MLA 2017

Friday, 6 January
326. Natural Media
1:45–3:00 p.m., Independence Ballroom Salon I, Philadelphia Marriott
Program arranged by the forum MS Visual Culture

Presiding: Elizabeth Swanstrom, Univ. of Utah
Speakers (in alphabetical order): Karen Elizabeth Bishop, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick; Alenda Chang, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Jason D. Gladstone, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder; Zach Horton, Univ. of Pittsburgh; Kim Knight, Univ. of Texas, Dallas; Carlos Nugent, Yale Univ.

Summary
The term “media ecology” suggests a more inclusive approach to media studies than the merely technological, yet the “ecology” in question has not, until recently, tended to include features of the natural environment in its account. This is rapidly changing. Books such as John Durham Peters’ The Marvelous Clouds (Chicago), Jussi Parikka’s Geology of Media (Minnesota), and Tung Hui Hu’s Pre-history of the Cloud (MIT) reveal a new interest in the capacity of natural ecologies to signify and encourage us to see continuity between natural and technological environments. As Alenda Chang writes in “Environmental Remediation,” “environments are also media, able to transmit, conceal, and come between other entities in significant ways; so too, our usual media are environments, which inevitably frame our understanding of the natural world and thus have the capacity to remediate beyond their representational margins” (electronic book review). In this roundtable we will consider intersections, collisions, tensions, opportunities, and affordances that arise in the discussion of “Natural Media,” both broadly and in particular areas of research.

keywords
nature, environment, technology, media, ecology

Presentation titles (in order of speakers)
NB: to ensure that we have ample time for discussion, participants will speak for 7-10 minutes (10 minutes will be the absolute maximum).

1. Carlos Alonso Nugent, Yale Univ.
“To Be Alone In Nature: Private Journals, Public Essays, and the Fantasy of Eco-Solitude”

2. Jason D. Gladstone, Univ. of Colorado Boulder
“Environmental Technics: Earthworks Art (c. 1969)”

3. Karen Elizabeth Bishop, Rutgers Univ.
“The Kairotic Space of Memory: The Tejas Verdes Torture Center Repurposed in the Natural World”

4. Zach Horton, Univ. of Pittsburgh
“Sky Writing: Chemtrail Conspiracy Media as Toxic Cartography”

5. Alenda Chang, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
“On SpeedTrees and First-Person Walkers”

6. Kim Knight, Univ. of Texas, Dallas
“Infection Blocked! Deterritorializing the Viral”

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