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  • Writer's pictureGEM LAB

Workshop on Media Ecologies: Seminar in Media and Political Theory

Workshop on Media Ecologies:

Seminar in Media and Political Theory

December 1-3, 2016

Concordia University and McGill University

(See location and schedule below)

This workshop revisits thinking around the conjunction of media, ecologies, and ecosystems in order to come to terms with the enduring relevance and usage of “media ecologies.” It brings together realms as distinct as business, logistics, and critical media theory. In short, it will examine the political, biological and medial “logics” behind the term media ecologies. It does so, moreover, with an eye to modalities of its use in different contexts and geographies. We will pay particular attention to the role it has played in Japanese media studies and political theories of media. From its role as a justification for the expansion of colonial empires, to its use to account for the intersection of media apparatuses and forms, to its deployment as an explanation for economic viability – this workshop will read and discuss both contemporary and classic articulations of the concept, and hear new research presented around it. Media ecologies as a term – with all its contradictions, obfuscations, and complicities – nonetheless continues to live with us, and focuses our attention. This workshop will provide the space to read, think and discuss the why, how, and whereto of this conceptual framework.

Media Ecologies brings together two distinct projects: a reading group on Readings Around Media in Japan, launched at Harvard University in May 2013 by Tomiko Yoda and Alexander Zahlten, with this follow-up event at Concordia planned as the second event in the series; and the Seminar in Media and Political Theory, an ongoing and seminar bringing together interdisciplinary scholars to discuss key themes at the intersection of media and political theory, organized by Joshua Neves and the GEM Lab at Concordia (

The workshop is organized by Yuriko Furuhata, Joshua Neves, and Marc Steinberg.

Keynote Speaker:

Akira Mizuta Lippit (USC)

Worshop Speakers:

Clemens Apprich (Leuphana)

Michael Fisch (Chicago)

Yuriko Furuhata (McGill)

Orit Halpern (Concordia)

Laura-Zoe Humphreys (Manitoba)

Thomas Lamarre (McGill)

Tom Looser (NYU)

Joshua Neves (Concordia)

Marc Steinberg (Concordia)

Alanna Thain (McGill)

Alexander Zahlten (Harvard)

Dan O’Neill (UC Berkeley)

Tomiko Yoda (Harvard)


December 1st: 5pm-6:30pm

Keynote talk by Akira Mizuta Lippit

“Toward an Ecology of the Super Flatline: Murakami Takashi at the End of History,”

Location: Wendy Patrick Room, Wilson Hall, Mcgill University, 3506 University Street

December 2nd (Friday): 10am-5pm

Venue: Temps Libre (Concordia University) Suite 106, 5605 av. De Gaspé, Montreal H2T 2A4

*Registration required. Please register with philipp.keidl(at)

10:00am Welcome + Tom Lamarre, "On Ecology"

10:30am PANEL 1

Orit Halpern, The "Smart" Mandate: Infrastructure, Responsive Environments, and “Preemptive Hope” (talk)

Tom Looser, "Urban Ecologies of Totality/Totalization" (readings)


1:30pm PANEL 2

Alexander Zahlten, “The Locality of Media Ecologies” (readings)

Alanna Thain, "Dissensuality” (readings)

Clemens Apprich, "Post-Media Ecologies: A Guattarian Perspective on Socio-Technical Collectives"

December 3 (Saturday): 10am-5pm

Venue: Temps Libre (Concordia University) Suite 106, 5605 av. De Gaspé, Montreal H2T 2A4

10:00am PANEL 3

Yuriko Furuhata, "A Genealogy of Media Environment: From Fog Sculpture to Canned Air"

Marc Steinberg, “Management Theory and the Ecosystem Concept" (readings)


1:00pm PANEL 4

Michael Fisch, "Re-mediating Ecologies: Sensorium Reboot at Japan’s Interactive Media Aquazoo, Nifrel"

Laura Zoe-Humphreys, "Symptomologies of the State: Digital Media, Censorship, and Politics in Late Socialist Cuba"

Dan O’Neill (UC Berkeley), "Elemental Media”

4:15pm: Roundtable

Respondents: Akira Mizuta Lippit, Tomiko Yoda and Joshua Neves

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