Colloquium | James Collins

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 12:00pm


James Collins

Theorizing about Digital Devices, or How did Steve Jobs Turn Us into a Race of David Bowies?

Most of the popular discourse on watching visual media on digital devices revolves around screen size, or more specifically, how film viewing becomes such an impoverished experience on a small screen that it is barely worry of attention. But looked at another way, the big screen is actually the impoverished visual experience because it just displays an image, as opposed to a playback screen, which is also a private archive, which is also a portal, which is also a camera. How do we theorize about that media adjacency, in terms of that multi-functionality and also in terms of the way visual culture now intersects with print culture, musical culture ? Digital culture depends on conglomerate transmediation, but how do we "transmediate" on our devices? How have watching, reading, listening been subsumed into an endless process of curating which makes the device a cultural GPS system? How do build a theory that situates digital devices at the intersection of media technology,  taste formation, and identity formation?

Jim Collins is a Professor of Film and Television at the University of Notre Dame where he teaches courses on media theory and digital culture. His most recent book is Bring on the Books for Everybody: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture (Duke University Press, 2011). He is also the author of Architecture of Excess: Cultural Life in the Information Age (Routledge,1995) and Uncommon Cultures: Popular Culture and Postmodernism (Routledge,1989), editor of High-Pop: Making Culture into Popular Entertainment (Blackwell, 2002), and co-editor of Film Theory Goes to the Movies (Routledge,1993). His current book project is entitled, Playlist Culture.

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