Sensate: A Journal for Experiments in Critical Media Practice (co-founded by CMP-ers Julia Yezbick and Lindsey Lodhie) has just launched a special collection called On Immersion exploring questions around a “sense of being there” and forms of mediated interaction in fields from cultural anthropology to immersive technology. The collection includes an editorial essay as well as articles by Peter Lunenfeld, Young Joo Lee, and Stephanie Deumer – some of which grew out of conversations at a CMP workshop on Immersion: Social and Technological Pasts and Futures held at the Radcliffe Institute in March 2019.
Collection co-editors Julia Yezbick, Rachel Yezbick, and CMP student Emilio Vavarella frame their questions in the introductory essay: “What purchase do we give to first-hand experience over other forms of mediated interaction? Where does the immersive begin and end? How do various forms of media immerse us differently, and to what effect? And what is gained and what is lost in immersive media experiences as compared to other forms or modalities of mediated experiences?”
Each piece in the collection makes use of the possibilities of the web medium in different ways. Lunenfeld’s “Collodial Supension: Immersion and the Pedagogies of Making” is entirely constructed within Google spreadsheets but breaks the traditional functional limits of that format; Lee’s “In between the states of Immersion and De-immersion” use a new “spacialized” tool to enable the reader to move through and rearrange her work as they might in a gallery or room.
It’s exciting to see this collection – which is still open for submissions – emerge in a format that is so visually, functionally, and intellectually rich.
The next deadline to apply for the Critical Media Practice secondary field is Thursday, April 1.
The Graduate School in Arts and Sciences offers a secondary field in Critical Media Practice (CMP) for Harvard PhD students who wish to integrate media creation into their academic work. CMP reflects changing patterns of knowledge dissemination, especially innovative research conducted or presented using media practices in which written language may only play a part. Students interested in creating original interpretive projects in still or moving images, sound, installation, internet applications, or other media in conjunction with their written scholarship may apply to pursue the CMP secondary field, which will connect them with courses, workshops, and advising on production of media in different formats. Critical Media Practice is overseen by the Film Study Center.
Critical Media Practice recently awarded ten CMP students funding for the 2020-21 Collaborative CMP Projects, a fellowship supported by the Mellon Foundation. Below is a glimpse into these upcoming works in progress. We will highlight each project with posts by the students over the coming semester.
Things I Didn’t Know I Loved by Shireen Hamza and Buse Aktas
“Things I didn’t know I loved” is a mail-based collaborative project that investigates embodiment, care, mischief, and serendipity as they manifest in research practice. The participants will exchange mail art over one year, with rules of engagement that shift, rupture, and playfully conflict, all under the quaint temporalities of physical mail.
manipulation by Salmaan Mirza and Shireen Hamza
“manipulation” is digital archive fever. it embraces hallucination — the seeing and unseeing historians do in their daily work on digitized texts. A collaboration between two cmp students and 2-5 archivists across the world, this project will produce a pamphlet as theoretical intervention, and two standalone film/video works.
A Quotidian Place by Xavier Nueno and Noha Mokhtar
“A Quotidian Place” is a book of photographs which comprises two parts. The first shows how social space and everyday life have been studied by architects through the medium of photography since the 1950s. The second offers our own response to the architect’s gaze, through the use of fiction.
The Later USA Almanac by Julia Sharpe and Parker Hatley
This proposal brings together two distinct book projects that will serve as the inaugural publications for the almanac, a publishing initiative that solicits the creation of local, hyper-specific works from twenty to thirty artists, each from a different geographic region of the US. Assembled over the course of our pending
presidential term, the goal of the project is to produce an almanac that highlights the diversity of approaches to our present political/environmental climate.
Off-Site by Pauline Shongov and Elitza Koeva
A series of online and pop-up exhibitions culminate into a physical installation set in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2022. The project charts a journey in understanding the possibility for contemporary Balkan art in the global context when approached curatorially by Bulgarian diaspora, who re-examine conceptions of identity, belonging, history and place.
CMP Alumnus Andrew Littlejohn‘s sound piece Shizugawa was released digitally today in both 5.1 and stereo by the label Gruenrekorder. The piece was composed during Littlejohn’s PhD work in Anthropology and presented in the 2019 CMP Exhibition. According to the liner notes:
“On March 11, 2011, a tsunami devastated the northeast coastline of Japan following an undersea megathrust earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1. The wave destroyed many inhabited coastal areas. This included Shizugawa, the central district of a small town in Miyagi Prefecture called Minamisanriku.
“I recorded in Shizugawa between 2013 and 2015 while conducting research on how survivors experienced its reconstruction. I was motivated partly by dissatisfaction with the excess of distant ruin photography that appeared after the tsunami. Instead of gazing on destruction from afar, I wanted to try and understand the experience of being “in the midst of a changing landscape,” as one resident described it. For those in this midst, I found that two Shizugawas overlapped: one of memory and one emerging. The first was lost in the flood; the notes below provide some clues regarding what people no longer heard as a result. In the second, another resident wrote that the sounds of wind and water had replaced those of daily life. But many other voices could also be heard: frogs, birds, diggers, cicadas. Together, they filled the evacuated space, providing people with food for thought even as they rubbed unevenly with memories of what had been.”
We are delighted to announce that, as of July 1, Joana Pimenta will be the Director of Graduate Studies for Critical Media Practice and Interim Director of the Film Study Center.
Joana is an accomplished filmmaker and writer, whose films have screened at festivals around the world, including Locarno Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Rotterdam, and CPH:Dox. She has worked as a cinematographer, director, and video installation artist on projects in the United States, Portugal, and Brazil. Joana has been a member of our community for many years, having received her PhD in Film and Visual Studies and Critical Media Practice from the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (now Art, Film, and Visual Studies). She has previously taught at Harvard and Rutgers Universities, and has been both a Visiting Lecturer on Visual and Environmental Studies as well as a Fellow at the Film Study Center and Sensory Ethnography Lab.