Guest edited by Patricia Pisters (University of Amsterdam) and Ruggero Eugeni (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milano).
The advent of new algorithms of machine learning and AI is producing a profound revolution in societies: indeed, the ‘algorithmic turn’ involves cultural, cognitive, emotional, and practical layers of everyday life; from this point of view, AI directly concern cinema and media at almost three levels. Read further at Necsus online.
Media as Pharmakon: Mental Health in the Digital Age
18 April 2019: Spui25 in cooperation with the Amsterdam Research Institute of the Arts and Sciences
Are digital media like narcotic drugs? Such comparisons have become increasingly common in the rampant discussion on smartphone and technology addiction. In his book 'Plato’s Pharmacy' (1968) philosopher Jacques Derrida discusses the ambiguity of the “pharmakon”, designating both poison and medicine, depending on context and individual differences. Can our contemporary media be seen as pharmaka for our mental health? For the 5th session of the “SAY AAHH!” series Amir Vudka, Patricia Pisters and Marlies Brouwer will discuss their ongoing work on this topic. In the field of psychiatry, articles appear about smartphone technology in obsessive compulsive behavior (OCD) and depression; burn-out and other mental health problems in youth are increasingly related to digital media culture. At the same time media in themselves are never just the only cause. Furthermore there is an increase in the use of all kind of media technologies (apps, VR) to diagnose and even treat these new types of mental wounds. So how can we discuss both the positive and negative effects of media in relation to mental health? The speakers for the 5th session of the “SAY AAHH!” series provide short lectures, which are followed by a Q&A session with the audience.
About the speakers
Amir Vudka is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Media Studies of the University of Amsterdam. He is a film programmer at Theater De Nieuwe Regentes (The Hague), and the artistic director of Sounds of Silence Festival for silent film and contemporary music. He has published extensively on film and philosophy.
Patricia Pisters is professor of Film at the Department of Media Studies of the University of Amsterdam. Currently she is scholar in residence at EYE Film Institute and research fellow at Cinepoetics at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Marlies Brouwer is a researcher and psychologist at Amsterdam UMC, location AMC. She coordinates the new Transitiecentrum voor Affectieve Stoornissen (TAS), an outpatient clinic for young adults with depression, and investigates the use of e-health, wearables, biological measures, and using new technologies in the clinic.
War and the Screen Machine: Film Lecture by Patricia Pisters
9 mei 2019: EYE Film Institute. See interview about this presentation here.
In his book War and Cinema, Paul Virilio has shown how military technologies of enhancing perception and logistics of warfare have developed in pair with cinema and entertainment media. Ranging from colour film during the Second World War to video games and drone operations in more recent times, there is a tight link between war and media technologies.
In her lecture, Patricia Pisters will sketch an overview of the most recent developments in the tight bonds between war and media. She will discuss different media strategies to ‘cover’ the war, ranging from causing a massive shift in public opinion through television coverage during the Vietnam War, to an almost disappearance of the actual war in favour of television images (the emergence of CNN’s 24/7 coverage of the first Gulf War in 1990-1991), to warfare as a ‘battle of screens’ in our contemporary networked social media culture, where war diaries of soldiers on the battlefield, surveillance images, embedded journalist reports, documentaries, vlogs and other media strategies are part and parcel of the battlefield and the refraction of point of views that fight for attention.
The lecture will be illustrated with extended clips from various war films such as Brian De Palma’s Redacted, a film that is entirely told via different types of screens and shows many of the challenges and implications of modern mediated warfare. Besides the ways in which modern war tactics involve media, special attention will also be paid to the traumatic and post-traumatic effects of these (mediated) experiences, and the extents to which such films as The Hurt Locker, Stop-Loss, In the Valley of Elah and Standing Operating Procedure address these after effects. While we see that the human eye (and entire body and mind) is placed at an increasing distance in the war machine, what will happen when ‘screen machines’ will start to think and act for themselves in AI weaponized future battles?
Angst, woede, verwarring, trauma’s, verdriet – maar ook onvoorstelbare veerkracht. In het programma Shell Shock brengen filmmakers, filosofen, schrijvers en sprekers je zo dicht mogelijk bij de ervaringen van mensen na een periode van oorlog en geweld. Op de openingsavond komen regisseur Morgan Knibbe, filmprofessor Patricia Pisters en filosoof Hans Schnitzler voorbij om te vertellen over de verwerking van oorlogsgeweld in film. Vertoning van Morgan Knibbes Gouden Kalf-winnaar The Atomic Soldiers.
