Making Media Theory  

Colloquium, May 11–12, 2018

9:00 to 16:30

Carrefour des arts et des sciences

Pavillon Lionel-Groulx
3150, rue Jean-Brillant
Montréal (Québec)  H3T 1N8

Salle / Room C-3061

Université de Montréal, Canada

Fabriquer les théories médiatiques

[le français suit]

What is the role of experimentation in the history of media studies? The creation and modification of things, instruments, devices, machines or media have often played a crucial role in the production and dissemination of media theory. The films and installations of John Akomfrah, Kittler’s modular synthesizer or the ongoing dialogue between media studies and design practice in the work of such scholars as Jacqueline Tyrwhitt are but a few examples of this tradition. Yet, these media experiments are often perceived as being of secondary importance – derivative, anecdotal or even trivial – compared to the significance and visibility granted to more traditional modes of knowledge production, such as text and publications.

We invite contributions that revisit the history of media studies in ways that draw attention to the importance of such media-based material experiments, non-traditional methodologies and practice-based initiatives. This colloquium is an occasion to revisit and restore the role of things and experimentation in the making of theory.

How does an attention to the history of experimental practices in media theory contribute to a reconfiguration of the histories, archives and futures of media studies? How does this call into question the disciplinary divides in the early days of media studies and its present manifestations? Contributions are encouraged to take up the marginal, little-known, failed, forgotten, controversial or neglected experiments in the history of media studies. We are seeking participants interested in revisiting the precursors, proto-theories and visionaries of the recent practice-based paradigms in media studies (including critical making, media archaeology or research-creation, to name a few.)

 Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Theoretical paradigms which have articulated practice-based epistemologies;
  • Radio, Film and Television productions as methods of critique;
  • Theorizing (en)coding: from technical education to coding in the classroom;
  • Experimental educational technologies: teaching machines, programmed learning, educational film;
  • Case studies regarding the foundation of disciplines within the social sciences and the humanities dedicated to the study of technology, machines, artefacts and things (mechanology, mediology, materiology, etc.);
  • Histories of DIY, tinkering and hacking;
  • Studies of craft and artisanal forms of making;
  • The value of skills and technical expertise in the production of knowledge.

This conference is organized by Ghislain Thibault (University of Montreal, Montreal) and Mark Hayward (York University, Toronto) as part of the “Recovering Mechanology” project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Program / Programme 

11 mai – May 11 2018 

9:00 à 9:30

Arrivée des participants et café / Meet and Greet 

9:30 – 9:45

Mots de bienvenue  / Welcome addresses 

  • Thierry Bardini, Directeur du Département de communication, Université de Montréal
  • Michael Sinatra, Directeur du Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur les humanités numériques

Généalogie et enjeux du colloque

  • Ghislain Thibault 

9:45 –


Marcel O’Gorman (University of Waterloo) – « The Usefulness of the Useless Box»

The trammel of Archimedes (287-212 BCE) was a simple mechanical instrument used to draw ellipses. Today, a similar gadget can be built with LEGO by following a simple YouTube video. The gadget is often referred to as a Kentucky Do-Nothing, demonstrating how ingenious instruments can lose their utility thanks to both automation and a lack of care for history. As far as useless instruments go, perhaps the most infamous is the “useless box,” designed by Marvin Minsky and built by Claude Shannon at Bell Labs in 1962. Unlike the trammel of Archimedes, this gizmo, ironically dubbed the “ultimate machine” by Shannon, was never meant to have a purpose. It is quite simply a box with a toggle switch that, when pressed, activates a lever inside the box that emerges from the lid and turns the switch off. As Arthur C. Clarke famously put it, “There is something unspeakably sinister about a machine that does nothing—absolutely nothing—except switch itself off.” Clarke’s comments belie the supposedly useless nature of this existential device.

