Colloquia, Civic Media Sessions, and Communications Forums
All the events below are free and open to the public. They are also recorded and broadcast to the world-at-large via our Podcast.
The CMS colloquium provides an intimate and informal exchange between a visiting speaker and CMS faculty, students, visiting scholars and friends. We host a figure from academia, industry, or the art world to speak about their work and its relation to our studies. Colloquiua serve as an excellent introduction to our program.
Civic Media Sessions, hosted by the Center for Future Civic Media, highlight cutting-edge media research and tools for community and political engagement.
The Communications Forum, for more than 30 years, has played a unique role at MIT and beyond as a site for discussion of the cultural, political, economic, and technological impact of communications, with special emphasis on emerging technologies. Speakers accept a responsibility to speak in a common language that must be understood by literate citizens and professionals in many fields.
Spring 2011 Calendar
Event listings added as they are finalized.
This lecture will examine the impact of globalization on the urban imaginary in relation to a recent art exhibition, commissioned by the Dutch government in 2009, in which a group of contemporary New York artists were invited to photograph Amsterdam to mark the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's discovery of Manhattan.
Registering a long history of transnational exchange between the two cities, the selected artists sought to produce work capable of defamiliarizing established images of Amsterdam. The claim of the exhibition was that seeing Amsterdam through the lens of New York photographers enabled new and surprising perspectives on four key aspects of the city: the street, the night, the water, and the outskirts. Interrogating this claim, the lecture will analyze individual artworks, the marketing and staging strategies of the exhibition, and -- most importantly -- the role that transnational exchange can play in both resisting and reinforcing dominant, globalized images of contemporary city spaces.
Christoph Lindner is Professor of Literature and Director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He is also a Research Affiliate at the University of London Institute in Paris. His recent books include Globalization, Violence, and the Visual Culture of Cities (2010), Urban Space and Cityscapes (2006), and Fictions of Commodity Culture (2003).
In the Age of Always Connect, are we witnessing a plague of oversharing? If so, are social networks its vectors of transmission? Does this much-discussed phenomenon mark the Death of Shame, perhaps even a return to pre-modern notions of public and private? What does it mean to live in a historical moment when the faces in our high-school yearbooks materialize, without warning, in our Facebook lives, Walking Dead eager to rekindle friendships we thought we'd buried long ago? In his illustrated lecture, "(Face)Book of the Dead," cultural critic and media theorist Mark Dery, author of seminal essays on online subcultures, culture jamming, and Afrofuturism, will address these and other questions, from the posthuman psychology of disembodied friendship to our growing unwillingness to untether ourselves from our social networks or the media drip, even for an instant. What does it say about us, as a society, if we're unable to be alone and unplugged without being bored or lonely? Is this, at root, a fear of the emptiness in our heads? Should we preserve some small space in our lives for solitude -- a Walden of the mind, away from the Matrix?
Mark Dery (www.markdery.com) is a cultural critic. He is best known for his writings on the politics of popular culture in publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Cabinet, Bookforum, Rolling Stone, Elle, and Wired; on websites such as True/Slant and Thought Catalog; and in books such as The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink and Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century. Dery's latest book is an anthology of his recent writings, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Essays on American Empire, Digital Culture, Posthuman Porn, and Lady Gaga's Lesbian Phallus, published in Brazil by Editora Sulina. Dery is widely associated with "culture jamming," the guerrilla media criticism movement he popularized through his 1993 essay "Culture Jamming: Hacking, Slashing, and Sniping in the Empire of the Signs," and "Afrofuturism," a term he coined in his 1994 essay "Black to the Future" (included in the anthology Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture, which he edited). He has been a professor of journalism at New York University, a Chancellor's Distinguished Fellow at UC Irvine, and a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome. He is at work on a biography of the artist Edward Gorey for Little, Brown.