The Goldsmiths Radical Media Forum is a lecture series sponsored by the Department of Media & Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London.  Podcasts of past events can be found here.

The 2013/14 series is now available here: http://radmediaforum.wordpress.com/

Past Events during the 2012/13 Academic Year

The topic for the 2012/13 year is "Radical Media Forum: Media Experiments." The aim is to showcase various kinds of innovative work that are currently being developed in the discipline, and these experiments can therefore be conceptual, textual, visual, methodological and technical. We are interested in presenting transdisciplinary work on media as well as work that crosses the theory-practice divide. At the same time, we want to feature theoretical or empirically-driven presentations that experiment with ideas and concepts around "the media," or with ways of "studying media."

"Smart Cinema" by Pat Brereton - Thursday, November 15, 2012, 5:30 (New Academic Building 302)

‘Smart Cinema’ (2012) focuses on the convergence between ‘old’ and ‘new’ media, and demonstrates how contemporary film industries create opportunities for audiences to be more active. For new generations – particularly familiar with digital media – it seems natural to expect more influence over media content. DVDs and their use of bonus features is just one example of this phenomenon and certainly can serve to illustrate the growing complexity of new audience pleasures and engagement. Using case studies of British and other smart films, I will explore out how such features can represent a bridge between the text and the creative makers of a film, who in turn speak directly to their niche audiences, often outside of the confines of the filmic text.

Such digital features also strengthen the overall appeal of this consumer-fan driven medium that coincidentally or not incorporates significant educational applications. With a growing preoccupation with convergence within new media research, DVD add-ons - alongside other technological manifestations, like mobile phone apps and various other web based innovations - provide a useful bridge between scholarly new media research and conventional film studies.

For future research in this area, I wish to explore a range of audience research and reception methodologies, alongside examining new modes of distribution and consumption, to help test and tease out many of the hypotheses posed in this study. 

Biography: Dr. Pat Brereton has been the Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science at Dublin City University for the last five years. His books include Hollywood Utopia: Ecology in Contemporary American Cinema (2005); Continuum Guide to Media Education (2001) and the Historical Dictionary of Irish Cinema (2007) with Roddy Flynn. His new book Smart Cinema: DVD add-ons and new Audience Pleasures (Palgrave, 2012), reflects the need to appreciate cinema within the context of new media and new modes of consumption. He has several other publications in a wide range of journals on various aspects of film and media culture generally and remains committed to developing cross disciplinary links with for example Environmental Ecology, Ethics, Marketing and Politics among other areas.

"Something to See Here: For a Militant Visual Culture Practice" by Nicholas Mirzoeff - Thursday, November 29, 2012, 5:30 (New Academic Building LG02

In this presentation, I will describe how my work has unfolded from the analysis of critical visuality studies into a militant research practice over the past two years. I'll demo my project about the Algerian Revolution and its place as a key site on the border between the global North and South. It was produced in Scalar, a multi-media born digital authoring software, which led me to think more closely about how I produce media, as well as describe them. Finally, I'll talk about how the interface of digital humanities and critical visuality came to shape my durational writing project called Occupy 2012 in which I write every day in regards to the Occupy movement. This is a critical project based on a performance art model in direct (inter)action with an ongoing social movement. 

Biography: Nicholas Mirzoeff is Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at NYU. He is the author of many books including The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality (2011) and editor of The Visual Culture Reader (3rd edition, 2012). He has recent essays in Critical InquirySocial Research and Public Culture. His current projects engage with the Occupy movement; and the aesthetics of extinction.

"Is There Life After New Media?" book launch and discussion by Sarah Kember & Joanna Zylinska - Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 5:00 (Richard Hoggart Building - Cinema

Join us for a discussion with Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska to celebrate the launch of their book, Life after New Media: Mediation as a Vital Process (MIT Press, 2012).

