Affective Mattering and the felt materiality of the screen
12 September, 2013
3pm - 5pm
Associate Professor Misha Kavka (Department of Film, Television and Media Studies, University of Auckland).
In association with the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies.
This paper approaches the materiality of cultural studies through a theory of affective matter(ing), in a conceptual attempt to answer Lawrence Grossberg’s call for work that ‘specif[ies] modalities and apparatuses of affect’ in the realm of lived realities (2010, 314-15). Affective mattering, or the way in which affect has a material bearing that causes things to matter, is to be distinguished from the Deleuzian virtual materiality of affect, which refers to ‘real, material, but incorporeal’ (Massumi 2002, 5) forces and intensities operating on a plane of immanence. What is lost in such desubjectivised accounts of affect, I argue, is the lived material body, individuated not only by its own matter but also by the affective relations which cause other bodies to matter to it. In place of impersonal affect, then, this paper will focus on interpersonal affect, specifically as mobilized by popular media screens that make us care about ‘real‘ bodies and beings despite their appearance on platforms of mediation. In this configuration, where the affective mattering of the body meets the affective permeability of the the screen, the screen brings its own materiality to bear as a conduit for felt relations. The paper will investigate these relations of mediated affect with reference to three exemplary screens: the intimate screen of television, the tactile screen of the touchpad, and the prosthetic screen of Google’s Project Glass.
Dr Misha Kavka teaches film, television, and media studies at the University of Auckland. She is the author of two books on reality television (Palgrave 2008 and Edinburgh UP 2012), and has published extensively on gothic cinema, New Zealand film and gender studies. She is currently working on a project about screen affects.
Media@Sydney is presented by the Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney.