This group arises out of a Summer 2020 graduate seminar on science fiction. Its goal was to put together the guide for a six-week unit on science fiction and the posthuman.

New volume: Cybermedia: Explorations in Science, Sound, and Vision

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      Carol Vernallis
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      @cvernallis

      Apologies for cross posting.

      Carol Vernallis, Holly Rogers and Lisa Perrott are happy to announce the fourth book in our Bloomsbury series, New Approaches to Sound, Music and Media. (https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/series/new-approaches-to-sound-music-and-media/ Cybermedia: Explorations in Science, Sound, and Vision (edited by Carol Vernallis, Holly Rogers, Selmin Kara, and Jonathan Leal) traces how contemporary media engage with new technologies like robotics, psychometrics, big data, and AI. It pairs humanists’ close readings of contemporary media (like Westworld and Black Mirror) with scientists’ discussions of the science and math that inform them. Cybermedia bridges one of the gaps between science and the humanities.  This text includes contributions by scholars from many disciplines (music, media, philosophy, computer science and neuroscience—as well as directors and other industry practitioners) to consider a range of films and TV shows including Ex Machina, Mr. Robot, Under the Skin, Sorry to Bother You, Black Mirror, and Westworld. Through a variety of critical, theoretical, and speculative approaches, the collection facilitates interdisciplinary thinking and collaboration as well as provides readers with the means to respond to these new technologies.  REVIEWS“The membrane between media and mind has been dissolving for a century. Cybermedia turns the membrane into an irrigation system. A new kind of practice as much as a book, Cybermedia brings makers, scientists and scholars into dialogues that pass through old borders, subtly transformed and transforming. From comic books to paranoia, neurotransmitters to Radiohead, Cybermedia opens a new landscape of social-technical minds and media as things to study and ways of studying them.”—Sean Cubitt, Professor of Screen Studies, University of Melbourne, Australia “Cybermedia testifies to the ways in which practitioners, scientists and scholars are keeping track of, or, indeed, anticipate, the resulting, emergent web of interrelations, and how the porosity between culture and science affects our sensorium. Relying on a two-way approach, a look at science through popular culture, and a science-informed exploration of popular culture, Cybermedia is both a critical tool box and an invitation to navigate the wondrous territories of media culture in the era of accelerated technologization.”— Martine Beugnet, Professor in Visual Studies, Université de Paris, France “The advent of artificial intelligence and cyberspace has a dark and light side, with many challenges and alluring opportunities. This collection engages—literally—with the ‘light side,’ drilling down on how our scientific understanding of sentience underwrites our experience of the lived world—an experience that now rests so heavily on the media and its accompanying technologies. The multilateral perspective offered by this book is so timely, especially for the many of us who will have to transcend the worlds of science and media in the future.” —Karl J. Friston, FRS, FMedSci, FRSB, Neurology, University College London, UK “A thrilling exploration of the resonances between circuits of creativity, software, and the brain.” —Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University, USA CYBERMEDIA: EXPLORATIONS IN SCIENCE, SOUND, AND VISIONTABLE OF CONTENTS

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>Introduction

      Jonathan Leal and Carol Vernallis Part I: AI and Robotics

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Who’s Better at Maximizing Objective Functions, Real or Fictional AIs?”

      Jay McClelland (Stanford University)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Director Alex Garland Converses with Cybermedia’s Scientists and Media Scholars”

      Jonathan Leal (USC) and Carol Vernallis (Stanford University)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“(S)Ex Machinaand the Cartesian Theater of the Absurd”

      Simon D. Levy and Charles W. Lowney (Washington and Lee University)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Epiphany, Infinity and Transcendent AI”

      Zachary Mason (Amplitude Analytics) Part II: Big Data, Sentience, and the Universe

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“A MASSIVE Swirl of Pixels”

      Steen Ledet Christiansen (Aalborg University)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Body-Knowing and Neural Nets: Is a Machine’s Ability to Learn Human Skills a Victory for Reductionism?”

