Introduction to Screen Cultures I and II (Master in Film and Screen Studies)

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Program details
Subject: Introduction to Screen Cultures I and II
Course: First
Semester: 1 and 2
Modality: Compulsory
Professors: Jara Rocha, Andreu Belsunces


As a catalyst of highly disparate elements, the screen is perhaps one of the most representative devices of the relational reorganisation that brings together the computational processing of all the details of contemporary experience on one scale or another. At the same time, it accounts for and partly articulates the collapse of extractive, commercial, heteropatriarchal and colonial modernity as a mode of existence. In this subject we will accumulate problematics and potencies to identify sub-phenomena that connect screen and transition in a multiplicity of fields, in specific cases calling up ethical, political or aesthetic controversies. We will ask ourselves questions such as: what is the role of the screen in technocapitalist colonisation, what professional, epistemic and symbolic practices does it entail, what forms of understanding the world does it articulate, and how do these end up being transformed in the material realm? And more particularly: what socio-technical, cultural and material elements connect the phenomenon of the Screen New Deal with that of the Green New Deal (better known in Europe as the ecological transition)?


A process of learning about the intricate geometries of screen-based modes of existence, representation and relationality. The main objective is to conduct a collective exploration of the ways in which the screen participates in the (re)production of a very particular system-reality, with a special focus on the era and complexity of ecological transition.


The plan of progress of the subject is constituted by two fundamental gestures: the addition and the cut. Each module will involve an aggregation of references, problems and questions with respect to a specific theme or perspective, adding layers that are always inter-related; at the end of the module, a cross-section of these layers will be elaborated, the analytical, critical and creative results of which will be presented in the form of a project.


  • Module 1: Fundamentals
    • Screens are multi-layered vortices of convergence and therefore have a multitude of entry points. In this first module we will explore several fundamental concepts and approaches that will help us understand screens as sociotechnical and technoscientific phenomena, as zones of control and to be controlled, as Trojan horses of technocapitalist culture, and as neural baubles connected to both subway cables and geostationary orbit satellites. All these issues will be activated to make the relationship between the New Deal of the screen and the Green New Deal.
    • Key concepts: actor-network; power and politics; standards; behaviourism; addiction; (re)mediation; delegation; control; technique, technology, science and design; co-production; knowledge; socio-technical imaginaries; Californian ideology; cybernetics; platform capitalism and surveillance; digital labour; data; finance; black box.
  • Module 2: Focus
    • But where do screens come from, socially, semiotically and, of course, also materially? Media archaeology, new materialisms and critical technosciences are open frameworks for understanding the specific compositions that a screen device, as such, brings. After studying the components, we can proceed to a study of the worldview that underpins them: along the way, questions of geopolitics, subjectivity, political economy and social justice will emerge.
    • Key concepts: assemblage; materiality; worldliness; scale; geopolitics; emergent subjectivities; technocolonialism; transfeminist technosciences; social justice; political ecology.
  • Module 3: Analysis
    • In the third module we want to approach a multiplicity of theories and methodological corpuses that, each in their own terms, provide a valuable perspective for analysing the complexity gathered in screens as a phenomenon. From specific takes on contemporary philosophy and critical theory to engagement from cross-disciplines such as science and technology studies or agential realism, we will survey the concepts, sensibilities and results of scholars, activists and artists concerned with the analysis of technocultures.
    • Key concepts: critical theory; science and technology studies; new materialism; analytics; cultural sciences; social sciences, agential realism.
  • Module 4: Proposals
    • So far we have learned to read screens as assemblages and networks entangled with meaning, matter and money. Now that we have analysed them as implicated in the (re)production of ourselves and our world, and looked at them from the perspective of philosophy, media studies, the humanities, political economy and sociology, it is time to see how screens are also a frame, a door and an arena for radical alternatives. Navigating feminisms, anti-colonialism, anti-racism and environmentalism, in this module we will dialogue with situated practices that draw on some of the concepts, issues and phenomena we have seen so far.
    • Key concepts: affective infrastructure; situatedness and universality; technocolonialism; homogenisation; trans*feminism; anti-racism; ecologism; crippled technosciences; anarko outsiders; technopolitics; sovereignty; common data infrastructures.


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