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

Lynn Hershman lynn2 at well.com
Mon Jul 9 06:32:06 EST 2012

Hi Erkki,

I believe many of us lurkers are absolutely aware of your extremely important and early study on this subject.

----- Original Message -----
From: erhuhta at ucla.edu
To: empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
Sent: Sunday, July 8, 2012 10:17:15 AM
Subject: [-empyre-] Erkki's texts on Screenology:  screens


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
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> Richard Grusin
> rgrusin at gmail.com
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
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