Assistant Professor of Culture and Media
The central focus of my research and teaching is on how media-old and new-transform both everyday experience and expanded global, political spheres. As part of my work as a media historian and theorist, I am interested in film, post-cinema, animation, literature, cultural theory, and science and technology studies. My research is motivated by a search for intersections between only apparently divergent domains. Similarly, in my courses, I encourage students to connect their daily engagements with media of all kinds to the archaeologies and larger social structures and forces that inform them.
In my first book, The Animatic Apparatus: Animation, Vitality, and The Futures of the Image (Zero Books, 2018), I show how the ascendance of animation and simulation shift the concept of “life” in contemporary culture and call on us to rethink central concepts of ethics in response to these changes. Media examples, drawn from animation, anime, pop culture, and the historical imaginaries of artificial life, feature prominently.
In my current book project, “Rendering Worlds,” I investigate how understanding lives as media forms and media as life forms opens a way to address the actual state of emergency today: how to enable pluralism and promote ecological regeneration in the era of planetary computing and post-truth. I demonstrate how the technical and aesthetic affordances of post-cinema, digital animation, and VR allow us to create and experience worlds that model different experiences of vitality and liveliness, and different forms of sociality, in existing worlds and for possible futures.
My third book project, “ZoeTropes,” takes a longer view of mediatic entanglements with techniques and logics of the living. From eighteenth-century tableaux vivants and proto-cinematic optical toys to affective computing and ALife programs in digital cinema, I investigate how media technologies and texts influence and produce our conceptions of life, namely, the ways in which we distinguish animate beings from inanimate ones, organic from inorganic, the lively from the inert. I consider, in turn, how these new forms inform and contemporary debates on the proper beginnings, endings, and uses of “life” in and beyond biopolitics.
PhD, Film, Literature, and Culture, University of Southern California;
BA, English and Film, University of Colorado
Society for Cinema and Media Studies
Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts
The Animatic Apparatus: Animation, Vitality and the Futures of the Image (Zero Books, 2018)
Acting and Performance in Moving Image Culture: Bodies, Screens, and Renderings, edited with Dieter Mersch and Jeorg Sternagel, Transcript Verlag, Berlin, print 2012, e-book 2014.
Selected Essays and Articles
“Rendering Worlds: Animation-Philosophy, Cosmotechnics, Conviviality” Animationstudies 2.0, 2018.
“How Does Animation Change our Concept of Life and What Kind of Ethics Does it Require?” An interview with Public Seminar, 2018.
Excerpt from The Animatic Apparatus, “In Search of an Ethics for the Age of Animation,” Public Seminar, 2018.
"Five Theses on Virtual Reality and Sociality," Public Seminar, 2017.
“Doll Parts (or, Mamoru Oshii’s Kleist Crisis),” Waking Life: Kino zwischen Technik und Leben, ed. Adina Lauenburger, Chris Tedjasukmana, Lisa Åkervall, Sulgi Lie. B-books Verlag, Berlin, 2016.
“Animation and the Medium of Life: Media Ethology, An-Ontology, Ethics,” Special Issue, “Animating Biophilosophy,” ed. Phillip Thurtle, Inflexions: A Journal of Research-Creation, (March 2014), www.inflexions.org
“The Subject of the Phantasm,” “Feminist Media Theory and Iterations of Social Difference,” ed. Jonathan Beller, Special Issue of The Scholar and Feminist Online barnard.edu/sfonline/polyphonic/index.htm, Summer 2012.
“Living Pictures: Gesture Beyond Cinema,” in Acting and Performance in Moving Image Culture: Bodies, Screens, and Renderings, ed. Deborah Levitt, Dieter Mersch, and Jeorg Sternagel, Transcript Verlag, Berlin, print 2012, e-book 2014.
“Gesture” and “Spectacle,” The Agamben Dictionary, ed. Alex Murray and Jessica Whyte, Edinburgh University Press, 2011.
“Media and Biopolitics: Notes on ‘Notes on Gesture’” in The Work of Giorgio Agamben: Law, Literature, Life, ed. Justin Clemens, Nick Heron and Alex Murray, University of Edinburgh Press, 2008, paper 2010.
Media history and theory; Cinema; Animation; VR and AR; Literature; Intermediality; Poststructuralist theory; Science and technology studies
Biopolitics and Media