UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley

Courses / Graduate

Spring 2018

240-002 | CCN: 32626

Graduate Topics in Film: Medium/Environment

Weihong Bao,

If Marshall McLuhan surprised us half a century ago by conceiving the content of a medium as another medium and thus posited medium in an ecology and living environment, the terms “medium” and “environment” have undergone substantial transformation and increasingly intersect in the recent years. This course pits “medium” vis-à-vis “environment” through three critical excursions: a philosophical inquiry that pairs phenomenology, theoretical biology, and philosophy of technology to reconsider matter, space, and technology advanced by critical ecology and new materialist thinking; a material technological inquiry that tracks technological changes in the materiality and operation of media with increasing attention to infrastructure, systems, and networks; an aesthetic inquiry that samples environmental design and politics of the world from early optical media to modernist practices, from the “organizational complex” in built environment to the “democratic surrounds” of expanded cinema, from ubiquitous screen to media architecture, from cloud computing to ambience design, from configurations of mood and atmosphere in literature, theater, film to ambient television in the urban environment. Readings include Martin Heidegger, Jakob von Uexküll, Mark Hansen, Timothy Morton, Niklas Luhmann, Reinhold Martin, Fred Turner, Peter Sloterdijk, John Peters, Francesco Casetti, Tung-Hui Hu, Yuriko Furuhata, among others.