In this presentation, I will demonstrate how the machine that does “absolutely nothing” is actually incredibly productive. Beginning with a discussion of my own experiments building useless boxes in the Critical Media Lab, I will demonstrate how the “ultimate machine” serves as an evocative object that provokes speculation about Artificial Intelligence, automation, and the technological essence of the human condition. While unpacking the useless box, I will weave together the concept of the uncanny, Heidegger’s fixation on hands, Jacques Ellul’s abuse of the word “useless,” non-use in HCI, and Abraham Flexner’s 1939 essay, “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge.” Ultimately, rumination on the useless box provides an opportunity to consider how the construction of rough hardware – what I have called elsewhere “broken tools and misfit toys” – can be integral to the generation of media theory.

Carolyn Steele (York University) – « Clicks & Mortar: Early fantasies of Internet production at the NFB »

The topos of “interactivity” is rife in the field of educational pedagogy where it is understood as a positive affordance of software designed for young people. Although interactivity has become inextricably tied to digital media, as Erkki Huhtamo (2013) has argued, its roots can be traced to pre-digital forms of technology. For Carolyn Marvin (1988) however, the historical narrative of media is more meaningful when focused on its uses rather than its forms. In the case of interactive educational media, both perspectives are required to excavate its roots, which are emerge not only from humble media forms such as film slides, filmstrips, and overhead projecturals, but also from participatory filmmaking practices.

This research examines a rarely documented moment in educational multimedia production at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in the late 1990’s, when producers began to experiment with the Internet as a creative and collaborative space, rather than a marketing and distribution conduit. These experiments were guided by a wildly idealistic manifesto dubbed “Clicks & Mortar” (1999), in which ideological traces of participatory filmmaking and technological imaginaries, gleaned through experiences with humble media, are unabashedly celebrated.

In the end, however, the vision proved to be brighter than the reality. This talk will consider why the dream of the manifesto never came to fruition, and argue that in the attempt, the web-dev experiments introduced the topos of interactivity to the NFB, and creating the institutional ferment out of which the NFB/Interactive program would eventually grow.

11:00 –



 Coffee break – Pause café 

11:15 – 12:30

 Adam Lauder (York University) – « Emma Gendron’s Heretical Cosmopolitics of Media Translation »

Emma Gendron (1895-1952) is increasingly recognized for her achievements as the first Québécoise screenwriter, a prolific author of sentimental fiction, and the editor of innovative women’s magazines. Yet Gendron’s late output of illustrated children’s stories and textbooks have not previously been studied in depth, nor situated within a media studies framework as the compelling examples of practice-based theory that they are.

Informed by her Rosicrucian faith, Gendron’s late production articulates a visionary ontology of translation anticipatory of McLuhan’s theses in Understanding Media.La Babylone des mots (1945) sketches an imaginative world populated by mythical creatures and elemental media personifying the principles of French grammar for young readers. Set against the backdrop of World War II, the text elaborates a cosmopolitics in which the divine Word is translated across interplanetary space by iridescent cosmic “rays.” The theophanic drama of Gendron’s playful physics is brought into engaging visibility by Henry Darger-like illustrations attributed to her husband and sometime co-author, Alan Robert Green, though based on original sketches (or “visualizations”) by Gendron. In La Babylone des mots the divine, the worldly and the extraterrestrial are converted into fluctuating states of matter embodying Gendron’s Rosicrucian interest in alchemy, though the text strategically veils these alchemical associations in an orthodox Catholic theology.

Gendron’s earlier tenure as editor of the magazine La Revue de Manon, whose cinematic aesthetic and regular film column translated the mobile spectacle of motion pictures for print readers, will also be explored as a source for the intermedial strategies adopted by her children’s stories and textbooks. The bilingual context of Gendron’s authorship suggests additional interpretive possibilities for comprehending her translational cosmogony, and its potential meanings for young readers and pedagogues.

Gendron’s heretical folk ontology emerges from this reassessment as a compelling alternative to of the canonical modernist media ecologies of de Chardin and McLuhan.

Ira Wagman (Carleton University) – «Theological Experiments in Media Theory: Miranda Prorsus in Quebec » 

In 1957, the Roman Catholic Church issued the papal encyclical, Miranda Prorsus outlining Pope Pius XII’s position on cinema, radio, and television.   The encyclical detailed the challenges posed by audiovisual media to Catholic values, but articulated the position that these same media could be used for productive purposes if people received the appropriate training to sharpen their critical faculties.

