I was recently a guest of Umbrella Studio to talk about my research into a particularly dark aspect of contemporary visual culture. The presentation was a distillation of the findings of my recently completed PhD project, Dark Euphoria: the Neo-Gothic Narrative of Millennial Technoculture, (full abstract below).
As promised to those enthused by the concepts floated on the night I have included a copy of the text and the slides below. The text includes a full reference list at the end of the document and – because someone asked – I have also posted a link to the full bibliography from the PhD itself. There is also video documentation, but the audio needs some attention, so I will post when I have a moment to tidy it up.
Transcript: Machine Vision Transcript (PDF 500KB)
Slides: Machine Vision Slides (PDF 14MB)
PhD Bibliography: Download Link (PDF 1MB)
PhD Thesis: Website Link
PhD Exhibition: Website Link
Video Documentation: Forthcoming
UPDATE: Content is still being added to the Facebook event page. If you want to stay in touch with my ongoing research in this area hop over to the event page and join the conversation: https://www.facebook.com/events/864386863571655/
Machine Vision The Neo-Gothic Narrative of Millennial Technoculture What :: A presentation on digital aesthetics and cultural appropriation by media artist and cultural observer Mitch Goodwin. When :: 6pm :: Wednesday September 17 Where :: Umbrella Studios :: 482 Flinders Street, Townsville CBD
Using science fiction author Bruce Sterling’s notions of “dark euphoria” and “gothic high-tech” as framing devices, Goodwin will demonstrate how the narrative of millennial technoculture emerged from the 20th century already fully formed as an articulation of the machine. Refusing to unhinge itself from the horrors of the preceding century this new machine-aesthetic has produced a dark Gothic narrative that contradicts the traditional utopian vision of the Silicon Valley techno-futurists. Instead of a glistening future of ubiquitous computing, semantic networks and home automation the reality is much more reductive. Here in this non-future space of diminished horizons and apocalyptic image loops our contemporary visual culture is authoring a very different reality. Evidenced by cinema, media art, advertising ephemera and documentary Goodwin’s analysis has discerned the presence of a deep visual trauma in contemporary image making.
Bruce Sterling’s figurative description of the act of falling at supersonic speed back towards an absent Earth will be charted across a century haunted by rapidly accelerating technological change. Goodwin’s presentation will focus on the thrill and ultimate anxiety engendered by vertiginous space and manned flight from the Futurists to King Kong, from the Challenger Disaster to the iconic imagery of 9/11. Most critically Goodwin will emphasise the affective turning away that has occurred in response to this often confronting blend of reality, fantasy, science and art. To revisit these images as historical patterns as a simulation of terror and catastrophe is to appreciate the present as an endless state of machine induced repetition. Further to this, with reference to the work of media artists such as McLean Fahnestock, James Bridle and Trevor Paglen, Goodwin will demonstrate how this narrative is composed within an ever more sophisticated climate of surveillance, automation and machine observation.