Kember and Zylinska will consider the viability of “new media studies” as a discrete field of enquiry, at a time when media “newness” seems to have lost some of its shine. They will suggest we should move beyond our fascination with objects -- computers, smart phones, iPods, Kindles -- to an examination of the interlocking technical, social, and biological processes of mediation. They will also highlight the fact that, in the current mediascape, life itself can be understood as mediated, i.e. as subject to the same processes of reproduction, transformation, flattening, and patenting undergone by other media forms. Considering media-enacted cosmic events such as the search for the nebulous “God particle” by CERN and the all-encompassing process through which we are all seemingly “becoming Facebook,” Kember and Zylinska will consider a new way of “doing” media studies that is simultaneously critical and creative, and that performs an encounter between theory and practice.

Sarah Kember is Professor of New Technologies of Communication at Goldsmiths, and author, most recently, of The Optical Effects of Lightning. Joanna Zylinska is Professor of New Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, author of Bioethics in the Age of New Media (MIT Press, 2009) and other books, and a fine-art photographer. For the last ten years, they have been running a critical/creative MA programme in Digital Media at Goldsmiths.

"Secret City - Screening & Discussion" by Lee Salter & Michael Chanan - Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 5:00-7:00 (Richard Hoggart Building - Cinema

A film about the City of London, the Corporation that governs it, and its role in the economic crisis. Written by Lee Salter and directed by Michael Chanan (2012, 72 minutes). (See: www.secretcity-thefilm.com)

London and the City of London are not the same place. London is a metropolis of 8 million people. The City of London is the famous square mile in the middle, with about 7,000 residents. A Corporation older than Parliament, the City of London has played a key historical role in protecting and promoting the interests of finance capital, not least through the power it exerts over British economic policy and control of the majority of the world's tax havens.

Secret City looks at the Corporation’s complex relations with Parliament, the Monarchy, the Church, Greater London and the global economy, through contributions from Londoners, including scholars, an MP, a businessman, Church people and activists. Participants include Lord Glasman, John McDonnell MP, the Revs. William Taylor (Stamford Hill) and Alan Green (Bethnal Green), Natalie Bennett, Malcolm Matson, Occupy activists, and Professors Doreen Massey, Robin Blackburn, Steven Haseler and Clive Bloom.

The film exposes the Corporation's anti-democratic constitution, the ancient laws which allow it function as a state within a state, the deleterious effects this has on democracy, politics and economics in London. But Secret City is not just for Londoners — the role of the City concerns everyone everywhere.

An academic production supported by the University of Roehampton.

Biographies: Lee Salter is Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of the West of England. His interest in the Corporation of London began in 2002 when the Corporation introduced an electoral reform bill into the House of Lords. He worked as a legal and political researcher with Lord Glasman, Rev William Taylor and John McDonnell MP to petition the bill. He has maintained a research interest in the City Corporation, its history and constitution ever since, most recently working with the Reclaim the City movement, which aims to consider reform of the Corporation.

Michael Chanan is a seasoned documentarist (BBC2, C4 and numerous independent productions) and Professor of Film and Video at the University of Roehampton. In 2011 he became the New Statesman’s first video blogger. His full-length documentary, Chronicle of Protest, compiled from these blogs, was described by Sight & Sound as ‘Intelligent and highly watchable’, while the film critic Ryan Gilbey wrote that ‘Through some nifty editing and lucid rhetoric, the connections between the actions of the coalition and the hardships imposed on communities become transparent.’

"Disrupting The Gaze: Part 1 - Art intervention and the Tate Gallery" by Marc Garrett - Thursday, February 21, 2013, 5:30 (New Academic Building 102) 

Marc Garrett will present the first section of his two part paper 'Disrupting The Gaze'. Part one 'Art Intervention and the Tate Gallery'. 

We live in a world riddled with contradictions and confusing signals. Our histories are assessed, judged and introduced as fact yet there are so many bits missing. We accept what is given through sound bite forms of mediation and end up using misinformation as our cultural foundations, and then we build on these ‘acquired’ assumptions as our ‘imagined’ guidelines. This critique studies how contemporary artists are challenging these defaults through their connected enactments and critical inquiries of the existing conditions. It highlights a continual dialogue involving a historical struggle between what is condoned as legitimate art and knowledge, and what is not. It looks at a complexity, embedded in our culture and its class divisions in Britain. And draws upon struggles going as far back as the enlightenment, the industrial revolution, colonialism and slavery - to present day concerns with neoliberalism and its dominance. The Tate gallery is used as a reference point and a site of focus for these various historical and contemporary, political and societal conflicts. 

The artists’ and art groups featured, such as Graham Harwood, Platform, IOCOSE, Tamiko Thiel, and Mark Wallinger; has each delivered a particular (unofficial and official) mode of art intervention at the Tate Gallery. 

Marc Garrett is co-director and co-founder, with artist Ruth Catlow of the Internet arts collectives and communities – Furtherfield.orgFurthernoise.orgNetbehaviour.org, also co-founder and co-curator/director of the gallery space formerly known as 'HTTP Gallery' now called the Furtherfield Gallery in London (Finsbury Park), UK. Co-curating various contemporary Media Arts and hybrid exhibitions, projects nationally and internationally. Co-editor of 'Artists Re:Thinking Games' with Ruth Catlow and Corrado Morgana 2010. Hosted Furtherfield's critically acclaimed weekly broadcast on UK's Resonance FM Radio, a series of hour long live interviews with people working at the edge of contemporary practices in art, technology & social change. Currently studying Art history Phd at the University of London, Birkbeck College. 

Marc is a Net artist, media artist, curator, writer, street artist and activist. Emerging in the late 80's from the streets exploring creativity via agit-art tactics. Using unofficial, experimental platforms such as the streets, pirate radio such as the locally popular ‘Savage Yet Tender’ alternative broadcasting 1980's group, net broadcasts, BBS systems, performance, intervention, events, pamphlets, warehouses and gallery spaces. In the early nineties, was co-sysop (systems operator) with Heath Bunting on Cybercafe BBS with irational.org.

"Rethinking Software Between Code Studies & Digital Humanities" by Federica Frabetti - Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 5:30 (New Academic Building 302) 

In my talk I wish to explore the way in which an understanding of digital technologies requires a close critical engagement with software, on which such technologies are based. In turn, the question of what software is and of the kind of knowledge that can be produced about it outside of the boundaries of computer sciences cannot be addressed without radically reconsidering what we mean by "knowledge" in relation to "technology" in a broader sense. Today the cultural study of software is the object of fields as varied as Software Studies, Code Studies, Critical Code Studies, the Digital Humanities and Digital Media Studies. I argue that these fields could benefit from a radical rethinking of the conceptual framework of instrumentality and the way in which technology has been understood primarily by the Western philosophical tradition. A pivotal role is played here by the concept of linearization as developed by Leroi-Gourhan (1993) and subsequently re-read by Derrida in Of Grammatology (1976) in the context of his own reflections on writing. Ultimately, I draw on Bernard Stiegler’s thought on technology and on his own rereading of Derrida’s work in order to call for a concrete analysis of historically specific instances of software while keeping open the significance of such an analysis for a radical rethinking of the relationship between technology and the human.

Federica Frabetti is Senior Lecturer in the Communication, Media and Culture Programme at Oxford Brookes University, UK. She completed an MRes and PhD in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. She has a diverse professional and academic background in the humanities and ICT and has worked for a decade as a Software Engineer in telecommunications companies. She has published numerous articles on the cultural study of technology, digital media and software studies, cultural theory, and gender and queer theory. She is an editor and translator of The Judith Halberstam Reader (in Italian) and is currently completing a monograph titled Technology Made Legible: A Cultural Study of Software. She is also the editor of the special issue of Culture Machine devoted to The Digital Humanities: Beyond Computing (Vol. 12, 2011).

"An Accidental Experiment: Dirty Dancing (1987) and the Convergence between Hollywood and American Independent Cinema" by Yannis Tzioumakis - Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 5:00 (New Academic Building 102) 

In a review that marked the theatrical release of Dirty Dancing in 1987, the New York Times compared the film to Baby, It’s You (1983), another 1960s-based film about a young couple’s problematic relationship that featured a strong focus on class politics and that was directed by John Sayles, a key figure in the independent film movement that exploded in the 1980s. Later, the same review moved to compare Dirty Dancing to Adrian Lyne’s Flashdance (1983), a film widely considered a paradigmatic 1980s Hollywood high-concept film.