      Charles W. Lowney (Washington and Lee University)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“The Quantum Computer as Sci-Fi’s Favorite Character—DevssApproach to Quantum Physics”

      Leonardo De Assis (Stanford University)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Ex Machinaas a Movie about Consciousness”

      Murray Shanahan (Imperial College London) Part III: The Neuroscience of Affect and Event Perception

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“‘A Solid Popularity Arc’: Affective Economies in Black Mirror’s ‘Nosedive’”

      Dale Chapman (Bates University)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Cognitive Boundaries, ‘Nosedive’ and Under the Skin: Interview with Jeffrey Zacks”

      Carol Vernallis (Stanford University) and Jonathan Leal (USC)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Why Comics?: Toward An Affective Approach”

      Frederick Aldama and Laura Wagner (OSU) Part IV: The Digital West

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Westworld: Some Philosophical Puzzles about Android Experience”

      Paul Skokowski (Stanford University)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“A.I., Self, and Other: Westworld’sNew Visions of the Old West

      Christopher Minz (Georgia State University)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Automata and Player Pianos: A Close-Reading of Westworld’s Score (Then and Now)”

      Annabel J. Cohen (University of Prince Edward Island)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Color and Conservatism in Cybermedia”

      Alex Byrne (MIT) & David Hilbert (University of Illinois at Chicago) Part V: Interface, Desire, Collectivity

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Veiled Sonics: Interface and Black”

      Liz Reich (Connecticut College)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Technology, Chaos, and the Nimble Subversion of Random Acts of Flyness

      Eric Lyon (Virginia Tech)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Expecting the Twist: How Media Navigate the Intersections Among Different Sources of Prior Knowledge”

      Noah Fram (Stanford) Part VI: Productive Neuropathologies

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Digital Vitalism”

      Marta Figlerowicz (Yale University)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Neuroplasticity, Closure, and the Brain”

      Sara Ferrando Colomer (Northwestern University)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Where is My Mind? Mr. Robotand the Digital Neuropolis”

      Patricia Pisters (University of Amsterdam)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Dopamine Circuits: Wanting, Liking, Habits, and Goals” An Interview about Mr. Robotwith Neuroscientist Talia Lerner (Northwestern University)

      Carol Vernallis (Stanford University) and Jonathan Leal (USC)

        <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>“Taste as Aesthetics and Biological Constraints” An Interview with Neuroscientist Hojoon Lee (Northwestern University)

      Julia Peres Guimaraes (Northwestern University), Selmin Kara (OCAD University), and Carol Vernallis (Stanford University) We’d like to share that Bloomsbury is offering 10-20% off book titles. Please feel free to send Holly, Lisa, or me proposals for manuscripts and collected volumes. Below are descriptions of the first three books in our series. We hope you’ll check them out.  Transmedia Directors: Artistry, Industry and New Audiovisual Aesthetics, edited by Carol, Holly and Lisa, focuses on artist-practitioners who work across media, platforms and disciplines, including film, television, music video, commercials and the internet. Working in the age of media convergence, today’s impresarios project a distinctive style that points toward a new contemporary aesthetics. The media they engage with enrich their practices – through film and television (with its potential for world-building and sense of the past and future), music video (with its audiovisual aesthetics and rhythm), commercials (with their ability to project a message quickly) and the internet (with its refreshed concepts of audience and participation), to larger forms like restaurants and amusement parks (with their materiality alongside today’s digital aesthetics). These directors encourage us to reassess concepts of authorship, assemblage, transmedia, audiovisual aesthetics and world-building. Transmedia Directors weaves together insights about artist-practitioners’ collaborative processes as well as strategies for composition, representation, subversion and resistance. Directors and practitioners discussed include Wes Anderson, Michael Bay, Sofia Coppola, David Fincher, Barry Jenkins, Bong Joon-ho, David Lynch and Lars von Trier; musicians and music-video/film directors David Bowie, Jess Cope, Dave Meyers, Emil Nava, Sigur Rós, and Floria Sigismondi; and Instagram impresario Jay Versace. In Resonant MatterLutz Koepnick considers contemporary sound and installation art as a unique laboratory of hospitality amid inhospitable times. Inspired by Ragnar Kjartansson’s nine-channel video installation The Visitors (2012), the book explores resonance-the ability of objects to be affected by the vibrations of other objects-as a model of art’s fleeting promise to make us coexist with things strange and other. of the role of sound in art, of sound art, but to attune our critical encounter with art to art’s own resonant thinking. In Dangerous Mediations: Pop Music in a Philippine Prison Video, Áine Mangaoang explores the 2007 event when an unlikely troupe of 1500 Filipino prisoners became Internet celebrities for their YouTube video of Michael Jackson’s ground-breaking hit ‘Thriller.’ Taking this spectacular dance as a point of departure, Dangerous Mediations explores the disquieting development of prisoners performing punishment to a global, online audience. Combining analysis of this YouTube video with first-hand experiences from fieldwork in the Philippine prison, Áine Mangaoang investigates a wide range of interlocking contexts surrounding this user-generated text to reveal how places of punishment can be transformed into spaces of spectacular entertainment, leisure, and penal tourism.

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