Critical Media in the Arts: Time, Materiality, Ecology

Arts Building - Lecture Room 3 - University of Birmingham
Arts and Law, Lectures Talks and Workshops
Tuesday 19th June 2018 (10:30-18:30)
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For further information please email Christopher Haworth at

Recent years have seen approaches associated with German Media Theory and Media Archaeology draw particular attention in Anglophone art history.

The ideas of Luhmann, Kittler, and Siegert are regularly enrolled to support post- and anti-humanist accounts of art-historical and epistemic shifts and their relationship to changes in technological infrastructures; to sketch out alternative or counterfactual art histories through the recovery of dead, forgotten, or imaginary media; or to better understand the chemical and material bases of storage media so as to critically evaluate their cost to the environment.

Yet these critical analyses of media are not only the preserve of theoretical writing about art but take place within art practice itself.

Through artifacts, sounds and experiences, new media and sound artists have frequently posed questions about what media ‘are’: what they are made of, materially; what logics govern their development, and what histories these tell; what resources they consume; what ideas they bring into the world and materialise; how they configure subjects; and which skills and knowledges – discursive, theoretical, practical – are required to analyse media.

Drawing together art historians, media theorists and creative practitioners, this event will ask: can attending to artistic engagements with media help support a better understanding of sound and new media art as critical disciplines?


There is no fee to attend this event but booking is required as catering will be provided. Please click here to register your attendance.  

Provisional Programme

Lecture Theatere 3, Arts Building
10:30 Coffee
11:00 Christopher Haworth, introduction + welcome
Session 1
11:15 Douglas Kahn, “Survivable Communication: Trees”
12:15 Patrick Valiquet, “An Ear for Liberalism: Experimental Music Research and Mass Media Education, 1973-1990?”
12:45 Lunch
Session 2
2:00 Eleni Ikoniadou and Alastair Cameron, “Ecstatic Material”
2:30 Matthew Hayler, “Wandering Bodies - Ambient Literature, Cognition, and Technology”
3:00 Break
Session 3
3:15 Thor Magnusson, “Ergodynamics: Towards a terminology beyond ‘guitarplay’”
3:45 Annie Goh, Sonic Cyberfeminisms
4:15 Break
The Dome, Bramall Music Building
5:00 Annie Goh, “GendyTrouble: Cyber*Feminist Computer Music”
5:30 Valentina Vuksic,"Thermal Tripping Through Runtime"
6:00 Drinks reception

This Symposium is co-organised by Christopher Haworth and Valentina Vuksic.

The Symposium is supported by the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music (LCAHM) and the Contemporary Philosophy of Technology Research Group.