Despite its independent film credentials (Dirty Dancing was the first film to be co-produced and distributed by the video company Vestron which branched out in theatrical film production and distribution in 1986), Dirty Dancing has not been discussed as an example of American independent cinema in the vast literature that was published on this mode of filmmaking in the last 20 years. Neither has been seen as a predecessor of the more commercially-oriented “indie” cinema that Miramax would popularize only a few years later, a cinema that would depend increasingly on stars, clear generic frameworks, and emphasis on commercial subjects (think of, for instance, Miramax’s teenpic She’s All That (Iscove, 1999) – itself a remake of Dirty Dancing’s contemporary Pretty in Pink (Deutch, 1986)). When Dirty Dancing is mentioned by scholarly studies, this tends to be in brief passing and as an example of a film that was independent by accident and which should not have featured in lists next to films by such auteurs as Spike Lee, John Sayles, Jim Jarmusch, etc. whose films to a large extent defined the 1980s American independent film landscape.

The paper will argue that despite its undoubted influence by the corporate Hollywood driven high-concept mode of filmmaking, Dirty Dancing was also characterised by a surprising number of stylistic, narrative and genre elements that bring it much closer to the independent film sector of the 1980s than it is given credit for. In this respect, the film becomes an interesting example of a text upon which both Hollywood and independent cinema are inscribed, an experiment, at a time (the 1980s) when those 2 different modes of filmmaking seemed to be distinct and clearly divided. This would not be the case, though, from the late 1990s onwards (only a decade after the release of Dirty Dancing), when Hollywood and American independent cinema would start increasingly to “meet” (King, 2009), and newly-coined labels, such as “indiewood” would be utilised to account for the often clearly commercial expressions of filmmaking originating in the independent film sector. The paper will argue that Dirty Dancing anticipated these developments when the increasing convergence between corporate Hollywood and independent film made the production of high concept “indiewood” films like Good Will Hunting (Van Sant, 1997), Traffic (Soderbergh, 2000), Juno (J. Raitman, 2007) and Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino, 2009) a dominant practice. Dirty Dancing then can be seen as a pioneering example of “indiewood” filmmaking, an argument that might go some way in terms of explaining why it still retains its popularity.

Yannis Tzioumakis is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool. His research specialises in American cinema and the business of media entertainment. He is the author of American Independent Cinema: An Introduction (2006), The Spanish Prisoner (2009) and Hollywood’s Indies: Classics Divisions, Specialty Labels and the American Film Market (2012), all for Edinburgh University Press, for which he also co-edits the “American Indies” series that has published five volumes since 2009. Yannis is also co-editor of Greek Cinema: Texts, Histories, Identities (Intellect, 2011), American Independent Cinema: Indie, Indiewood and beyond (Routledge, 2012) and The Time of Our Lives: Dirty Dancing and Popular Culture (Wayne State University Press, 2013) from which the paper derives. Currently, Yannis is co-editing The Routledge Companion to Film and Politics (2014) and is preparing the book series “Hollywood Centenary” (2015) which looks back at the history of the six remaining Hollywood studios as they celebrate 100 years of business, with an emphasis on their transformation from film companies to entertainment conglomerates. 

"The Drama of 3D: Ken Jacobs' Nervous Magic Lantern" by Michele Pierson - Thursday, March 21, 2013, 5:30 (New Academic Building 102) 

Ken Jacobs has been exploring 3D for over forty years. His stereoscopic cinema encompasses film, shadow play, digital video, and Nervous System and Nervous Magic Lantern performances. He stopped giving Nervous System performances in 2000 and now only travels to festivals, museums, and exhibitions to present the Nervous Magic Lantern. The Nervous System used two 16mm or 35mm film projectors capable of frame-by-frame advance (forward, backward, and freeze frame). The Nervous Magic Lantern, on the other hand, is a single projection device that works much like magic lanterns of old, throwing colored patterns on painted slides, or reflections of objects, onto a screen. What connects the different types of projection performance that Jacobs has pursued over more than forty years is not film, then, but a cinematic ontology (light, projection, and the moving image) and architecture (darkness, seating for an audience, and a large screen). Jacobs’ Nervous Magic Lantern performances are abstract dramas scripted, however loosely, for things to happen in the dark. They require the right architecture, the improvisation of live performance, and the participation of an audience. This talk will examine the participatory dimensions of Jacobs’ stereoscopic Nervous Magic Lantern performances, focusing, in particular, on Time Squared, which was performed over half a dozen times in Europe and the US in 2010-11.

