Lecture: “Ordinary Media: The Aesthetics of Always-On Computing”

This event has been canceled and will be rescheduled during the academic year 2020–2021 if possible.

Thursday, March 19, 2020
3:30 PM
Grucci Room, 102 Burrowes Building

Lecture sponsored by the Digital Culture and Media Initiative

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, James J. Hodge (Northwestern University) will deliver a lecture titled “Ordinary Media: The Aesthetics of Always-On Computing.”

Event flyer

Description of presentation

In the 1990s the emergence of the World Wide Web changed the media landscape decisively if uncertainly. In the first decade or so of the 2000s the tectonics of that media landscape again shifted remarkably with the rise of always-on computing: the milieu of smartphones, social media, and ubiquitous wireless networks. This second shift may be seen as one from “new” media to “ordinary” media. The historical present of ordinary media is characterized by the popular embrace of a remarkable number of new networked genres, including selfies, ASMR videos, supercuts, animated GIFs, memes, podcasts, tweets, and much else. This talk focuses on artistic expressions of this new terrain, arguing that these genres embody strategies of provisional attunement to the vicissitudes of the historical present.

Speaker bio

James J. Hodge is Associate Professor in the department of English and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University. His book Sensations of History: Animation and New Media Art was published in fall 2019 by the University of Minnesota Press. His essays on digital aesthetics have appeared in the journals Critical Inquiry, Postmodern Culture, and Triquarterly, among others. His current book project, “Ordinary Media: The Aesthetics of Always-On Computing,” examines a range of experimental and popular digital artworks in their capacity to express the felt dynamics of always-on computing, from anxiety and sociability to productivity and vulnerability.