Sarah Kember and Joanna Zylinska: Creative Mediation

17 May 2010, 17:00 - 19:00

CRASSH, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge

97Dr Sarah Kember (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Dr Joanna Zylinska (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Any attempt to bring back ‘creativity’ to the study of media needs some justification, given the various uses this term has been put to by scholars, artists and policymakers worldwide. The term is often linked with originality, with breaking new ground, and is variously explained by genius, divine intervention or chance. Due to its conceptual openness, creativity has been claimed by many disciplines and fields of enquiry: from arts and humanities, through to architecture and design, education, science, economics and business. The incorporation of the language of creativity by the international business-politics nexus under the umbrella of ‘creative industries’ is of particular concern to us, partly because of the role ‘the media’ have played in that process of incorporation. Our aim here is to reclaim creativity from the above contexts by linking it with a Bergson-inspired notion of ‘mediation’, which stands for a set of entangled economic, cultural, social, technical, textual and psychological processes through which a variety of media forms continue to develop in ways which are at times progressive and at times conservative. ‘Creativity’ for us will therefore also require a theory of decision, which we will develop from Derrida’s work. After presenting key positions on creativity and their conceptual limitations and openings, we will attempt to show our argument ‘in action’ through a close reading of a recent media event: the Large Hadron Collider Project at CERN, Switzerland, which was supposed to recreate the conditions that prevailed immediately after the Big Bang.

Dr Sarah Kember is Reader in New Technologies of Communication at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the author of two monographs, Virtual Anxiety: Photography, New Technologies and Subjectivity (Manchester University Press, 1998) and Cyberfeminism and Artificial Life (Routledge, 2003), and co-editor of Inventive Life: Towards a New Vitalism (Sage, 2006). Kember is currently developing an innovative approach to the question of remediation and the ‘fusion’ of science and fiction. She is the author of the forthcoming novel entitled The Optical Effects of Lightning, and is currently working (with Joanna Zylinska) on a monograph, Life after New Media, for the MIT Press.

Dr Joanna Zylinska is Reader in New Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the author of three books: Bioethics in the Age of New Media (MIT Press, 2009), The Ethics of Cultural Studies (Continuum, 2005) and On Spiders, Cyborgs and Being Scared: the Feminine and the Sublime (Manchester University Press, 2001). She is also the editor of The Cyborg Experiments: the Extensions of the Body in the Media Age (Continuum, 2002) and co-editor of Imaginary Neighbors: Mediating Polish-Jewish Relations after the Holocaust (University of Nebraska Press, 2007). Zylinska combines her philosophical writings with photographic art practice.

A wine reception will follow the talk.

Part of the Intermedia Research Group series of events.

For information about the group please contact
Rosemary Hepworth 

For administrative enquiries please contact Michelle Maciejewska