Technologies of Knowing – Fall 2014

TechKnow logo (start 2)

First Forum
Technologies of Knowing
October 24-25, 2014

8th Annual Critical Studies Graduate Student Conference
School of Cinematic Arts
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

All presentations and procedures held in RZC 111

Map to Robert Zemeckis Center (RZC)

Conference Program

Friday, October 24

Roundtable Discussion
“Techknowlegy and Pedagogy”

  • Vicki Callahan, Associate Professor of Cinema Practice, School of Cinematic Arts
  • Alice Gambrell, Associate Professor of English
  • Andreas Kratky, Assistant Professor, Media Arts + Practice, School of Cinematic Arts
  • Tara McPherson, Associate Professor of Critical Studies
  • Henry Jenkins (Moderator), Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts, and Education


Keynote Address

Erkki Huhtamo
Professor of Design Media Arts
University of California, Los Angeles

“Tracing the Topoi, or How to do Media Archaeology”


USC Traditions
3551 Trousdale Pkwy

Saturday, October 25

Breakfast & Check-In

Opening Remarks

Panel 1: Theories of the Digital

Moderator: Nitin Govil, Assistant Professor of Critical Studies

William McClain (USC Annenberg School of Communication)
“New Media and the Social Hermeneutic Turn”

Juan Llamas Rodriguez (University of California, Santa Barbara)
“Towards an Epistemology of Digital Distribution Technologies”

Bree Russell (USC School of Cinematic Arts)
Visitors: Bodies of Knowledge”

Panel 2: Case Studies: Media and Technology

Moderator: Laura Isabel Serna, Assistant Professor of Critical Studies

Michael LaRocco (USC School of Cinematic Arts)
“Old Formats Die Hard: The Turn of the (21st) Century Video Masquerade”

Panpan Yang (New York University)
“Private Dancers, Forgotten Technologies: Criticizing Technological Determinism through the Rotoscoping Process”

Maria Zalewska (USC School of Cinematic Arts)
“Holography, Historical Indexicality, and the Holocaust”

Jung-Hsien Lin (Claremont Graduate University)
“Technologies of the Real, Techknowledge of Love: On Anime, Fetishism, and Hyper(Real)ism of the Lacanian Gaze”


Panel 3: Information Gathering: Social Media, Surveillance, Viewing Bodies

Moderator: Anikó Imre, Associate Professor of Critical Studies

Justin Shanitkvich (Department of English, University of Washington)
“The Incidental Discovery: Technological Anxiety in the Age of DIY Innovation”

Isaac Rooks (USC School of Cinematic Arts)
“Pandopticon: The Panda Cam and Animal Surveillance”

Erik Stayton (MIT Comparative Media Studies)
“Vehicles of Ideology: Knowing and Being Known by the Self-Driving Car”

Sophia Serrano (USC School of Cinematic Arts)
“The Media and Internet Presence of Mexican Drug Cartels”

About the Presenters

MICHAEL LaROCCO is a PhD student and filmmaker at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  Both his academic and creative work investigate the evolution of video technologies and their application in filmmaking.

JUNG-HSIEN LIN is a PhD student at the Department of Cultural Studies at Claremont Graduate University.  Her research interests are in the Lacanian theory of perversion, desire and ethics.

WILLIAM McCLAIN is a PhD candidate at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  His work focuses on the problem of the interpretation of text in new media spaces and the relationship between hermeneutic practice and technology.  His work has appeared in Journal of Film and Video, New Review of Film and Television Studies, and International Journal of Communication, among other venues.

JUAN LLAMAS RODRIGUEZ is a Research Assistant with the Media Industries Project, an editorial member of Media Fields Journal, and a PhD student in Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  His research focuses on the practices and materialities of informal media distribution, creative labor, genre, and star studies.  He also does work on Latino/a media industries and production cultures around the border.

ISAAC ROOKS is a PhD student at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  He earned an M.A. from Indiana University’s Department of Communication and Culture, specializing in media studies and rhetoric.  His research interests include depictions of animals and the environment in genre fiction – particularly films in which animals attack.

BREE RUSSELL is a MA student in Critical Studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  She graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, where she received a BA in Film Studies.  While there, she wrote a thesis entitled “There is No Happy Love: Misogyny in 8 femmes.” Her research interests include body politics and feminist studies in genre films and masculinity in post-9/11 America.

ERIK STAYTON is an SM candidate at MIT Comparative Media Studies, interested in the cultural and social effects of new technologies and new modes of technological work—especially the widespread adoption of algorithmic systems in everyday life. Currently, he is researching how engineers, legal scholars, and citizens apply notions of responsibility and agency to understand self-driving cars. He is a writer, designer, and programmer with an ScB in physics and English from Brown University. He also performs programming work as part of the software development partnership Cinnamon Bird.

SOPHIA SERRANO is a PhD student in Critical Studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  She has a BA in Film and Media Studies from the University of Chicago and a MA in Critical Studies at USC.  Her research interests include Latin American cinema and the use of Internet media and independent filmmaking for political and social subversion.

