MEDIA ECOLOGIES IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN FICTION
MEDIA ECOLOGIES IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN FICTIONS
Italian Association of American Studies Biennial Conference, Milano August 28-30, 2017.
With the arrival of cybernetics and the ensuing digital reorganization of life within communication systems, the notion of media as environments associated to Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, Fredric Kittler, Siegfried Zielinski and others has not simply intensified, making the status of the mass-media as second nature visible in unprecedented ways, but has paved the way to a new technological condition of experience in which the contemporary integration of technology, information, life, and experience has become ubiquitous. In this context, information is “the point of mediation”, the operator that, as Eugene Thacker has argued, “can produce the material, the embodied, the biological, the living – ‘life itself’”(2005, xviii), complicating descriptions about “The World We Inhabit” and adding new shades and conceptual consistency to the provocation that “nature is not natural and can never be naturalized” (Graham Hartman). The conceptual scenario framed by this condition has solicited speculative forays on the present and future evolution of planetary life, ecologies and human and non-human memory by literature and philosophy alike.
This panel invites proposals that interrogate how questions of media ecologies and the cybernetic condition of experience have entered literary narratives and American contemporary fictions about the world we inhabit. Proposals may discuss media specific or trans-medial explorations of topics that include, for instance:
- “life” and “environments” in media systems
- experience, consciousness and cognition in ambient media
- cyberecologies, network cultures and evolutionary narratives
- narrative agency and distributed information
- paleofuturism and media ecologies
- digital dystopias
- speculative remappings of the subject/object distinction onto human/non-human (technical, informatics, animal) formations and networks
- medium-specific ways of constructing human/non-human ecologies
- narrative consciousness in/and cybernetic environments and media systems
- artificial “nature” and evolution
- Pattern Recognitions: data, control, and numeric rationality
- scaling entropy and catastrophe: science, media, discourse.
- scaling life in narrative and digital art (photography, film, virtual environments, games)
- inhuman narratives