The LeBoff Public Lecture with Wendy Hui Kyong Chun
Thursday, March 27, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)
New York, NY
Habitual New Media: The Involuntary, the Irrational and the Irresistible
New media exist as the bleeding edge of obsolescence. They are exciting when they are demonstrated, boring by the time they arrive. If a product does what it promises, it disappoints, perversely making every success a failure. We are forever trying to catch up, updating simply to remain the same, bored, overwhelmed and anxious all at the same time. In response to this rapid time scale, much analytic effort has concentrated on anticipating or creating the future, the next big thing: from algorithms that sift through vast amounts of data to suggest future purchases to scholarly analyses focused on the impact of technologies that do not yet exist.
But is this really the best approach? What is elided by this constant move to the future, which dismisses the present as already past? Habitual New Media counters this trend by revealing that our media matter most when they seem not to matter at all, that is, when they’ve moved from the new to the habitual. The pressing question is not: “what will be the next big thing?” but “why and how do things remain, especially when they seem no longer to remain at all?”
This event is part of the LeBoff Distinguished Visiting Scholar Program hosted by the NYU Steinhardt Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, and sponsored through the generous support of Phyllis and Gerald LeBoff. The program brings to our department the world's most prominent scholars, writers, and creative thinkers in media, communication, and cultural studies. The program engages and honors extraordinary individuals who come to NYU Steinhardt to offer special graduate courses and public lectures.