JUSTIN SHANITKVICH is a PhD student in English at the University of Washington. He primarily works with American independent cinema, digital animation, and science fiction, and is currently at work, as the Philip Bernstein Memorial Scholar, on a project regarding Jewish identity as it is represented in short-form animation from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.

PANPAN YANG recently received her MA from Cinema Studies program, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. Comfortably working as a graphic designer, animator and game developer, she draws on a wide range of graphic technologies, gained through creative practices, in generating her scholarship. Her research interests include animation history, transmedia storytelling and interactive media. She has published articles in IAFOR Journal of Asian Studies and International Journal of Comic Art.

MARIA ZALEWSKA is a PhD student at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Her research background is in area studies (M.Phil. in Russian and East European Studies, University of Oxford), as well as in film and humanities (BA and MA in Humanities, SFSU). Her M.A. thesis, “History, Film, and Politics of Cultural Memory in Post-1989 East-Central Europe” received the Graduate Student Award for Distinguished Achievement from SFSU. Her research interests include cinematic representations of the Holocaust in post-1989 Europe; national and transnational modes and media of memorialization; politics of technologized memory; place and space in cinema; history as film/film as history; political economy of film.

About the Moderators

NITIN GOVIL is Assistant Professor of Critical Studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is the co-author of Global Hollywood (2001) and Global Hollywood 2 (2005). His research revolves around global media, with a focus on film culture in comparative contexts. His new book is Orienting Hollywood: A Century of Film Culture Between Los Angeles and Bombay (NYU Press, 2015) and he is also completing a co-authored book on the Indian film industries. His new project is called Out of Alignment: Transnational Media and the Cold War. He sits on the editorial boards of Cinema Journal, BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, Media Fields Journal, and Media Industries.

ANIKÓ IMRE is Associate Professor of Critical Studies and the Interdivisional Media Arts and Practice Doctoral Program (iMAP) and Director of Graduate Studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  She has published widely on media globalization, (post)socialism and identities. She is the author of Identity Games: Globalization and the Transformation of Post-Communist Media Cultures, editor of East European Cinemas, The Blackwell Companion to East European Cinemas, and co-editor of Transnational Feminism in Film and Media, Popular Television in the New Europe; of special issues of The Journal of Popular Film and Television on Television Entertainment in the New Europe, the European Journal of Cultural Studies on Media Globalization and Post-Socialist Identities, and of Feminist Media Studies, on Transcultural Feminist Mediations.  She co-edits the Palgrave book series Global Cinemas and sits on the editorial boards of the journals Television and New Media, NECSUS_European Journal of Media Studies, and Studies in East European Cinema.

LAURA ISABEL SERNA is Assistant Professor of Critical Studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  She is the author of Making Cinelandia: American Films and Mexican Film Culture (Duke University Press, 2014).  She has published essays on a range of topics in Mexican film culture during the silent era including border film production, censorship and nationalism, and regional film cultures.  She regularly teaches courses on international silent cinema, Latino/o Media, Latin American and Mexican Cinema, and film history.  She is also a member of the editorial board of the new online journal International Women’s Media Histories (University of California Press) and the advisory board of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA project: “Latin America to Hollywood: Latino Film Culture in Los Angeles, 1967-2017,” an exhibition and conference program that will be mounted in 2017.

About the Roundtable Participants

VICKI CALLAHAN is an Associate Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in the Division of Media Arts + Practice.  She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses focused on the integration of history, theory, and practice, with attention to issues of digital culture, social media + remix, transmedia, and media strategies for social change.  She is author of Zones of Anxiety: Movement, Musidora, and the Crime Serials of Louis Feuillade (2005) and editor of the collection, Reclaiming the Archive: Feminism and Film History (2010).

ALICE GAMBRELL is Associate Professor of English at USC.  She teaches, writes, and makes experimental projects about relationships between physical and digital media, and is particularly interested in mixtures of or points of contact between the two.  Her book in progress (Making Work) looks at below-the-line labor as visible and invisible presence in a range of artforms that mark the analog/digital shift.  Gambrell published her first book, Women Intellectuals, Modernism, and Difference, in the “Cultural Margins” series at Cambridge University Press.  Her Stolen Time Archive (a digital collaboration with artist Raegan Kelly) appeared in the first issue of Vectors.  Gambrell’s published research includes essays on stop motion animation, fashion journalism, the history of feminist theory, and the pleasures and torments of office work.  She directed USC’s Center for Feminist Research from 2001-2004.

HENRY JENKINS is the Provost’s Professor of Communication, Cinematic Arts, and Journalism at USC and the founder and former Co-Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program. Jenkins has published more than fifteen books on various aspects of new media, popular culture, and public life, starting with Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture in 1992. His most recent books have included Reading in a Participatory Culture: Remixing Moby-Dick in the Literature Classroom (With Wyn Kelley, Katie Clinton, Jenna McWilliams, Ricardo Pitts-Wiley and Erin Reilly, Teacher College Press, 2013) and Spreadable Media: Creating Meaning and Value in a Networked Culture ( With Sam Ford and Joshua Green, New York University Press, 2013). His current book projects include By Any Media Necessary: Mapping Youth and Participatory Politics (with Sangita Shresthova, Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, Liana Gamber-Thompson, and Arely Zimmerman); Participatory Culture and Learning (with danah boyd and Mimi Ito); and Comics… And Stuff. In addition to his academic publishing, he blogs regularly at

