Feedback meetings on Friday 22 May

•May 18, 2009 • 10 Comments

Dear all,

this Friday I will be at my office on KNG20 (room T2.13A) cafe Le Journal (Neude square) all day to give detailed feedback on your papers. Please reply to this post at what time you would like to stop by; see the schedule below for available timeslots.

10.30 – 11.00:
11.00 – 11.30: Karin
11.30 – 12.00: Lina
12.00 – 12.30:

13.30 – 14.00:
14.00 – 14.30: Silvia
14.30 – 15.00: Tzoanna

15.30 – 16.00: Lisa
16.00 – 16.30: Klaas
16.30 – 17.00: Nina

Paper details

•March 29, 2009 • 7 Comments

Dear all,

as Prof. Frank Kessler and I stated at the first course meeting, we would like you to reflect on the various ways in which we have read, talked about and tried to (re)formulate theories of media and performance. Organized around the central theme that ‘the medium is a message’, the challenge to you was to wrap your heads around questions of mediality, and during the last few weeks you probably have found out, even if only for a moment, what you liked and disliked when thinking about theories, what your own position could be among the many positions we have discussed, in short, how you could “think x with author y” where ‘x’ could be any subject, theme, concept, approach or other element that could be connected to media and performance theory.

In the paper, which will have to take up between 5000 and 7000 words, we would like you to reveal and defend your position in this ‘thinking x with y’ in a well-structured and above all eloquently-argumented manner. Is McLuhan’s idea of what ‘a medium’ is still valid today, and how would you argue with him if you think it is not? If you think the Deleuzian approach to the virtual and the potential is interesting but does not give us any clue to whether it effects the general understanding of performances, how would you make that clear, what parts of Deleuzian thinking might still be useful, and what would you add yourself? We have seen that some scholars (such as Walter Benjamin and Bill Nichols) argue that our perception of the world changes with every medium, but are those changes always perceptible, and if so, what can we say about their manifestations in media and performance practices and about the directions those changes might guide us along?

These are but a few examples of starting points of your thinking. We would like to recommend re-reading articles and pay specific attention to not only the content of arguments, but also to their structuring, to the author’s style, and to what I like to call the argumentative disclaimers, the often small but very significant paragraphs or sentences that demarcate the context and range of what you aim to convey. Try to get a feel for where you are comfortable and where you are not, and then tackle the theoretical obstacles you come across.

We will use our final session on Monday 30 March (from 17.00-19.00) to discuss questions and ideas. I hope to disclose the location tomorrow morning; if you happen to miss my announcement, please convene at our regular location, I will make sure you are picked up or guided to the correct place :)  **UPDATE: THE LOCATION IS DRIFT 23, ROOM 0.13**

Afterwards… drinks!

R. Murray Schafer, The Tuning of the World (1980)

•March 24, 2009 • 1 Comment

(Sorry for posting this late and this short.)

Schafer sets out to ask what impact the changing relationship between "man" and his soundscape (i.e., sounding environment) has. This soundscape has been changing forever, but now that we live in a new age we should study the soundscape by all means. Soundscape studies should be viewed as a collaborative undertaking combining science, society and arts. Acoustic design should prescribe ways to deal with new technological developments. Just like musicians organize sounds, acoustic designers should organize anyone and anything that sounds to give it form and beauty. Schafer posits that there is a relationship between humankind's wellbeing and the quantity and quality of the sounds heard.

Question: In what ways do you think the ethical dimension is justified? In other words: Should we worry about this soundscape or just be laissez-faire like and celebrate the new?

Wojtaszek- Negotiating the Virtual

•March 23, 2009 • 7 Comments

Marek M. Wojtaszek Negotiating the virtual. The matrix, the internet and a New Techno-logic

Short Outline:

This text deals with the Deleuzian notion of virtuality that disrupts the distinction between ontology and epistemology, between the original and the copy, between the real and the virtual. Virtuality in Deleuze and Guattari’s sense is not a space, nor an ‘unreal image’ and not necessarily depending on technologies such as the cyberspace. It is not created by human beings, but creates, produces itself everything. Virtuality exists from the beginning of time and produces the actual. It thus constitutes the real and is not opposed to it. We could consider technologies as ‘virtual forces constitutive of the real’ (Wojtaszek 11) and not as tools that we use to imitate or reflect on a real. If we consider technologies and the body as connecting instead of opposing, we might be able to fully use the critical potential of the internet.