Miranda Prorsusdiffered in both style and tone from an earlier encyclical, Vigilanti Cura (1936), that considered movies to be a threat to Catholic values and supported efforts by different organizations to protest immoral content and to steer users towards films exhibiting moral rectitude. Miranda Prorsusretained a significant part of that critical edge, but it also called upon religious leader to “direct, organize and assist the many educational projects which have been begun in many countries, so that by means of this difficult and extensive province of the arts, the Christian ideas may be ever more widely spread”. These included expanding the activities of national organizations, encouraging the development of seminars to teach parishioners, and the creation of courses aimed at training to future media producers on how to inculcate Catholic values into their work.

This paper provides an overview of Miranda Prorsus and situaties it in relation to previous papal positions on media technologies and within the context of the church’s attempt to modernize during the post-war era. It will then draw on examples from attempts to apply the papal encyclical in Quebec during the late 1950s and early 1960s.  These efforts can be found in the pages of the “Bulletins des liaisons”, newsletters published and distributed to parishes located around the province.  In the “Bulletins” one finds reports of educational initiatives at local churches, summaries of media-related academic research, and additional direction from the Vatican on how best to institutionalize Miranda Prorsus at the national and local levels.

In documenting some specific examples of the application of Miranda Prorsus within Quebec, I aim to better appreciate the role played by religious organizations in the development of post-war media and communication theories.


 Carrefour des arts et des sciences

13:45 – 15:00

Jennifer Hambleton (Western University) – « Making Theatrical Spaces: non-syncronicity and repair in theatre production labour »

The tooling of theatrical spectacle requires collaboration between stagecraft technicians and designers in an increasingly globalized and standardized manufacturing process. While hand-skills are still used and still useful, digital fabrication and other tools are now incorporated in labour processes in scenery manufacturing workshops, altering collaborative work in complex ways. This paper considers the epistemological role of software and digital fabrication tools in stagecraft practices and explores how the politics of craft labour intersect with material practices in media production labour. The technical aspects of the fabrication of theatrical spectacles and display environments, the way objects are used to think with, and the ways that tools mediate practices suggest how tacit knowledge is produced and re-produced in scenery manufacturing workshops that build theatrical sets and corporate display environments. I draw from case study research of a community of craft technicians who work in the industry of theatrical display in Southern Ontario, Canada. The technician’s work in labour processes in scenery workshops is compared to repair and bricolage in two ways. Using an inductive approach, the empirical research for this community case study was accomplished with participant observation and semi-structured interviewing. My analysis of interview transcripts and interpretation of field data utilizes an auto-ethnographic methodology to reflect on and draw from my past work experience in theatre production labour as a builder and scenic artist.

Samuel Thulin (Concordia University) – « Approaching Media Studies through Soundscape Composition »

During the late 1960s and early 1970s an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners led by R. Murray Schafer at Simon Fraser University developed the core ideas and working methods of what would become known variously as ‘soundscape studies’ and ‘acoustic ecology’. Schafer’s work, particularly his monograph The Tuning of the World (1977), has often served as reference point for this area of study, and in recent years it has also become an object of critique for its theoretical inconsistencies and personal biases. Unfortunately, while in some cases legitimate, these critiques facilitate the dismissal of aspects of ‘soundscape studies’ that merit deeper engagement. In this presentation, rather than focusing on Schafer, I turn to the work of Hildegard Westerkamp and Barry Truax, core members of the World Soundscape Project (WSP), and ask how their approach to sound, communication, and technology may be understood in terms of its contribution to media theory and practice-oriented approaches to media studies, such as research-creation. I pay particular attention to the practice of soundscape composition, a way of creatively working with sound developed by members of the WSP in the 1970s that both relies on and critiques technological mediation. Soundscape composition, as practiced and written about by Westerkamp and Truax, involves engaging directly with entanglements of environments and human activities through listening and sonic manipulation. Through an investigation of soundscape composition, I consider how it factored into Truax’s theorizing of acoustic communication (1984; 2001), as well as examining the tensions it highlighted around mediation and the possibilities and limits of emerging technologies. I argue that while soundscape composition has been and continues to be a niche practice, it nevertheless offers rich opportunities for understanding media studies and practice-oriented research. ​

