Online / Zoom
Prof. Susan Murray (New York University) "'How to See Where You Can’t Look': Vision and Early CCTV" (Useful Television Standing Seminar)
Mittwoch, 3. Mai, 17h00, online. Zoom-Link: Useful Television – Standing Seminar
Time: May 3, 2023 05:00 PM Amsterdam
Join Zoom Meeting: https://uva-live.zoom.us/j/82434310908
Meeting ID: 824 3431 0908
About the Useful Television Standing Seminar
In 2022, we (Anne-Katrin Weber and Markus Stauff) hosted two workshops (in Basel and Amsterdam respectively) to discuss historical and conceptual questions related to contexts in which television gets applied as a useful tool, rather than a mass medium. The examples ranged from medical, military and industrial applications of television technology to its operational use in sports. We partly built on older debates in film studies (e.g. non-theatrical cinema; useful film) and wanted to bring television into this debate.
We think that looking at useful television allows both, to broaden and to complicate our understanding of what media do and how they do it, and to see hidden (and complex) processes of mediation in practices that normally are not perceived as media practices. TV’s features that differentiate it from film and photography made it attractive for different contexts of use. In TV for example, the recording function was a later development and the transmission of ephemeral images created specific potentials and risks for its usefulness; for TV the transition from analog to digital was less the drama of losing indexicality and rather a re-organization of access to the image. Not least, the boundaries but also interrelations between the mostly domestic mass medium of TV and its useful application in institutional contexts might be more complex. Between the monitoring of nuclear experiments and Jane Fonda’s Aerobic videos, television’s useful images, to us, seem an open and exciting field to map out.
To tackle this task, we would like to invite you to a regular online seminar that would allow for an international and interdisciplinary discussion of such questions. For the moment we plan to hold two or three meetings per semester for which we invite guest speakers, discuss the participants’ work in process or new and old publications that seem of relevance.
At the end of the first meeting, we would like to discuss together how to proceed.
We are very happy to have Susan Murray open the dialogue with a presentation on the history of closed-circuit TV.
Susan Murray is a media studies scholar and historian who uses television as an entry point to analyze post-war era technology, culture, design, aesthetics, and industry. A 2021 Guggenheim fellow, her research has also been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the NYU Center for the Humanities, and the American Association of University Women. She is the author ofBright Signals: A History of Color Television (Duke University Press, 2018), which was awarded the 2019 Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the 2019 Michael Nelson Book Prize by the International Association for Media and History, and Hitch Your Antenna to the Stars: Early Television and Broadcast Stardom. Her work has appeared in journals such as Public Culture, Screen, The Journal of Visual Culture, and Technology and Culture.
In preparation of the seminar, you are invited to read:Susan Murray, ‘The New Surgical Amphitheater: Color Television and Medical Education in Postwar America’, Technology and Culture 61, no. 3 (2020): 772–97, https://doi.org/10.1353/tech.2020.0073.
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