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I’m very excited to share the press release for the upcoming symposium and lecture series “Lines and Nodes: Media, Infrastructure, and Aesthetics.” I’ve been delighted to serve on the planning committee alongside some fantastic colleagues and students from NYU and SUNY Stony Brook. Please come!

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LINES AND NODES: MEDIA, INFRASTRUCTURE, AND AESTHETICS

This symposium and screening series will bring together artists and scholars to examine the mediated and aesthetic dimensions of extraction and infrastructure. In the last decade, we have seen an explosion of artistic and scholarly interest in resource extraction, its cultural geographies, and the infrastructures that support it. We convene this event to interrogate the relationships between the representations of such dynamics and the larger forces that they condense: globalization, transmission, digitization, territorialization, labor migration, displacement, sustainability, security.

We aim to facilitate an idea-exchange between scholars and media artists whose practices critically assess the function, meaning and representation of lines, nodes and grids that undergird the energy, resource and information-dependent global economy, from oil pipelines to mining pits, and from undersea fiber optic cables to digital archives. What are the juridical, economic, bio-political and aesthetic dimensions of this accelerating age of extraction and consumption? How are these connections materialized in mediated works?

Scholars from a range of disciplines are invited, including: Media Studies, Architecture and Design and Geography. We also solicit media makers whose work operates in documentary, experimental and art contexts. The symposium’s keynote presenter will be Swiss filmmaker/researcher Ursula Biemann, who has for the past twenty years produced a respected body of essay films that interrogate global relations under the impact of the accelerated mobility of people, resources and information.

Find the full symposium schedule here.

SCREENING SERIES

From Friday, September 19, through Sunday, September 21, Anthology Film Archives presents Lines and Nodes: Media, Infrastructure, and Aesthetics, a 17-film series exploring how contemporary filmmakers and artists are examining the diverse human-made infrastructures that shape almost every aspect of modern life, including: fiber optic systems, CCTV networks, petroleum corridors, border security zones and public transport.

With films from eight countries, the series makes adventurous propositions regarding the contemporary global economy, how the Earth’s human era – the anthropocene – has transformed the planet and how filmmakers and artists are making sense of the larger forces involved: security, digitalization, migration and labor. Lines and Nodes is curated by: Chi-hui Yang, Brooke Belisle, Leo Goldsmith, Ben Mendelsohn, Sukhdev Sandhu, Nicole Starosielski.

The series offers a collection of documentary, essay, animation and experimental films and videos, created from the 1950s to present. D.A. Pennebaker’s classic short film Daybreak Express (1953) follows the path of New York City’s now-defunct Third Avenue elevated subway train. Bernardo Bertolucci’s commissioned documentary The Path of Oil (1964)—rarely-screened and recently restored—traces the route of crude oil as it is shipped from Iran to Europe. The Land of Wandering Souls (1999), by Oscar- nominated filmmaker Rithy Panh (The Missing Picture), exposes the back-breaking labor involved in laying Cambodia’s first fiber optic lines. Each of these films suggests news ways of examining patterns of global exchange in one’s own surroundings.

Opening Lines and Nodes is an evening with Swiss essay filmmaker Ursula Biemann, who for the past twenty years has interrogated global relations amid the accelerated mobility of people, resources and information. Through meticulous studies of oil geographies, irregular human migration zones and regions of environmental crisis, Biemann offers a powerful cinematic template for investigating the unpleasant challenges of 21st century capitalism. Biemann will present four films, including her latest, FOREST LAW, an inquiry into the Ecuadorian Amazon, and the legal status of the tropical forest itself and its relationship to indigenous communities.

Three thematic programs of short films — “Lines,” “Circulations,” and “Water” — also feature works by Len Lye, Pat O’Neill, Peter Bo Rappmund, Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, CAMP, Adam Diller, Sarah Christman, Ralph Keene, Hunter Snyder, and Bouchra Khalili.

Find the full screening schedule here, or on Anthology’s website.

Lines and Nodes is presented in conjunction with a one-day symposium hosted by NYU’s Department of Media, Culture and Communications, which will, on September 19, convene artists and scholars to examine the mediated and aesthetic dimensions of extraction and infrastructure. The seriesis supported in part by grants from the New York University Arts Council, NYU Department of English, the Asian/Pacific/AmericanInstitute at NYU, NYU Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, and NYU Metropolitan Studies Program with additional support from the NYU Department of Media, Culture and Communications.

Tickets for film screening series are available for purchase at Anthology Film Archives.http://anthologyfilmarchives.org

Review copies of many films are available – please contact Chi-hui Yang: chihui.yang@gmail.com

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