Much Longer Outline:

Virtuality is a concept that fundamentally challenges the western binary assumption that there is a real opposed to a virtual. Wojtaszek discusses in his article D&G’s response to this dualism. Traditional western thought, originating from Plato’s philosophy of images, makes a distinction between a real or original and a copy of the real that imitates the real, and does not contain the real as such. This copy has been considered secondary to the original. Technology has had a negative stance as it is seen as producing the copy. (Wojtaszek: 4)

Wojtaszek locates a change in this perception of technique in the second half of the twentieth century. Technology gains a more positive position because it is no longer seen as opposing or imitating a real, but creating what we perceive as real. ‘Technology found itself freed from the constrictive corset of rationalistic explanations and was given new space for selfexpression and experimentation.’ (Wojtaszek: 3) D&G’s concept of virtuality also goes beyond this distinction between a real and a copy and they argue that only “an image without resemblance” (Deleuze qtd. in Wojtaszek 4) or a ‘pure image’ (Wojtaszek: 4) exists. Deleuze and Guattari seem to agree with Baudrillard that there exists only simulation. But, they cannot make this distinction between the simulacrum and the real that in Baudrilard’s theory has ‘ceased to exist’. On the contrary, all there has ever existed is an unendless production of new copies. “Reality in all its difference and complexity cannot be limited to extended images humans have form-ed of it.” (Wojtaszek: 5) The ontology of the simulacrum is chaos and not anything original. “In-formality means that since the simulacrum begins with the formless (chaos), its repetition is always unformable (different), subject to events.” (Lawlor qtd. in Wojtaszek 5).

The idea that there is a chaos that continuously creates and produces does away with the idea of an original, but also gives up stable identities. It gives up a stable ‘being’, for a constant ‘becoming’ (Wojtaszek: 8). The body should be seen as constantly in motion, as ‘millions of machinic processes and connections which are productive and repetitive’ (Wojtaszek:6). This makes every human body a unique assemblage. And this brings us to the concept of virtuality. Virtuality is a constant production of interacting images. Human beings emerge from a certain ‘Mechanosphere’ and are in a proces of constant becoming. This involves also another idea of experiencing. Deleuze opposes the idea that human beings have a Kantian consciousness that allows them a stable identity and recognize and categorize sensations. According to Deleuze, sensations are not firstly filtered by the subject’s brain (Wojtaszek:12) and seen as if they exist out of the subject, acting upon the subject or being other then the subject. The conditions of experience differ. On a virtual level human beings are encountering virtual sensibilities that are immediately affecting the nervous-system, and therefore produce thought. On this level, there is no such thing as the other anymore, because there is no stable idea of a self and there exist only a constant production, a constant becoming. Technology is thus constitutive of the real. It produces interacting images, and not images that serve reflection and representation. If we think with Deleuze beyond images as representation of a reality, we could see the images as something that constantly creating reality. In this respect, an uncountable amount of possibilities can be created. ‘Actualization of the virtual always takes place by difference, divergence or differentiation’ (Wojtaszek 10)

The danger that the cyberspace is used to expose the binarized framework is very much present in our current use of technology. Instead, we could consider a human being on the virtual level as a constant production of images, in constant relation to other images. We could use the technologies that cyberspace provides to expand our experiences. “ a world where everything is possible.”


-How ‘virtual’ do you think the cyberspace nowadays is (being thought of). (or: when did you feel posthuman (or merging with the technological) on the internet for the last time?)

- Do you think that technology a prerequisite to think virtual, to think of such a thing as posthumanism?

Drinks tomorrow post class anyone?

•March 23, 2009 • 11 Comments
Are we toasting the end of the course tomorrow?

Are we toasting the end of media and performance theory tomorrow? (think figurative...)

De Slegte – Oudegracht

•March 23, 2009 • 1 Comment

At de Slegte (second hand book store on Oudegracht) today I was looking in all the wrong sections – and discovered for us, the Literature (Letterkunde) section is perhaps most interesting. Not film, television, theatre, sociology or technology.

I purchased the Essential McLuhan and The Global Village.

What the performance people might find interesting is that they had:
Micropolitics of Media Culture: Reading the Rhizomes of Deleuze and Guattari
(it is softcover 15E- includes Maaike Bleeker article)

And for the New Media geeks:  I spotted The Language of New Media (Manovich) and Hamlet on the Holodeck (Janet Murray). All second-hand, so for a reasonable price. (And yes, these examples are “old,” but they are part of the essential new media corpus)

Donde esta the rest of the summaries?

•March 23, 2009 • 2 Comments

Was wondering if the rest of the summaries will be posted some time…. Would love to comment on Murray Schafer.

Those interested in the perception of sound, watch Evelyn Glennie’s talk on TED and you can find her essay on hearing here:

Also just discovered her documentary ‘Touch the Sound’ on good old Tube:


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