9 August 2012
Venue: Room 501 (Pat Hanan Room), Arts 2 (Building 207)
Host: Misha Kavka, Jenny Stümer, Kevin Veale
There is broad agreement that cultural and media studies have undergone an “affective turn,” as heralded in 2007 by Patricia T. Clough. Developed from the Tomkins-inspired work of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and the Deleuze-inspired work of Brian Massumi in the mid-1990s, affect theory has shifted critical attention from semiosis to somatics, subjectivity to interrelationality, and cognition to feeling. In this panel we seek to interweave our own approaches to affect theory through three foci, each related to a question of mediation: the screen, the face and the gamer.
Addressing the screen, Misha will argue that, whatever its size or associated platform, the contemporary screen demands to be reconsidered as surface, specifically as affectively permeable sur-face. With reference to the Face 2 Face Project, Jenny will draw out the affective elements of the face as a screen of proximity, borrowing from Levinas to argue that prior to relationality, prior to meaning, the face demands an affective response. Developing the connection between response and responsibility, Kevin will argue that the affective experience of videogame play is tied to a feeling of responsibility for a peopled, if virtual, gameworld. In all three of these approaches, affect provides a frame through which to examine mediated individuation, thereby reminding us that feeling is a mode of mediation in its own right.
Misha Kavka teaches in the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies (FTVMS). She is the author of two books on reality television, Reality Television, Intimacy and Affect (Palgrave, 2008) and Reality TV (Edinburgh UP, 2012). She is also the co-editor, with Jennifer Lawn and Mary Paul, of Gothic New Zealand: The Darker Side of Kiwi Culture (Otago 2006) and, with Elisabeth Bronfen, of Feminist Consequences: Theory for the New Century (Columbia 2001). Her current research focuses on the affective materiality of old versus new media.
Jenny Stümer is a PhD student in FTVMS. Her thesis is entitled “(Re)Facing the Wall: Screening through Alienation and Separation” and investigates the way in which political walls, both as metaphorical and material impositions of political conflict, ultimately mediate and thereby interrupt the traumatic politics of division upon which they rest. Jenny’s research interests lie in Visual Politics, Trauma, Affect and Intimacy as well as Critical Theory and Psychoanalysis.
Kevin Veale did both his undergraduate and Masters degrees through the FTVMS department, and his Master's Thesis focused on storytelling in videogames. He has recently completed a PhD on storytelling in new media, which engages with how textual structure shapes the affective experience of hypertext fictions, webcomics, videogames and Alternate Reality Games.