Tag Archives: network practices

Poetics of Networked Video

Abstract for an essay that is underway:

Much writing on online video uses a media and cinema studies tradition that relies upon a tripartite separation of critical theoretical frameworks that considers either audiences, institutions, or the texts themselves. In the specific case of critical writing on online video these three broad models have remained largely untroubled, epistemologically, as they have been used to examine online video. As a consequence much scholarly attention in regard to online video has looked to the ways in which it challenges, disrupts, or reconfirms what has already been said about cinema and TV more broadly.

This is unfortunate, as these traditional approaches risk missing the specificity of digital video including its engagment with the formal properties of the World Wide Web. Networked digital video has a material thickness and obdurate recalcitrance that is neutered when the digital is treated as immaterial and virtual, or merely as an avatar of earlier media.
This essay will develop a series of propositions for a poetics of networked video. It will begin with Deleuze’s concept of the ‘minor’ as something that makes a major language ‘stutter’. Networked video will then be seen as a stuttering media in itself that, in turn, also makes traditional institutional forms of cinema and TV stutter. This stuttering of network video will be literally and figuratively described, much as Latour’s actor–network theory advocates, to critically articulate the things that networked digital video can do.

This descriptive method evades the acculturation of online video to existing theoretical frameworks. It wil not account for what happens through the lens of audiences, institutions or the texts in themselves. Such description allows us to approach digital networked video in the manner advocated by recent scholarship in speculative realism (for instance Ian Bogost’s work) and materialist media studies (Jussi Parikka) and will eschew the correlationist impulse to elevate story and narrative as an explanatory deity.

The terms of a poetics of minor video are that networked video no longer has ownership of the screen, as has been the historical case with film and TV. The screen is now personal, owned and controlled by its user, and subject to local and minor affective action. Hardware, software, and an economy of codecs and protocols aligns to network characteristics of an algorithmic making, while glitch, compression artefacts, interruption and pause are features (and not bugs) of a network specific practice that, as in lo–fi music, offers its own aesthetic autonomy. In relation to TV and cinema’s traditional literal occupation of time, digital video offers new paradigms for cinematic duration and, finally, cinema’s immanent granularity — it’s ability to be cut and rejoined through editing — shifts from a historical subservience to narrative toward other, machinic, associative, poetic, and relational ends.

Academic Writing, Open Publishing

Straight off the email. Be good. Can’t go, other deadlines but would’ve liked to have had the opportunity.

Interested people are invited to a workshop on Digital Publishing and Open Access Publishing. The workshop features some of the leading people involved in contemporary scholarly communication during the past decade. These include Fibreculture founder, Geert Lovink, who will be in Australia.

The workshop will take place from 10am-4pm, on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, in room 327 of the Robert Webster Building, University of New South Wales, 2052. The Robert Webster building is in the middle of the campus, near the top of the boulevard that runs up from Anzac Parade.

Speakers will discuss both practical issues and ideas. There will plenty of time for questions and discussion. Indeed the final session of the day will invite speculations about future possibilities for academic/para-academic/non-academic scholarly communication.

The workshop is organised by Sigi Jöttkandt and Andrew Murphie from the School of the Arts and Media at UNSW.

Attendance is free (although we’re afraid there will be no catering). It’s entirely likely we might move to a local establishment for drinks afterwards.

If you wish to attend can you please make sure you let Andrew Murphie know by December 10, at a.murphie@unsw.edu.au.

It is All About Uncertainty

When working on the network and/or in interactive media you have one simple question. How do you want to respond or manage the experience of uncertainty. This uncertainty is any, or all of:

  • my relation to what I make
  • my relation to my audience
  • what I make’s relation to the audience
  • what I make’s relation to its parts
  • my audience’s relation to the parts of what I make
  • and whether my audience are users or an audience

All of these can be completely controlled, completely open, or (as is normally the case) somewhere in between. Control is the obverse to uncertainty. Do you have to insist that C follows B follows A, all the time? That what you make is fixed and can’t be touched/changed/altered? The audience is there to consume, not do? That the pieces of my work should stay still, just so? Our answers vary, but how these are answered largely defines the sort of interactive work you can and will make.

The Gay Indifference of Technical Media

Proposed topic for the Placing Nonfiction Symposium, December here at RMIT:

Technical media are a media of ‘record’ and all are, primarily, sampling machines. Sound recording, photography, film, and video, each with gay indifference samples all that is present to its particular technological view, recording what is with machinic apathy towards meaning and significance. This grants such technical media a privileged relation to what we characterise as the real, while also providing an immanent digital poetics that is situated within constraint, repetition, and the patterns that might emerge.

About 7am’ is a speculative nonfiction video project that investigates technical media as a sampling machine by adopting a constrained personal practice of recording where the machinic logic of indifferent noticing is made concrete through an everyday observational practice. This constrained task is used to create a particular suite of patterns that the project makes literal, constituting the intent of the work, while also relying upon and making visible a particular digital and technical logic that becomes a poetics of minor variation and the accidental.

This allows ‘About 7am’ to become a way of thinking in digital, networked video about the ‘agency’ of the human and the posthuman in the context of technical recording media, and allows the work to argue that technical media’s indifference to that which is recorded allows not only for a poetics of minor patterns, but that the associated and inevitable indexical ‘accidental’ becomes a guarantor of the real.

Affective Assemblages: Documentary Practice

My slides from the 2012 Visible Evidence conference held in Canberra in December. Arguing that network specific ‘aggregators’ such as Cowbird are documentaries, that such systems revolve around or respond to indeterminacy in particular ways and are therefore affective assemblages (affect engines) in the sense of affect provided by Deleuze in Cinema One.