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Ecological Criticism in the Age of the Database
Thursday, October 12, 2017 @ 5:00 pm EDT
The ecological principle that everything connects with everything else should be a perfect match for the network principle of contemporary digital communications. But there is a problem that comes with the arrival very large, proprietorial databases. This is partly to do with the sheer number of images and videos produced and circulated, partly to do with the form they are stored in, and partly because their dynamics share at least as much with contemporary capitalism as with the natural environment. New analytical tools for dealing with big data promise to reform classical humanities methods so we can conform our research to this new kind of object. In this paper Sean Cubitt asserts the value of anecdotal evidence against the rise of statistics, but at the same time wants to confront the difficulties in bringing about an encounter between readers (human or otherwise) and the mass image constructed by social media and search giants.
Sean Cubitt is Professor of Film and Television at Goldsmiths, University of London and Honorary Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne. His publications includeThe Cinema Effect, Ecomedia, The Practice of Light: Genealogies of Visual Media and Finite Media: Environmental Implications of Digital Technology. Series editor for Leonardo Books at MIT Press, his current research is on political aesthetics, media technologies, media art history and ecocriticism.