Lusory Illusion: Anamorphic Play Between Game and Screen

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

From Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors to Robert Lazzarini’s skulls, anamorphic artworks explore the tension between mathematical models of vision and an embodied experience of space. This talk will undertake a brief history of the use of anamorphosis as a philosophical tool for investigating digital media in terms of human phenomenology and then turn to an analysis of how haptics, visuality and space are configured through anamorphic techniques in Sony’s Echochrome series, levelHead by Julian Oliver, and Mark ten Bosch’s Miegakure. While The Ambassadors is famous for its anamorphically skewed skull, a classic memento mori, this talk proposes that the anamorphic effects of videogames can be more accurately described as a memento mortem mortis: not reminders of human mortality, but of a nonhuman death of death. By foregrounding the impossibility of ever fully resolving the human experience of computational space, the memento mortem mortis in these “anamorphic games” gestures toward experiential domains altogether indifferent to human phenomenology to create allegories of the beyond.

Stephanie Boluk is a media scholar and post doctoral fellow in the Media Studies Program at Vassar College. Located at the intersection of cultural studies, media archeology, and the digital humanities, her teaching and research incorporate digital-born modes of criticism with traditional literary hermeneutic approaches. Her research investigates applications of seriality—as a narrative, aesthetic, political, economic and technical construct—in a diverse range of cultural texts spanning from historical plague writing to computer programming.
Sponsored by the Culture & Media Department and the Dean's Office of Eugene Lang College.


6 E. 16th Street, Room 1618

Free; no tickets or reservations required; seating is first-come first-served

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