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170126 UE Exercise Course "Media Analysis" (2021S)

'VIRTUAL' Realities - Between Postcolonial Media Activism and Black Lives Matter

Continuous assessment of course work
REMOTE

Registration/Deregistration

Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).

Details

max. 40 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The class will take place online until further notice!

Dates:

MO 08.03.2021 16.45-18.15
MO 22.03.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 19.04.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 19.04.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 03.05.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 03.05.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 17.05.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 17.05.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 31.05.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 31.05.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 14.06.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 14.06.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 28.06.2021 16.45-20.00
MO 28.06.2021 16.45-20.00

Monday 08.03. 16:45 - 18:15 Digital
Monday 22.03. 16:45 - 20:00 Digital
Monday 19.04. 16:45 - 20:00 Digital
Monday 03.05. 16:45 - 20:00 Digital
Monday 17.05. 16:45 - 20:00 Digital
Monday 31.05. 16:45 - 20:00 Digital
Monday 14.06. 16:45 - 20:00 Digital
Monday 28.06. 16:45 - 20:00 Digital

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

The seminar examines forms of virtual and other time-based media as post-colonial empowerment strategies and in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, focusing on virtual, ephemeral, interactive, and utopian approaches. The keywords 'virtual' and ‘time based’ are understood in two ways. On the one hand, they refer to media and other technologies which rely on time and space as central factors, and which generate an 'extended' experience of artificial realities which range from unexpected camera angles and edits to 360° video or augmented reality experiences and formats that enable immersive interaction. On the other hand, in the context of post-colonial and anti-racist theory and practice, 'virtuality' and ‘time’ are concepts which capture the experiences of marginalized people in a hegemonic society throughout different economies of time – the now, before, and/or the (imagined) future(s).The seminar will examine different junctions between these two concepts by interrogating the multifaceted relationship between images (as captured and projected via virtual media, and other time-based interventions) and time—historical, individual, and communal. It is assumed that in a time of extreme global power and distribution gaps and the aftermath of extreme asymmetrical experiences of violence, which characterized the 20th century, virtual media, and other time-based interventions play a decisive role in shaping our sense of place and belonging by connecting us with the past and shaping our present and our imagination of the future. In the post-colonial context, virtual and time-based media are used to make persistent mechanisms of oppression visible, or to give alternative answers to 'Western' dominated discourses on development and progress.
Often times, these formats are linked to traditions of afro-futurism or magical realism. Questions of history and identity are often inherently negotiated even where, at first glance, science fiction or futuristic formats appear to be in the foreground. Special attention is therefore paid to projects that adopt elements such as silence, humor, magic and horror as their aesthetic strategies in order to make the inexpressible relatable and enable processes of negotiation. The focus of the class is on virtual media and other time-based interventions from African and Afro-American contexts that adopt digital technologies to address trauma, memory, and historicity. 360° and VR technologies play an increasing role in commemoration practices in the context of asymmetric violence, which is also true for post-genocide and post-colonial contexts. Colonial experiences are, thematized in the 360° video LET THIS BE A WARNING by the Kenyan Nest Collective, in which the viewer is placed in the threatening position of the 'other' on an imaginary planet via VR glasses. Interactive online formats can serve as forms of digital remembrance like Usher’s CHAINS, which, in order to commemorate victims of racist police violence in the USA, uses facial recognition technologies to make it impossible for viewers to 'look away' even in front of their devices at home, to name but a few examples.
Traumatic experiences and their effects on subjective as well as collective levels are characterized by the fact that they destroy existing strategies of meaning production which leads to the difficulty or even impossibility of articulation. Media and technologies are seen as potential instruments for creating meaning and communicative practices and for generating knowledge and common sense, and by doing so form the basis of either oppressive systems or resistance and empowerment. What cannot be articulated under the given social conditions of the present, is often expressed in an aesthetically mediated or encrypted manner. Artists and activists use films and audiovisual forms of representation, and virtual and time-based media in particular, to create visibility for alternative realities and to challenge the Status quo.

Assessment and permitted materials

AIMS:
Students get an overview of post-colonial and anti-racist theories with a special focus on media theories. They will get familiarized with contemporary works and interventions rooted in global anti-racist and post-colonial activism and learn to contextualize them with political and theoretical discourses. In doing so, they train in reflexive and discourse analytical thinking, especially with regard to representations and forms of 'othering'. Furthermore, students will deal with both activist and ‘mainstream’ approaches to virtual technologies and learn to reflect on them (as well as the parameters of defining these attributions) critically. The class will encourage students to see art and media productions of all kinds as political interventions which consciously or unconsciously position themselves within the socio-economic context they are produced and received in, and which need to be understood in their historical dimension. In addition, they will learn to reflect on the connection of media theory and practice and learn to profoundly analyze time-based and virtual media productions.

ASSESSMENT
Students will regularly read and excerpt, summarize, or comment on texts on post-colonial and anti-racist media theory. Videos and artistic works will be viewed by students individually in preparation of the class or collectively during the class sessions, where specific media formats and theoretical approaches to time-based and VR formats will be discussed. Additionally, short creative or reflexive exercises will be given occasionally and serve as a base for further discussions in class. Students will hold short presentations (individually or in small groups) on subjects of their own choosing within the scope of the seminar topics and write a mid-term essay. The final project can consist of either a scholarly essay or a practical artistic work or concept accompanied by a reflection paper.

Readiness to read texts, view audiovisual works and converse and write in advanced high school level English (lecturers will help and advice!) is required.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Regular active participation: 10%; excerpts, summaries and regular short exercises 10 %; mid-term essay: 20 %; presentation in class: 25%; final essay or practical project 35 %. The final grade results from the average of the weighted partial performances. Each of these partial assignments has to be accomplished at least with grade 4 (genügend) in order to succeed in the course.
Regular presence is also a requirement to positively pass the course. Because the class takes place biweekly, absence can only be accepted during one session (or equivalent amount of time).
Students who are not present during the first session without prior(!) communication with the lecturers will be signed off in order to allow other students to succeed.
For those students who intent to write a Bachelor thesis within the framework of the class the presentation in class and the mid-term and final essay/project will be omitted. Instead, they should hand in a preliminary bibliography/ source list for their thesis by mid-term. The bachelor thesis must be written in English and on a theme related to the class which needs to be agreed upon with the lecturers, within the first half of the term. It has to be written in accordance with academic standards and consist of approximately 40.000 characters. Latest submission deadline for the Bachelor theses is July 15, 2021.

Examination topics

Class itinerary will be made known to the students in the first session.

Reading list

Will be communicated to the students in the first session

Association in the course directory

Last modified: We 21.04.2021 11:26