15h – 15h15

Pause café / Coffee break 

15:15 à 16:30

Henry Adam Svec (Millsaps College) « String Figures as Imaginary Digital Media »

Ethnographic approaches to string figure collection have often been caught between documentary and performative impulses. In Franz Boas’s 1888 text “The Game of Cat’s Cradle,” for instance, the first publication on the topic, he observes that the activity has communicative and ritualistic functions among “a great number of nations and tribes,” and then proceeds to instruct his readers on how to participate: “Draw the thongs passing over the back of the hands, over the tips of the fingers and let them drop. Draw the whole tight” (Internationales Archiv für Ethnographie, I., p. 229). In the mid-twentieth century, amateur and pseudo-scholarly interest gained steam, and The Bulletin of String Figure Association and then the Bulletin of International String Figure Association would carry forward the field’s originary objectives, publishing texts about the practical pedagogic value in learning and practicing string figures, as well as ethnographic studies of the origins of particular string figure designs. With hopes of teasing out this tension, my paper will explore string figure collection as an archivization of imaginary “digital” media. I aim to weave together three sets of artifacts: the American filmmaker and folklorist Harry Smith’s unpublished 1000-page manuscript on string figures, which he approaches as a surrealist collagist and alchemist; writings in the string figure bulletins (of which there are several) that tie string figure practice to digitality, mathematics, and computation; and a recent exhibit at the Museum of Jurassic Technology featuring early string figure collectors, which carries forward Smith’s more magical approach. My argument is that across these diverse networks and hubs of creative production, string figures (as an embodied and ritualized yet distinctly digital form of communication) have been imagined as the ideal fuel of modern techne—and as a redemptive, utopian channel through which universal community might become possible.

Mark Hayward (York University) and Ghislain Thibault (Université de Montréal)  « About Mechanology : How to Make Philosophy »

This presentation has two parts. First, we provide a general overview of mechanology, a “science of machines” that was initially proposed in the 1930s and that witnessed a revival in the 1960s. Second, we draw attention to the way that mechanology understood its philosophical project as involving the use of media technology and the production of objects. Our interest in mechanology is not simply to recover the conceptual kernel of mechanology in order to repurpose it for contemporary use, but to take its history (and forgetting) as an opportunity to reflect upon the status of experimentation in critical media theory. In Reflection on the Science of Machines,Jacques Lafitte proposed, mechanology as an extension of sociology that would contribute both a novel analysis of the place of technology in society and lay the foundation for a transformation in the way the humans lived with machines. More recent authors have aligned Lafitte’s project with the writings of Gilbert Simondon’s discussion of technical objects, locating both in relation to the elaboration of technological humanism. While the resonances between Lafitte and Simondon are significant, our presentation shows that Simondon’s interest in mechanology was part of a broader revival of interest in Lafitte’s ideas in the 1960s that involved the participation of artists, engineers and filmmakers. At the centre of this network were two Canadians, John Hart and Jean LeMoyne, who took inspiration from Lafitte’s ideas to develop a conversation about technology that eschewed both the abstraction of cybernetics and the anti-technological tendencies of historical materialism. In contrast, working with technology and the manufacture of media artifacts became an important part of the mechanological revival during these years. This presentation introduces some of the projects influenced by mechanology and situates them in relation to the materialist practice of critique it entailed as it evolved from Lafitte onwards. In the conclusion, we also attempt to make sense of some of the reasons for mechanology’s subsequent erasure, considering the biases against material artifacts in the way that media theory is cited and archived.


