May 3, 2019 — Will Carroll

Please join us on Friday, May 3, 2019 from 11:00am-12:30pm in Cobb 311 for the third meeting of the Mass Culture Workshop for the Spring Quarter. We are delighted to have Will Carroll, PhD candidate at the University of Chicago in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies and Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Will will be presenting an article in-progress titled “The Unexpected Encounter of Two Parallel Lines: Urban Space in the Films of Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai.”

Will’s article is available for download here.
Please do not circulate without permission.
Please email either Gary [gkafer@uchicago.edu] or Cooper [cooperlong@uchicago.edu] for the password.

Refreshment will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you!

Yours in Mass Cult,
Gary and Cooper


The Unexpected Encounter of Two Parallel Lines: Urban Space in the Films of Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai

This paper considers the formal articulation of urban space in the films of Johnnie To & Wai Ka-fai, particularly the similarities and differences between the two primary genres the filmmakers work in (crime films and romantic comedies) and their respective distribution circuits and target audiences. Drawing from recent scholarship on urban space in Hong Kong, Chinese, and broader East Asian cinema, I argue that their films in both genres hinge on spatial relationships that are specific to rapidly transforming metropolises. However, I contend that the films, while similar in their approach to space, differ in their approach to place: the crime films tend to emphasize the a specific neighborhood or building within Hong Kong, while the romantic comedies tend to be set in generic and interchangeable urban environments.

William Carroll is a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago. He is pursuing a joint degree in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies and Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. His main research interests include Japanese Cinema from the 1920s to the 1960s, cinephilia, and international popular genre cinemas. His work has been published in the Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, and he has a forthcoming article in Cinéma&Cie 32. His dissertation is entitled ‘The Depth of Flatness and the Voice of Silence: Suzuki Seijun and 1960s Japanese Film Theory.’

April 26 — James J. Hodge

Please join us on Friday, April 26, 2019 at 11:00am in Cobb 311 for the second meeting of the Mass Culture Workshop for the Spring Quarter. We are delighted to welcome James J. Hodge, Assistant Professor in the Department of English and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University. Professor Hodge will be presenting a talk entitled “The Subject of Always-On Computing.” An abstract is available below.

There will be no pre-circulated paper. Instead, we invite you to please watch Professor Hodge’s recently published video essay, “Touch”
http://www.triquarterly.org/node/303191


We look forward to seeing you on Friday. As always, refreshments will be provided.

Yours in Mass Culture,

Cooper and Gary

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Discussions of personhood in the context of always-on computing (the milieu of smartphones, social media, and ubiquitous wireless networks) typically casts personhood as deeply compromised, damaged, or somehow insufficient. This paper takes a different approach, which neither valorizes nor demonizes the subject of always-on computing, but rather seeks to account for the primacy of touch and sensation in our historical present. To develop a vocabulary appropriate to this situation, the paper argues that object relations psychoanalyst Thomas Ogden’s theorization of the “autistic-contiguous position” of subjectivity becomes newly vital. Along the way, the paper discusses the animated GIF and the supercut as two prominent sites for thinking through the aesthetic negotiation of these issues. This presentation is part of a new book project in development, tentatively entitled “Gifts of Ubiquity: The Aesthetic Sensorium of Always-On Computing.”

James J. Hodge is assistant professor in the Department of English and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University. His book Sensations of History: Animation and New Media Art is forthcoming this fall from the University of Minnesota Press. His current research in digital media studies focuses on the rise of new networked genres such as the animated GIF and the supercut.