Cross Media Seminar: Forms of Attention

Convenors: Abe Geil, Markus Stauff, Sudeep Dasgupta
Dates: 2016: 16 September, 28 October, 25 November, Begin December – additional meeting with Paddy Scannell 2017: 10 February, 17 March, 28 April, 2 June (Workshop)

The 2016/17 Cross Media Seminar will focus on the concept of attention in relation to media experience.  The seminar will focus on the relation between the growing ubiquity, overlap and divergence between different media, and issues of politics, aesthetics and subjectivities. Can specific forms of attention be ascribed to particular media forms given the co-dependent and yet specific relationships between different cultural forms and technologies? How do the different forms of temporality (seriality, liveness, realtime, non-chronological narration etc.) impinge on specific media objects, forms and experiences?  How do the ubiquity of mobile media and forms of locative, embodied and mediated subjectivity transform the spatial dimensions of  attention? ‘Forms of Attention’ refers to both different media forms which deploy strategies to grasp and shape attention as an economic, artistic and pedagogic resource; and to the different modes of perception produced through the interplay of media: absorption or distraction, deep or hyper attention, partial, focused or divided attention, multitasking or mindfulness.

In the seminar we will combine a more genealogical perspective (How did forms of attention come into being and in relation to which technological, economic and political developments?) with a diagnostics of contemporary developments (e.g. the 24/7-culture, mobile and simultaneous media use, gamification). We will re-read some of the well-known texts on the topic (e.g. Michael Fried, Miriam Hansen, Jonathan Crary, Siegfried Kracauer) and discuss more recent publications (e.g. Katherine Hayles, Dominic Pettman, Fred Turner, Yves Citton). These texts will be discussed in conversation with specific media examples including films, TV series, media art, second screen apps, and games.

Tutorial: Selected research master student may participate in the seminar and have that count as a NICA tutorial. Please contact


16 September – Vondelzaal (UB)
28 October – kamer 0.12, BG2
25 November – Potgieter (UB)


10 February – Belle van Zuylen (UB)
17 March – Vondelzaal (UB)