12 mai – May 12 2018 

9:30 – 10:00

 Coffee – Café 

10:00 – 12:00

Sarah Choukah (Université de Montreal) and Philippe Theophanidis (York University) – « Exemplarily Experimental: A Media Study of Time Magnification » 

In 1931, amateur naturalists, filmmakers and educators Mary Field and Percy Smith made Magic Myxies, one of 144 films produced for British Instructional Film’s Secrets of Nature series (1922-1933). The film featured stunning time-lapse photography of slime mold, a blobby, veiny dweller of dim forest floors and decaying vegetation. Smith tinkered with time-lapse photography apparatus using household items such as cuckoo clocks, “cinematographic contraptions involving gramophone needles, candle wicks, gig-lamps, bits of Meccano and items of household haberdashery” to picture the slow growth of the slime mold and animate its movement (MacFarlane, 2010). Smith called the process “time magnification”.

While Tim Boon approached the formal and cinematic aspects of Field and Smith’s work in a wider study (2014), and while Edward Juler discussed the significance of interwar documentary and nature films for young publics (2012, 92–93), few accounts explicitly take on the technical economy, DIY methods and focus on amateur, backyard biology and experimental film displayed by Field and Smith.

We address this gap by querying the title and theme of this conference, that is, by making media theoryan invitation to theory in all its materiality, and to making in all of its conceptual embodiments. To do so, we play with the capacious concept of mediumthrough various iterations. In one, we make it our interface between making and theory. In another, we traffic between theory and making by bringing slime mold, an ontological and taxonomical oddity, up for view and for grabs, through time and space. In a third iteration, we present slime mold as an alien mediator, a conceptual bootlegger of sorts, allowing for burrowing through and trespassing disciplinary confines. At the end of the presentation, coming back to Field’s and Smith’s media experiments, we discuss the value of such a hybrid genealogical approach.

Michael Darroch (University of Windsor) – « Toronto School Experiments in Media and Perception » 

The paper focuses on the experimental character of early Toronto School media studies, an early foray into research-creation practices in Canada. I examine in particular the work of British town planner Jaqueline Tyrwhitt and American anthropologist Edmund Carpenter, who each led experiments in media analysis and the perception of the urban environment. By tracing their relationships through correspondence, reports, and other archival materials, I also situate their scholarship in the context of McLuhan’s writings on media and urban life. As an urban planner, Tyrwhitt had long been associated with Sigfried Giedion and was a lead member of the British wing of the Congrès internationaux d’architecture moderne (CIAM). In his work as a founding member of CIAM, Giedion represented a postwar wave of humanistic, interdisciplinary scholarship. As early as 1943, when McLuhan and Giedion began to correspond, Giedion proposed that ‘interrelations’ between arts, sciences, and humanities should be the focus of university research. McLuhan, Carpenter, and Tyrwhitt’s interdisciplinary Culture and Communications Seminar (1953-55) was one such attempt to bridge disciplinary divisions. Dialogue and playful experimentation characterised the environment of this think tank from the outset. The group conducted urban experiments using a ‘field’ approach to discern new grammars created by electronic communications technologies and changing patterns of perception of urban environments. Their interdisciplinary journal Explorations (1953-59) was launched as a means of “cutting across the arts and social sciences by treating them as a continuum,” placing special emphasis on studying the effects of media on oral, visual, and post-visual cultures. Drawing on Harold Innis’ thesis of media bias, these scholars turned to Giedion’s studies of architectural space, urban history, mechanisation, and the “anonymous history” of everyday objects and cultural phenomena. In McLuhan’s letter to Innis of 1951, he explained that Giedion’s Space, Time and Architecture(1941) and Mechanisation Takes Command (1948) were the central inspiration for their “experiment in communication,” a phrase he would also use in correspondence with Norbert Wiener. Giedion’s ideas were represented in seminar discussions especially by Tyrwhitt, who served as translator, editor and possibly co-author of many of his writings. She provided a dialogue between Giedion’s conception of “anonymous history” and McLuhan and Carpenter’s argument that electronic media were creating an acoustic post-visual cosmos. Under the influence of Tyrwhitt and Giedion’s work, as well as Carpenter’s field studies in anthropology and archaeology, a methodology grew out of the seminar that viewed the media environment as an active rather than a passive space. This paper is based on original archival research into documents held in archives related to McLuhan, Giedion, Tyrwhitt, and Carpenter.

