Emergent Forms of Speculative Media
Call for Panelists
2018 Annual Meeting of the American Studies Association – “States of Emergence”
Panel: Emergent Forms of Speculative Media
Treating estrangement as a kind of epistemic method, the term speculative media denotes the intersection between speculative fiction’s ‘subjunctivity’— the rigor of SF’s “what if?”— and media theory’s tradition of investigating media technologies through their underlying paradigms of perception. The recent return to media specificity highlights the ways in which new technologies can be conceived of as bringing into being new forms of possibilities. Each media experiment, then, may be conceptualized as a kind of radical estrangement, speculating new worlds into being.
Speculative media encompass new (or long-forgotten) ways of (re)mediating this world (or other worlds). They include wearable technologies, CGI, science fiction novels, molecular gastronomy, the EEG, and the blockchain. Speculative media are simultaneously modes of inquiry, fundamentally tied to epistemic concerns, and radically open to the otherwordly emergences— be they tentacular, transtemporal, or utopian.
This panel welcomes scholars working at the intersections of Science and Technology Studies, SF studies, and/or media studies to consider emergent forms of knowledge potentiated by speculative media. How might new, imagined or real, ways of integrating information into the senses through touch or emotion alter our connection to the data we receive? When faced with familiar media formats, what new or long-forgotten modes of interpretation can we uncover and what do they reveal? How are systems estranged by the linguistic, visual, or mathematical systems used to represent them? How does a state of emergency or crisis mediate, and what forms of speculation does such a state foster? In the history of technoscience and its many manifestations, which radical, parallel counter-histories can be uncovered? How can SF’s sense of the possible estrange and radically remediate the science, technology and culture of its author’s homeworld?