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Media & Materiality
ENGL 236 - Fall 2007,  Rita Raley

Thu, 9/27
Introduction to the course

Thu, 10/11
Theses of structural change: dematerialization, liquidity, catastrophe

Readings Due:
- Mark C. Taylor, Confidence Games: Money and Markets in a World Without Redemption (“Money Matters” and “Specters of Capital”) Reader
- Vilém Flusser, The Shape of Things (“The Non-Thing 1&2”) Reader
- Lieven De Cauter, “The Permanent Catastrophe,” in The Capsular Civilization: On the City in the Age of Fear Reader
- Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity (foreword, 54-59, 113-123, 160-165) Reader
- Armand Mattelart, Networking the World, 1794-2000 (“Networks of Universalization”) Reader

Recommended Readings: Alexander Bard and Jan Soderqvist, Netocracy: The New Power Elite and Life After Capitalism (“The Convulsions of Collectivity, The Death of Man and the Virtual Subject”) [ERes]

Thu, 10/18
Immaterial labor

Readings Due:
- Franco Berardi, “Info-Labour and PrecarityOnline
- Michael Hardt, “Affective LaborOnline
- Maurizio Lazzarato, "Immaterial Labor" Reader
- Tiziana Terranova, "Of Sense and Sensibility: Immaterial Labour in Open Systems," in Curating Immateriality Reader
- Alan Liu, "The Idea of Knowledge Work," from The Laws of Cool Reader

Recommended Readings:
- Pit Schultz, "The Producer as Power User" Online
- Andrew Ross, from No-Collar: The Humane Workplace and Its Hidden Costs (“The No-Collar People”) [ERes]
- Paolo Virno, A Grammar of the Multitude [handout] and "General Intellect"
- Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (excerpts on immaterial labor, especially pp. 289-295) Online
- Richard Barbrook, The Class of the New Online
- Fibreculture: special issue on "Multitudes, Creative Organisation and the Precarious Condition of New Media Labour (2005) Online
- ephemera: theory & politics in organization: special issue on immaterial & affective labor (2007) Online

Thu, 10/25

Readings Due:
- Wolfgang Ernst, “Agencies of Cultural Feedback: The Infrastructure of Memory,” in Waste-Site Stories: The Recycling of Memory Reader
- Jonathan Sterne, “Out with the Trash: On the Future of New Media,” in Residual Media
- Lisa Parks, “Falling Apart: Electronics Salvaging and the Global Media Economy,” in Residual Media
- Elizabeth Grossman, High-Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxins, and Human Health (selections)

Recommended Readings: Decasia (Dir. Bill Morrison, 2002) | Manufactured Landscapes (Dir. Jennifer Baichwal, 2006) | Jacob Park, "Cyberjunk and the Earth" (IHT; July 2001) | Don't Throw Out Your iPod (catalog of fix-it sites, NY Times) Online

Thu, 11/1
Media ecologies

Readings Due:
- Matthew Fuller, Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture

Recommended Readings: world wide watch ( | John Hilliard, A Camera Recording Its Own Condition (1971) | UK Pirate Radio Broadcasts | Interview with Germaine Koh (Mathew Kabatoff; Rhizome)

Thu, 11/8
Media objects

Readings Due:
- David Gross, “Objects from the Past,” in Waste-Site Stories: The Recycling of Memory Reader
- Amelie Hastie, “Objects of Media Studies," Vectors Online
- Bruce Sterling, Shaping Things

Recommended Readings: The SPIME Arrives | Lev Manovich, "Principles of New Media," from The Language of New Media | Collette Snowdon, "Reporting by Phone," in Residual Media | Things (special issue of Critical Inquiry, ed. Bill Brown)

Thu, 11/15
Residual media: recovery, curating & preservation

Readings Due:
- Matt Kirschenbaum, from Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination (excerpt: “The Textual Forensics of Mystery_House.dsk”) Reader
- Christiane Paul, “The Myth of Immateriality: Presenting and Preserving New Media,” from MediaArtHistories Reader
- Joasia Krysa, Introduction, Curating Immateriality: The Work of the Curator in the Age of Network Systems Reader

Recommended Readings: Archiving the Avant-Garde (BAM-MFA) | Bruce Sterling, Embrace the Decay (2003) | Dead Media Project | Variable Media Network | Eugenio Tisselli, "degenerative" | ELO Archive-It Mediawiki | The Rosetta Project (Long Now) | REWIND | Goodbye Classic? (nettime thread, November 2007) | | Curating, Immateriality, Systems: On Curating Digital Media (Tate Modern; June 2005) | Nick Montfort and Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Acid-Free Bits (2004)

Thu, 11/29
Vision machines

Readings Due:
- Siegfried Zielenski, from Audiovisions (Orientation, Chapter 1, Conclusions)
- Sue Currell, “Streamlining the Eye: Speed Reading and the Revolution of Words, 1870-1940,” in Residual Media
- Charles Acland, “The Swift View: Tachistoscopes and the Residual Modern,” in Residual Media
- Paul Virilio, The Information Bomb (chapter 7) Reader

Recommended Readings: Young Hae-Chang Heavy Industries, "Rain on the Sea" | Who's Who of Victorian Cinema

Thu, 12/6

Readings Due:
- N. Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman (“Toward Embodied Virtuality” and “The Materiality of Informatics”) [RES]
- Michele White, The Body and the Screen: Theories of Internet Spectatorship (“The Body, the Screen, and Representations: An Introduction to Theories of Internet Spectatorship” and “Afterword: The Flat and the Fold: A Consideration of Embodied Spectatorship”) Reader
- Brian Massumi, Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation (“Introduction: Concrete Is as Concrete Doesn’t” and “Strange Horizon: Buildings, Biograms, and the Body Topologic”) Reader

Recommended Readings:
- John Tierney, "Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy's Couch" (NY Times; August 2007) Reader
- N. Katherine Hayles, "Contexts for Electronic Literature: The Body and the Machine" [ms.]
- Stelarc

Thu, 12/13
Media spaces

Readings Due:
- David Morley, "Beyond Global Abstraction: Regional Theory and the Spatialisation of History," in Media, Modernity and Technology: The Geography of the New Reader
- Janet Abrams and Peter Hall, eds., Else/Where: Mapping New Cartographies of Networks and Territories (selections) Reader
- Michael Bull, “ ‘To each their own bubble’: Mobile Spaces of Sound in the City,” in Nick Couldry and Anna McCarthy eds., MediaSpace Reader
- Nitin Govil, “Something Spatial in the Air: In-Flight Entertainment and the Topographies of Modern Air Travel,” in Nick Couldry and Anna McCarthy eds., MediaSpace Reader
- Experiment with Google Earth and Google Sky Online

Recommended Readings: TheyRule | Second Life | GPS Drawing | "Drawing (and Doodling) With Countryside as Canvas" (NY Times; April 2002) | Bo Kampmann Walther, Pervasive Gaming: Formats, Rules and Space | An Atlas of Radical Cartography

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