Rebecca Noone (University of Toronto) – « Ambient Attentions: Drawing from 1960s conceptual art to explore contemporary conditions of location-based media »

Over 1 billion people per month use Google Maps to access features such as street maps, panoramic StreetViews, turn-by-turn directions, and traffic conditions. Howis space visually comprehended and how is location and wayfinding visually represented when contextualized by the conditions presented by digital mapping devices, the most dominant being Google Maps? Does the digital map as spatial administrator effect perceptions of situatedness and representations of place?In order to explore these questions, I turned to a performance art project from the early 1960s, by artist Stanley Brouwn. In This Way Brouwn (1961), Brouwn stood on a street corner in Amsterdam and asked people for directions followed by the question: could you draw that for me? Brouwn’s encounters used spontaneous drawings and everyday intervention as a way to capture the complexity and ambiguity of spatial interpretations. In 2014-15, I performed an artistic project titled From Here Toin Toronto, ON, St. Louis, MO, and Brighton, UK as an introductory artistic exploration of how Brouwn’s work translates to contemporary conditions. Mypilot artistic project has since informed the development of my doctoral research design and theory building.In the fall of 2017, I reframed the performance as an empirical research project to capture spatial perceptions and the ambient intelligences of situatedness in a time of digital mapping.I asked for directions inToronto, ON, New York, NY and Amsterdam, NL, collecting over 150 graphic elicitations.The results have implications for better understanding how everyday knowledges can be constituted by and generated from pervasive forms of visual information. This paper reflects on how engaging with precedents in the 1960s conceptual art tradition has informed my own research as an artist in the fields of information and media studies.

12:00 –


 Lunch, Carrefour des arts et des sciences

13:15 – 14:30

Geoffrey Shea (OCADU) – « (Media) Art Practice and (Media) Theory »

Media art practice has a special spot on the artistic making-thinking continuum because a) its form often requires extensive pre-visioning and planning, b) its materials are part of a quickly evolving and contentious intersection between technology and society (culture and policy), and c) as an art genre it was born at the beginning of the age of theory-centric art practices (c.f. Dan Graham) and nurtured during art education’s transition to an academically-grounded enterprise, focused on PhD’s. I will use examples of three projects I was involved in over the past three decades to comment on shifts in the media artist-practitioner’s relationship to theory.Videotex was one of many pre-internet experiments undertaken by national governments to explore the delivery of digital data to consumers via phone lines. It was an age of innocence and optimism about the power and value of networks. The Canadian version, Telidon, caught the attention of a group of Canadian artists. An artist collective was formed to experiment with this soon-to-be forgotten technology. (The group evolved into Inter/Access which still operates today.) The work that was created addressed big political themes like democracy, as well as new forms of narrative made possible by the nature of the medium. This example highlights the participants’ instincts to collectivize and seek formal recognition in order to be able to intervene in a project that stemmed from federal and corporate initiatives.The second project is Tentacles, a public, interactive artwork created in 2007 by a team of artist/designers working within universities. Formalized research was just becoming a new requirement of Canadian art and design universities. The collaborative team built a large-screen, cellphone-controlled collaborative game and presented it in several high-profile venues. We were able to observe users and create speculative or provisional theories about the interactions, after the fact. Most recently, another media art group has begun creating work that employs the tools most associated with the mass surveillance state, for example, physical surveillance devices, as well as data surveillance through platforms like Facebook. Interference Ensemble created two site-specific, performance/live-video events that repurposed imagery found on appropriated government spy cameras, and livestreamed an interjection into a community Christmas parade on Facebook. These mashups used familiar art practice strategies: juxtaposition, non-sequitur, collaboration, intuition, trust and luck to create works that posed questions without pointing towards answers. This example embraces the indeterminacy that is part of the exploratory practice of many artists and collectives. It includes a notion of research – an outward expansion of inquiry and understanding – but without choosing to promise theory as one of its deliverables. It is engaged with community rather than market. It parallels some of the European art movements of the 1920s, that other era of post-technological cynicism.

