In Media Res: Special Effects

Somewhere around the introduction of Google+, I developed an allergy to self-promotion, and withdrew my parasocial feelers from Facebook as well as the nascent G+. I mean to cast no aspersions on the active users of those sites; my going dark, or at least dimmed, on the social-networking front stems not from disapproval but from simple overload. I’m returning to teaching from a year of sabbatical, and I’m a new father to boot, making for happy but exhausting times. I could be better about taking the raw material of my life (and the slightly more refined material of my professional activities) and plugging it into a live data feed, but my curmudgeonly suspicion that the public affordances of new media, so often presented to us as opportunities for self-expression and collective knowledge-building, are simply labor under the sexy sign of the digital — the conscripted misrecognized as the voluntary — stays my hand.

All that said, though, I do have news: this week I am co-organizing a set of pieces on special effects at In Media Res, the MediaCommons project devoted to showcasing short audiovisual “exhibits” accompanied by learned commentary. This week’s posts, by Kimberly Ramirez, Drew Ayers, Chuck Tryon, and Dan North, come out of a larger project, an anthology entitled Special Effects: New Histories, Theories, Contexts, co-edited by me, Dan North, and Michael S. Duffy.

You can read more about that project and the week’s curations in our introductory essay, located here.