Spring 2015

Hito Steyerl

Hito Steyerl, How Not To Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File (2013), HD video still. photo / courtesy Wilfried Lentz Rotterdam, © Hito Steyerl.

Scattered Projections: Mobile Global Cinema (ARCH 6307, SHUM 6819)

Wednesdays, 7–9 p.m.

Course Instructor: Amy Villarejo (performing and media arts and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies)

This cross-disciplinary seminar explores digital visual cultures and critical media practices in urban environments, understanding how aesthetics and politics interact in contexts of upheaval, striation, precarity, and inequality. We will be examining media infrastructures and networks with attention both to digital art and popular cinema/media, from German installation art to Nigerian videos and anything in between. Collaborative projects embrace multiple methodologies and genealogies, from critical theory to media stylos, from ethnography to digital mapping. The course will draw upon Cornell's urbanism resources in its library and museum collections.

The aim of the course is to understand how cinema takes place (in locales, in built environments, in circuits of production/circulation/exhibition) but also how it makes places, both material and imagined. An historical overview of urban representation is therefore important as a starting point, so that we can raise questions of perception and scale within modern debates about aesthetics and politics (i.e., Soviet cinema, Weimar cinema, radio and television, avant garde art practices). So, too, do we begin with crucial theoretical formulations of the city, from Georg Simmel to Raymond Williams and onward.  The heart of the course, however, will consist in testing extant rubrics for investigating urban media cultures and forging new ones through shared research.