Jason Lajoie (University of Waterloo) – « Queer Media Experiments: The Early Gay Social Media Platform of Vice-Versa (1947-1948) »

If Edythe Eyde’s short-lived magazine, Vice-Versa, is discussed in gay and lesbian history, it is often relegated to the status of a footnote as an isolated precedent to the liberation efforts of the 1950s to the 1970s, or dismissed because of its limited publication and influence. It contained only 10 issues and 139 pages, with only 12 copies each, made using carbon-copy paper, and it ran from June 1947 to February 1948. The scale of Vice-Versa was small, in part due to time and cost, and especially because of security concerns. The work needed to be produced and distributed in a clandestine manner; its production relied on the creative misuse of office supplies and labour, and its unambiguously homophilic content was against the law. Eyde personally distributed the magazine in the Los Angeles area to fellow lesbians, and she encouraged further distribution by asking her readers to pass copies from one ‘gay gal’ to the next. While Vice-Versa is given token recognition by historians and later gay publishers as the first and prototypical gay magazine in America — the gayest magazine, according to Eyde’s subtitle for it — no scholarship has sought to attend to its role in the history of queer media practices. This paper focuses on the early lesbian discourse network that Vice-Versa represented, which was an early forum for a latent gay community socializing in print. This paper further considers what Vice-Versa suggests about early queer experimentation through media, and argues that the magazine, both its form and content, asks us to rethink the history of queerness in media.

14:30 – 14:45

Coffee break – Pause café 

14:45 – 15:30

Table ronde et conclusion / Roundtable and conclusion 

Chaired by / Présidée par Mark Hayward and Ghislain Thibault 

Fabriquer les théories médiatiques

Université de Montréal, Canada

Fabriquer les théories médiatiques

Université de Montréal, Canada

Fabriquer les théories médiatiques

Quel est le rôle donné aux expérimentations dans l’histoire des études médiatiques? La fabrication et le bricolage de choses, d’instruments, d’appareils, de machines ou de médias ont souvent joué un rôle crucial dans la production et la diffusion de théories médiatiques. Les films et les installations de John Akomfrah, le synthétiseur modulaire de Kittler ou la rencontre entre les études sur les médias et la pratique du design dans le travail de Jacqueline Tyrwhitt constituent quelques exemples de cette tradition. Pourtant, ces expérimentations sont souvent perçues comme marginales ou anecdotiques, voire même insignifiantes, lorsqu’elles sont comparées à la visibilité accordée aux modes plus traditionnels de production des connaissances, comme le texte ou la publication académique.

Nous invitons les contributions qui offrent une relecture de l’histoire des études sur les médias et qui mettront en lumière l’importance de l’expérimentation médiatique, des méthodologies non traditionnelles ou encore des initiatives fondées sur la pratique. Ce colloque est l’occasion de revisiter et de restituer le rôle joué par les choses dans la construction de théories.

Comment une tellenégligées dans l’histoire des études médiatiques. Nous invitons les présentations à aborder les précurseurs, les proto-théories et les visionnaires des paradigmes contemporains qui valorisent la pratique (par exemple les paradigmes de critical making, d’archéologie des médias ou de recherche-création).

Les problématiques possibles comprennent (sans s’y limiter):
  • Les paradigmes théoriques ayant articulé des épistémologies fondées sur la pratique ;
  • La production radiophonique, cinématographique ou télévisuelle en tant que méthodologie;
  • La théorisation du code et de l’encodage : de l’éducation technique au codage en classe ;
  • Les technologies éducatives expérimentales : machines à enseigner, apprentissage programmé, film éducatif ;
  • Les études de cas autour de la fondation de disciplines au sein des sciences sociales et humaines dédiées à l’étude de la technologie, des machines, des objets et des choses (mécanologie, médiologie, matériologie, etc.) ;
  • Les histoires du bricolage, du piratage ou du détournement ;
  • Les études de l’artisanat ou des formes artisanales de fabrication ;
  • La valeur des compétences et de l’expertise technique dans la production de connaissances.

Ce colloque est organisé par Ghislain Thibault (Université de Montréal, Montréal) et Mark Hayward (Université York, Toronto) dans le cadre du projet « Recovering Mechanology », financé par le Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada.