[-empyre-] Convergence cultures

ldp3 lisa.patti at cornell.edu
Wed Oct 30 04:16:40 EST 2013

Thank you for bringing us back to Youngmin's reflections on Lacan and the split between the eye and the gaze.  Your descriptions of perceptual convergence and its affective dimension suggest one way to reconcile the different forms of convergence that have emerged in our discussion over the past month.  While my original question was rooted in an impulse to place those instances of convergence within a shared theoretical grid, I am now inclined instead to recognize that the term "convergence" (as it was introduced by Tim and Renate at the beginning of our discussion) provoked a range of responses that resist being merged or even compared.  The mobility and flexibility of "convergence" across these fields of production and reception may then call for further analysis.  
From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of Ken Feingold [kenf at panix.com]
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 4:13 PM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Convergence cultures

----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
It seems to me that Youngmin's correspondence on Lacan's explication of the mechanism of the gaze was a good place for the discussion on convergence to start.  The gaze is the most dramatic perceptual mechanism, and at the point where all the sight lines converge there is a complementary convergence made up of internal stimuli, the drives, instinctual impulses.  At that point, where the “internal” and “external” (these are obviously just metaphors) converge, this is where the world is represented and where we experience our selves as representations as well. This may be, just perhaps, the connection between types of convergence that Lisa questions.  The images that are all around us, whether phone-sized or building-sized, stimulate us and filter into our internally generated image banks as well.  So we live in a sea of images, all converging on our perceptual mechanisms.  The world is made as image, and to a large extent the affective dimension is one of anxiety.  There is a very primitive level at which this originates; the disorienting swirling of the world whether central or peripheral to our perception elicits a fear response, something is "coming at us".  As Burroughs' Uranium Willy said, "Images, millions of images, that's what I eat."


> On Oct 27, 2013, at 11:22 AM, ldp3 <lisa.patti at cornell.edu> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Dear colleagues,
> I have very much enjoyed reading the discussion of convergence that has unfolded over the past few weeks.  My current book project -- Mobile-Lingualism: New Media, Contemporary Cinephilia, and Translation -- examines the distribution of multilingual cinema and television across new media platforms.  My research for this project focuses in part on the ways that "convergence culture" has transformed practices of film distribution and reception.  I combine an analysis of the formal transformations of the cinematic image in new screen configurations with an analysis of the industrial context of those configurations. In other words, I spend a lot of time reviewing the contracts between large online distributors like Hulu (with branches in the US and Japan) and their content providers (studios, networks, and various other media conglomerates.)
> I am often struck by the ways that convergence culture (as it is understood by media industries and by the academic field of media studies) refers to the innovations and interactions between corporations and audiences (but not artists).  "Convergence culture" refers to the circulation of media objects across multiple technological platforms and the mobility and interactivity of audiences as they engage with those platforms.  Artists (directors, writers, performers, etc.) often have contractual obligations to produce content for the new transmedia extensions of their work (one of the focal points of the 2007 WGA strike), but their participation is often eclipsed in discourses of convergence that focus instead on corporate collaborations or on fan authorship.
> I am wondering how to reconcile this version of convergence with the versions that have surfaced so far in this discussion.  Ken Feingold's description of the "convergence of processes" in his recent work, Gabriel Menotti's recent exchange with Renate about mobile technologies as convergence, and Tim's opening observations about "artistic convergences" place the artist at the center of convergence (or at the very least as a dynamic participant).  I wonder to what extent these different versions of convergence simply signal different spheres of production and reception or to what extent there may be important connections among them.
> Best,
> Lisa
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