UC Berkeley Department of Film and Media

Department of Film & Media UC Berkeley


Conference on Film and Media

Berkeley Conference on Film and Media: Medium/Environment

Apr 27Apr 28, 2018

Berkeley Film & Media’s 4th biennial conference seeks to bring together leading international media theorists working on questions of “environmental media” broadly conceived.


In recent years, ecological crises stemming from technological transformations under the force of global capital have fueled an “environmental” turn in the humanities and social sciences. Less attention, however, has been devoted to the question of how “medium” and “environment” have become increasingly imbricated. Our living environment--air, earth, ocean, sky--has become saturated by media technologies ranging from planetary satellites, undersea cables, surveillance cameras, and ubiquitous screens, such that our understanding of “medium” as both form and practice has come to be theorized in environmental terms. More than a set of discrete technologies, the very concept of a medium has evolved into a complex ecology with flexible boundaries, seen most readily in the context of infrastructures, systems, and networks. The plural form “media” has become denaturalized from its given distinctions, challenging us to rethink the medium of our living environment.


As part of this mutual transformation between medium and environment the cinema has undergone its own reconstitution. Shaped by the technological and aesthetic pursuit of simulated and augmented environments in the form of 3D or 4D cinema, IMAX, video games, and virtual reality, the cinematic medium has refigured our relationship to space and place, offering new ways of representing and inhabiting media environments. In response to these changes, and with the future of film and media studies in mind, the Department of Film & Media is hosting an international conference on the theme of “Medium/Environment”. The conference is interested in rethinking medium and environment as expanded terms, considering both the critical purchase and potential limits of their theoretical, historiographical, aesthetic, and political implications.


This international, interdisciplinary conference will include plenary speeches, roundtables, panels, and onsite media showcases including an exhibition of virtual reality works at BAMPFA.


Conference participants include: Anna McCarthy (New York University), Antonio Somaini (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3), Francesco Casetti (Yale University), Florian Sprenger (Goethe University Frankfurt), Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Jonathan Sterne (McGill University), Lisa Parks (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Marisa Brandt (Michigan State University), Marc Steinberg (Concordia University), Rahul Mukherjee (University of Pennsylvania), Reinhold Martin (Columbia University), Tung-Hui Hu (University of Michigan), and Yuriko Furuhata (McGill University).


More details to come.