and about the
>> ontological continuity among all "objects," but who are also
>> interested in affective and agential specificity and the affective
>> and agential continuity among humans and nonhumans, it is crucial to
>> find a way to talk about the complex interrelations among agency,
>> affectivity, materiality, temporality, mediation, and so forth.
>> My two cents.
>> On Jul 7, 2012, at 1:47 PM, Ian Bogost wrote:
>>> On Jul 7, 2012, at 2:10 PM, Rob Myers wrote:
>>>> Computers are significantly correlated with screens at present.
>>>> Televisions are now computers (or their thralls) following the
>>>> death of analog broadcast and recording. Even cinemas are
>>>> transitioning to digital projection with increasing speed.
>>> All the more reason to distinguish between different material
>>> objects. The digital cinema is not the computational system in my
>>> Denon receiver that upsamples signals for HDMI transmission to my
>>> television, is not the input/output apparatus in my iPad.
>>>>> Many of which have screens of particular
>>>>> kinds. If we're ready to simply call all those things "screens" then
>>>>> I'm not sure why we wouldn't also call them automobiles or
>>>>> architecture or sandwiches.
>>>> I'm currently watching "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" on a baguette so
>>>> I see your point.
>>> Here, let me connect the dots: Even sandwich shops order supplies
>>> and take and manage orders by computer.  Sandwiches are implicated
>>> in the logic of computers, c'est à dire screens. Therefore
>>> sandwiches are screens.
>>> I'm not being coy. This is how this conversation feels to me.
>>>> Screens serve to conceal as well as present. Think of hospital
>>>> screens (or the back wall of the cinema). In Simon's comment, the
>>>> screens have served to conceal the computers. What the computers
>>>> conceal probably has something to do with agency.
>>> Yikes, there's the sound of the world melting again. All is one.
>>> Agency, or affect, or screens, or whatever. I can't get behind it,
>>> sorry.
>>> Ian
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>> Richard Grusin
>> rgrusin at gmail.com
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
>> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
>> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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