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david.joselit at yale.edu
Tue Jun 19 10:08:54 EDT 2007
My name is David Joselit, and based on my new book, Feedback:
Television Against Democracy
Trebor invited me to pose a few questions to the list.
One of my motivations for working on television of the initial
network era (whose terminal point, in my view, occurs when cable
becomes the dominant delivery system) was my surprise at how TV seems
to drop out of most new media discussions even though its genesis as
a medium, like radio before it, is very similar in its structure to
that of the Internet: military research and development leading to a
technology with uncertain use value; adoption and dissemination by
enthusiasts; and commercial enclosure. I was particularly struck in
my research by how closely the early discourse around cable-when it
was still based in community access-mirrors the early claims made for
the Internet. Is TV irrelevant, or does it embody a possible future
for the Internet?
And secondly, as an art historian I'm attracted by the prospect of
displacing our analysis of images from what they mean-i.e., their
face value-to how they circulate, how they get concentrated (visual
tumors even) as icons that may create publics (think of the Abu
Ghraib photos, but, for those of you who are American and old enough,
Campbells soup!). Is it possible to do for images what Franco
Moretti has done for the novel-create a kind of political geography
or economy? Obviously television and the Internet are two important
public "spaces" structured by the circulation of images.
Thanks for any thoughts on these questions.
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