ANDREAS KRATKY is a media artist and Assistant Professor in the Divisions of Interactive Media and Games Division and Media Arts + Practice at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  He was the director of the Interdivisional Media Arts + Practice Ph.D. program iMAP, a pioneering program dedicated to integrated theory and practice research in the arts and humanities.  Prior to his time at USC, Kratky was the director of the Multimedia lab at the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Kratky’s work is broadly interdisciplinary and comprises research in human computer interaction and digital humanities as well as numerous award winning media art projects like “That’s Kyogen,” the interactive installation and DVD “Bleeding Through – Layers of Los Angeles 1920-1986,” the algorithmic cinema system “Soft Cinema,” and the interactive costume projection in the opera “The Jew of Malta.”  His work has been shown internationally in Europe, the USA, Japan, and Korea, in institutions like the ICA in London, ICC in Tokyo, HDKW in Berlin, Centre George Pompidou in Paris, and REDCAT in Los Angeles. His research is widely published and several of his art works are published as interactive media on DVD and in art catalogues.  Kratky has won several awards for his work and held residencies in the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, and the Baltic Center for Contemporary Arts, Gateshead, UK.

TARA McPHERSON is Associate Professor of Critical Studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  She is a core faculty member of the IMAP program, USC’s innovative, practice based-Ph.D., and also an affiliated faculty member in the American Studies and Ethnicity Department.  Her research engages the cultural dimensions of media, including the intersection of gender, race, affect, and place.  She has a particular interest in digital media.  Here, her research focuses on the digital humanities, early software histories, gender, and race, as well as upon the development of new tools and paradigms for digital publishing, learning, and authorship.

She is author of the award-winning Reconstructing Dixie: Race, Gender and Nostalgia in the Imagined South, co-editor of Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture and of Transmedia Frictions: The Digital, The Arts + the Humanities, and editor of Digital Youth, Innovation and the Unexpected, part of the MacArthur Foundation series on Digital Media and Learning. She is currently completing a monograph about her lab’s work and process, Designing for Difference, for Harvard University Press.  She is the Founding Editor of Vectors [], a multimedia peer-reviewed journal affiliated with the Open Humanities Press, and is a founding editor of the MacArthur-supported International Journal of Learning and Media.  She is the lead PI on the new authoring platform, Scalar, and for the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture []. Her research has been funded by the Mellon, Ford, Annenberg, and MacArthur Foundations, as well as by the NEH.

About the Keynote Speaker

ERKKI HUHTAMO is a professor at UCLA, departments of Design Media Arts and Film, Television, and Digital Media. He holds a PhD in Cultural History from the University of Turku, Finland. He is a media archaeologist, author, and exhibition curator. At UCLA his areas are the history and theory of media culture and media arts. He is known internationally as a pioneer of an emerging approach called media archaeology. It excavates forgotten, neglected and suppressed media-cultural phenomena, helping us to penetrate beyond canonized “grand narratives” of media culture. He has also written about the work of many media artists, including Paul deMarinis, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Golan Levin, Bernie Lubell and Ken Feingold. Professor Huhtamo’s most recent books are Media Archaeology. Approaches, Applications, and Implications (ed. with Dr. Jussi Parikka, University of California Press, 2011) and the large monograph Illusions in Motion. Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles (The MIT Press, 2013). He is currently working on three books: one on interactive media (The MIT Press, under contract), another on the history of mechanical theaters and yet another on “Media Archaeology as Topos Study.”

He has curated numerous exhibitions and events, including the major international exhibition Alien Intelligence (KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, 2000). He has served in many art exhibition and festival juries, including Siggraph, Ars Electronica, and the Interactive Media Festival.  He has lectured widely in Europe, the United States, Japan, and elsewhere, and written and directed television series about media culture, including Archaeology of the Moving Image (YLE, The Finnish Broadcasting Corporation, 1995-96).  He has also adapted his ideas to stage works.

About the Conference Organizers

HEATHER BLACKMORE is a PhD candidate in Critical Studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  Her research interests include historical filmmaking tools and materials, animation, documentary, comics, interactive media, and the questions, problems, and possibilities that arise when human bodies encounter and interact with media technologies.

ZdC President: Jeremy Heilman

ZdC Vice President: Sebnem Baran

ZdC Academic Chair: Sophia Serrano

ZdC Social Chairs: Jacob Bohrod and Bree Russell

Website: Andy Myers

Budgeting: Clifford Galiher

Photography: Sebnem Baran, Andy Myers

Spectator Special Issue Editors: Sonia Misra, Maria Zalewska

Thank you: Alex Ago, Larz Anderson, Whitney Banks, Rene Bruckner, David Burrola, Jon Haaz, Shannon Mansion, Ashley Khakshouri, Dana Knowles, Akira Mizuta Lippit, Catherine Peiper, Will Price, William Smith, Marina Stabile, Alan Starbuck, Larnell Stoval, Kevin Tancharoen, Garrett Warren, Alicia White, Bill Whittington