[-empyre-] screens

Andreas Maria Jacobs ajaco at xs4all.nl
Mon Jul 9 06:02:33 EST 2012

One that serves to protect, conceal, or divide

this is an interesting definition:

protect ( relates to the current use as a communicating device) but also the contrary  as examplified by eaves dropping , phone hacks, CIA, out of control surveillance systems etc etc

conceal ( seperating a broader view to a narrower one , to 'conceal' the (not) wanted overall 'picture'), also an established political controling mechanism

divide ( as in this current discussion) divisions between socio-economical and historio- political uses and appliances to secure the (economical) interests of the few by deeply penetrating into the personal and private realms (hollywood, cnn, al jazeera and the like) of the many

another definition from a painterly background, 'conceal' as a separation from  'the whole to an outcut (See the famous Duerer gravure , picturing the screen as a geometrical outset of a 'bigger' picture) As an aside: is this the ultimate dilemma for a painter or a cinematographer?

so to recap, to define our subject to the question 'what is a 'screen', the answer is inherently ambigu, it is with this in mind I like to pose another question:

How to use a screen , whether as an concept or as a thing and how to justify its seperating aspects regarding its socio-cultural implications and its very well known failures.

Screen as a 'thing' is an abstract academical question not so much related to 'real life' events as seeing a movie or watching tv, lurking on the internet etc etc

'Real life' events escapes this abstraction due to humans ability to generate 'emotional' responses from the different screen related influxes of - more or less - interrelated information flows. The cerebral (the pre-frontal cortex as the 'Gestapo' of the brain) filtering of these influxes seperates - interpersonal and individually - this into distinct 'cultural paths' and tends to build a hierarchy of valuations based upon  politico-cultural traditional and sometimes forced - by mainstream or extremistic cultural indoctrination - prefabricated 'opinions' expressing the current 'value' of the experienced 'screened event' in an established and closed valuation system.

The agency i.e. the modes of amplification of information flowing along these various cultural paths i.e. elections, advertising, railroads, postage service, bulk transport, gas lines, radio/tv, cable, internet networks etc etc from the active sender: political party, entertainment industry, porn firms, propagator, agitator, initiator, entrepreneur towards the passive receiver, the audiences, electorates, congress members, party leaders, fellow travellers, consumers  and is convoluted with a (hopefully) authentic personal, individual judging system

So I agree that 'screen is self' , but like to argue further and wonder if we can reverse the equation i.e.: "Self is Screen". That would lead to a view on the valuation system of the self as expressed by screening itself as' self and as screen', as surface as tactility, as mobility and embodiment in a wider space - the whole - from which the self is seperated and kept seperated by the aforementioned producers who 'own' the means of transporting and delivering information in a broader sense *)

'Being' your own screen/self makes possible to redefine a much wanted 'new' cultural politico-economical open valuation system resisting and challenging the outdated brutal neo-capitalistic egocentered dominant system

*) This is the importance of f.i. Free Radio and Free Internet as an active resistance movement



PS sorry for the 'capitalazation', oh irony of ironies

screen  (skrn)
1. A movable device, especially a framed construction such as a room divider or a decorative panel, designed to divide, conceal, or protect.
2. One that serves to protect, conceal, or divide: Security guards formed a screen around the President. A screen of evergreens afforded privacy from our neighbors.
3. A coarse sieve used for sifting out fine particles, as of sand, gravel, or coal.
4. A system for preliminary appraisal and selection of personnel as to their suitability for particular jobs.
5. A window or door insertion of framed wire or plastic mesh used to keep out insects and permit air flow.
a. The white or silver surface on which a picture is projected for viewing.
b. The movie industry: a star of stage and screen. Also called silver screen.
a. Electronics The phosphorescent surface on which an image is displayed, as on a television, computer monitor, or radar receiver.
b. Computer Science The information or image displayed at a given time on such a computer monitor: printing a hard copy of the screen.
8. Electronics The electrode placed between the anode and the control grid in a tetrode valve. Also called screen grid.
9. Printing A glass plate marked off with crossing lines, placed before the lens of a camera when photographing for halftone reproduction.
10. A body of troops or ships sent in advance of or surrounding a larger body to protect or warn of attack.
a. Sports A block, set with the body, that impedes the vision or movement of an opponent.
b. Football A screen pass.
tr.v. screened, screen·ing, screens
1. To provide with a screen: screen a porch.
a. To conceal from view with or as if with a screen. See Synonyms at block,hide1.
b. To protect, guard, or shield.
3. To separate or sift out (fine particles of sand, for example) by means of a sieve or screen.
4. To show or project (a movie, for example) on a screen.
a. To examine (a job applicant, for example) systematically in order to determine suitability.
b. To test or evaluate (a student) to determine placement in an educational system or to identify specific learning needs.
c. To test or examine for the presence of disease or infection: screen blood; screen a patient.
d. To subject to genetic screening.
6. Sports
a. To block the vision or movement of (an opponent) with the body.
b. To obscure an opponent's view of (a shot) by positioning oneself between the opponent and the shooter.
[Middle English screne, from Old North French escren, from Middle Dutch scherm,shield, screen; see sker-1 in Indo-European roots.]
screena·ble adj.
screener n.

Sent from my eXtended BodY

On 8 jul. 2012, at 14:56, <Christiane_Paul at whitney.org> wrote:

> 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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