Pisters en Schnitzler verzorgen flitslezingen en Knibbe gaat na vertoning van The Atomic Soldier in een Q&A in op de totstandkoming van zijn film, die het Gouden Kalf kreeg voor Beste Korte Documentaire.
Tijdens het onderzoek voor zijn eerste speelfilm verzamelde Knibbe (Those Who Feel the Fire Burning) onthutsende verhalen van de getuigen van de Amerikaanse atoomproeven in de jaren vijftig. Ze hebben decennialang gezwegen en doen nu voor het eerst hun verhaal, recht in de camera. Hun openhartige getuigenissen zijn onthutsend, het resultaat is een indringend document over de militairen die op de plek des onheils aanwezig waren.
De avond wordt muzikaal omlijst door optredens van Okapi, Soon en Eva Hoogland.
TheSublime Imperfectionsresearch collective (Amsterdam) devotes around table + performanceevent to aesthetics & discourses of imperfection, mistakes, glitches and noise, repair and distortions.The event is part of aconferencethat address cravings for imperfection in design, music, art, writing, psychology, and genetics.
Featuring Mieke Bal, Graham Dunning, Linor Goralik, Patricia Pisters, Ellen Rutten, Yuriko Saito, DJ Trish Trash.
12 March, 2019, 18:00-23:00,Sexyland, Ms. Van Riemdijksweg 39, Amsterdam.Entrance is free but space is limited; register via sublimeimperfectionsassistent at gmail dot com. For updates follow ourFacebook event.
In recent decades, the trend to present imperfections as a plus rather than a problem has resonated across a scala of social disciplines and a range of world localities. Designers respond to hi-tech perfection with a love for wonky forms. Psychologists tell us to embrace imperfection in a mediatized age. Artists and musicians toy with electronic glitches and cracks. Philosophers and biologists plea against perfection in genetic engineering.
TheSublime Imperfectionsresearch collective (Amsterdam) devotes around table + performanceevent to these and analogous discourses & aesthetics of mistakes, cracks, and noise today.
At theround table(18:00-20:00), leading thinkers and practitioners of the imperfect interrogate the contemporary craving for cracks, mistakes, and noise. When & why do artists, writers, filmmakers, and designers hail mistakes? Why do shabby chic and urban-ruin cults so easily lead to elitism or poverty porn? What does repair mean in times of love for the non-polished? And is a politics of imperfection and failure an answer to the Trumputin era?
Speakers:Mieke Bal(Amsterdam) – prizewinning cultural theorist, video artist, ASCA-founder!, and author of aoThinking in Film(Bloomsbury 2013);Linor Goralik(Tel Aviv/Moscow) – designer, fashion scholar, poet and author ofFound Life(Columbia UP 2017);Yuriko Saito(Rhode Island) – professor of philosophy, author ofEveryday Aesthetics(Oxford UP 2008);Joanna van der Zanden(Amsterdam) – curator, initiator of ao theRepair Manifesto. Moderators:Patricia Pisters(Amsterdam) – professor of media studies, author of aoThe Neuro Image(Stanford UP);Ellen Rutten(Amsterdam) – professor of literature, initiator of theSublime Imperfectionsproject.
Theperformance program(20:00-23:00)unites performers/DJs with a predilection for cracks, noise, and trash.DJTrish Trash(Amsterdam) creates music & autonomous work inspired by vintage magazines, graphical and architectural shapes.Graham Dunning(London) works with array of turntables, contraptions, smashed vinyl, recycled objects. Combined his performances – which recently staged in ao Berlin, Oxford, London, Madrid – draw on rhythm and repetition, experimentation and improvisation.Glice(Amsterdam) – Melle Kromhout & Ruben Braeken – produces dark noise improvisations fused with post-industrial & post-classical sound structures. Curated by Caleb Kelly (Sydney) – media theorist, curator, author of aoCracked Media(MIT).
‘For Bal research is pure marvel, a creative form of thinking where science becomes art’Metropolis M
‘Windswept and expansive in its bruised intimacy’ Wire Magazine on Graham Dunning
Guests are also welcome at theImperfectionsconferenceof which the event is a part, and which unites 17 imperfection experts and practitioners in cultural and critical analysis, history, literary studies, marketing, design, philosophy, music, art, linguistics, and area studies.The meeting, which brings together specialists from Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and New Zealand marks the conclusion of theNWOresearch projectSublime Imperfections.Click herefor a program and registration details.