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Research seminars and events

The department hosts a range of research seminars and events:

Public Lecture / All Welcome

 Anna Munster (University of New South Wales)


 Royal Holloway University of London

11 Bedford Square, WC1B 3RA

Room: BEDSQ-1-01

Date: Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Time: 17:00-19:00

 ‘DeepAesthetics’ explores a new kind of formalism accompanying the artificial intelligence (AI) that has emerged in the wake of deep neural networking.  The massive deployment of images as, for example, training datasets, as attribute sources and as discriminators to solve ‘problems’ of classification and recognition has resulted in a shift in where and how ‘value’ and ‘judgement’ are aesthetically located and construed. ‘Aestheticians’ and an ‘autopoeitic’ visual aesthetics are now issuing forth from the research and development arms of upcoming corporate players in the AI domain such as NVidia.

 ‘DeepAesthetics’, then, names this emerging machinic assemblage of aesthetics, computation and (graphics) market share. Such an assemblage must be understood transversally as the relationality of technical, political and cultural claims to the production of automated forms of judgement and value. Here I want to ask: how have formalist aesthetic paradigms been subsumed and reconfigured by manufacturers of, for example, GPUs such as Nividia, and what are the consequences of this for our contemporary aesthesia? But the paper will also consider what other aesthetic practices – both immanent and ‘allopoeitic’ – might be possible in this context; ones that allow AIs themselves to become experimental. Here a minor ‘deep aesthetics’ operates deliberately out of the acknowledgement – widespread within deep neural network research – that we, humans, just do not know what is going on in the black box of deep neural networking. We might speculatively propose that the largely impenetrable operativity of such vast neural networking could become the site of a radical unknowability and affectivity for machine aesthetics.   


Anna Munster is Professor in Art and Design, University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia. Her book, An Aesthesia of Networks (MIT Press, 2013) explores expressions of networks beyond the ‘link-node’ image and new understandings of experience that account for relationality in contemporary assemblages of human and nonhuman technics. She is also the author of Materializing New Media: Embodiment in Information Aesthetics (2006), which won a ‘highly commended’ in the 2008 Prix Ars Electronica Media Research category.  She is a founding member of the online peer-reviewed journal The Fibreculture Journal and has published with journals such as Inflexions, CTheory, Culture Machine and Theory, Culture and Society. She is a co-editor of the two-volume anthology Immediations, (with Erin Manning and Bodil Marie Stavning Thomsen, OHP forthcoming 2017) that explores novel speculative and radical empiricist concepts of the event. Munster is also a practicing media artist who regularly collaborates with Michele Barker. Their media environments explore animal, human and more-than-human movement and perception with a newly commissioned work, pull in the Experimenta Triennale of Media Arts (http://experimenta.org/experimenta-make-sense/)

 Please contact Olga Goriunova at <o.goriunova@rhul.ac.uk> if you have any queries.


Friday, 16th June 2017

Conference Exoticism in Contemporary Transnational Cinema: Music and Spectacle

Humanities and Arts Research Institute, Royal Holloway, University of London 

This interdisciplinary conference explores exoticism, understood as a highly contested discourse on cultural difference as well as an alluring form of alterity that promotes a sense of cosmopolitan connectivity. Presentations and discussions will revolve around the question how the collapsed distances of globalisation and the transnational flows of media and people have transformed exoticism, which is no longer exclusively the projection of Orientalist fantasies of the Other from one centre, the West, but which emanates from multiple localities and is multi-directional in perspective.

Bringing together researchers with special interest and expertise in contemporary transnational and world cinema, film music and ethnomusicologists, this conference examines how contemporary transnational cinemas imagine the exotic, paying particular attention to the role of sound, music and spectacle.

Keynote speakers:

  • Professor Rachel Dwyer, SOAS
  • Professor Song Hwee Lim, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Dr Laudan Nooshin, City, University of London 

For the final conference programme and registration: https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/harc/fellowshipsprojects/exoticism-in-contemporary-cinema-and-culture.aspx

Registration £30 and student concessions £20, closes on 9th June. exoticism_poster









You are kindly invited to a talk by Professor Murray Pomerance (Ryerson University, Toronto)  entitled ‘Antonioni Reporting’ at Royal Holloway on Monday, 27 October at 6pm (Windsor Seminar Room 1-02). There will be a reception afterwards.  

The event is hosted by the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures and the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway.

Murray Pomerance is a prolific film scholar who has written extensively on film, the cinematic experience and performance. His publications include The Eyes Have It: Cinema and the Reality Effect (2013), Alfred Hitchcock’s America (2013), Michelangelo Red, Antonioni Blue: Eight Reflections on Cinema (2011), The Horse Who Drank the Sky: Film Experience Beyond Narrative and Theory (2008) and several more monographs, numerous edited and co-edited collections and fiction. 

In his talk ‘Antonioni Reporting’, Murray Pomerance will consider modes of approach to visual art in terms of "enchanting" and "reportorial" creative and receptive posture in relation to artists such as Da Vinci, Sheeler, Estes, and O. W. Link. This is followed by an intensive examination of Michelanglo Antonioni's techniques of using, and playing with, reportorial configurations in La Notte, The Passenger, Blow-Up, Identification of a Woman, Eros, Beyond the Clouds, and other films. , and other films.   Contact daniela.berghahn@rhul.ac.uk for any queries. 


  • London Screenwriting Research Seminar Professor Ian Christie, Anniversary Professor of Film and Media History, Birkbeck College, University of London, will be speaking on ‘Emeric Pressburger and the Shape of Stories


Professor Christie has written and edited books on early film, Powell and Pressburger, Russian cinema, Scorsese and Gilliam, has worked on numerous exhibitions and contributes  regularly to radio and television programmes on cinema.He is currently a vice-president of Europa Cinemas and member of its Experts Committee and was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1994.  For full details of his distinguished career http://www.ianchristie.org/aboutme.html.  For more details email Adam Ganz

Past Events have included:

The department also hosts a series of lunchtime and evening seminars as well as a series of seminars related to ADAPT. We also co-host the London Screenwriting Seminar and the Modernism and Film Seminar.


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