Conferences, Core Program

Attentional Modes (Day 2)

Glitched version of Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, Francesco Mazzola, (1523 - 1524). Original image downloaded from Wikimedia.

Saturday, April 28, 2018
10:00 am – 12:30 pm

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street

Core Program 2017–18
Becoming Media

Conference 3: Attentional Modes

—a conference organized by Sarah Tindal Kareem, University of California, Los Angeles, and Davide Panagia, University of California, Los Angeles

In his seminal essay “Genesis of the Media Concept,” John Guillory speaks of the “absent but wanted” concept of medium in the history of Western thought. A diffusion of proto-mediatic political, aesthetic, philosophical, and scientific modes of handling media objects proliferate in the early modern and modern periods, despite the absence of a clearly articulated concept of medium such as that referred to by Guillory. It is in this space of a yet unspecified, though pervasive and prolific culture of media handling, that we may speak of a “becoming media.”

This series of conferences investigates in an interdisciplinary manner this diffusion of practices, objects, and modes of attention that generate an emergent concern with media in the early modern and modern periods. Given the recent development of new interdisciplinary fields of research in the humanities and social sciences—including but not limited to critical digital studies, media archeology, and digital humanities—as well as the proliferation of political and aesthetic research on the entanglement of media, ecologies, and global life, the conferences are well positioned to at once converge and showcase the diversity of theoretical and empirical research in and around the idea of a becoming media.

The conference series is designed so as not to focus exclusively on traditional periodicities or historical trajectories, but to articulate the emergent practices of engagement with media objects, and the ideas, technologies, and attentional modes solicited by such practices. This Core Program concerns the intersection of such material practices with theoretical reflection in order to contribute to an understanding of the experiential domain of a becoming media.

The third conference investigates how given media privilege or encourage particular modes of engagement such as play, immersion, or diffused attention. Participants may approach this problem diachronically or synchronically, whether considering the history of a particular attentional mode or examining the attentional constraints and opportunities afforded by various media forms in a given historical moment.

Parmigianino, 1503–1540
Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror
Oil on convex panel, ca. 1524
Kunsthistorisches Museum

Richard Grusin, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
John Guillory, New York University
Orit Halpern, Concordia University
Jonathan Kramnick, Yale University
Emily C. Nacol, University of Toronto
Martin Nitsche, Czech Academy of Sciences
Marisa Parham, Amherst College