Michele Pierson is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film Studies at King’s College London. She is the author of Special Effects: Still in Search of Wonder (Columbia UP, 2002) and co-editor with Paul Arthur and David E. James of Optic Antics: The Cinema of Ken Jacobs (Oxford UP, 2011). She is currently working on a monograph entitled The Accessibility of the Avant-garde: Drama and Abstraction in American Experimental Film and Media.

"Critical Ways of Seeing in Practice: Fact and Fiction, Dreams and Deeds: Public Forum for Critical Ways of Seeing" with Patrick Meier (iRevolution), Philippe Rekacewicz (Le Monde diplomatique), Wendy Kristiansen (Le Monde diplomatique English Edition), Dan McQuillan (Goldsmiths), Eyal Weizman (Goldsmiths). Moderator Marianne Franklin (Goldsmiths) - Friday, March 22, 2013, 5:00-6.30 (New Academic Building LG01 )

In critical media and communications research there has been a marked increase in interest in web-based ways of gathering and generating knowledge. These include digital tools that navigate and map the web itself, that can also create various sorts of maps and other sorts of visualisations – infographics – to use in research, policy-making, and advocacy.  All these techniques, and the new ways of conveying what is going on in the world that they open up, present exciting possibilities for doing research, ‘seeing’ and presenting our ideas. They have also provided important avenues for citizens to challenge businesses and governments about what they are doing with our data, and to what ends. Whilst a picture may be worth a thousand words, infographics, like maps and other images, also imply and convey more than one story. Humanitarian, environmental, and commercial uses of digital tracking, mapping, and crowdsourcing are not always compatible with each other, and they also raise challenging questions about freedom of expression, privacy, intellectual property rights, and research ethics based on informed consent. Moreover, the politics of ownership and control of our data and the data of others is becoming more urgent as large corporations and governments can accumulate this data and then grant or restrict access to it in non-accountable ways.

"Electronic Nocturne: Aesthetics of Debris" presentation and reading by Jeff Noon - Thursday, June 20, 2013, 5:30 (NAB 326). Introduction by Vana Goblot.

My novels and stories frequently imagine a post-digital future. In particular, I am interested in how the remnants, ghosts and debris of the current digital age will impact that future. I view debris as a subject matter, and as the building blocks of a novel’s atmosphere, and also as something that defines the style of my writing at the most basic level.

Over the years, I have devised several writing techniques, which are largely based on musical sampling and remixing: a way of collecting fragments of the past, remixing them to make something new. I will examine the concept of liquid remixing as a narrative device in my novels NymphomationNeedle in the GrooveCobralingus and the short story collection, Pixel Juice.

I will also read from Electronic Nocturne, a laboratory of stories, ideas and imagery all dealing with the post-digital age, including an extract from my radio play Dead Code and a number of the Sparkle Town episodes, both of which deal explicitly with the remixing of digital debris to create new kinds of art and lifestyles. I will also discuss my current spore-based microfiction project on the @jeffnoon twitter page.  

BiographyJeff Noon was born in Manchester in 1957. He trained in the visual arts and drama and was active on the post-punk music scene before becoming a playwright. His play Woundings won a Mobil prize and was performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. His novels include Vurt (Arthur C. Clarke Award winner), PollenAutomated Alice, Needle in the Groove and Falling Out Of Cars, and a collection of 50 avant-pulp stories called Pixel Juice. He also writes microfictional 'spores' via @jeffnoon on twitter. His latest novel Channel SK1N is an experiment in independent digital publishing. He lives in Brighton, on the south coast of England. More information can be found at www.metamorphiction.com.