“Media and the Reconfiguration of the Senses” – Frank Kessler (Utrecht University)
In his “Theory of Greek Tragedy” (1981), Derrick de Kerckhove claimed that the effect of Greek theatre was to “transform the sensory life of the Athenian community”. Other theorists before him have made similar claims with respect to the effect of media, in particular emerging media, on society. Béla Balázs, Walter Benjamin, Marshall McLuhan – to name but a few – have discussed the effects of media on the sensory apparatus of humans. In this session, we will have a look at their arguments and ideas and discuss how these effects are conceived and conceptualised.
Frank Kessler is professor in media history. His research activities concern mainly the field of early cinema, in particular early non-fiction, the genre of féerie as well as film acting. His research program ‘The Nationa and Its Other’ was successfuly completed in 2014. Since June 2015 he leads the European project “A Million Pictures: Magic Lantern Slide Heritage as Artefacts in the Common European History of Learning”. Frank has been the director of the Institute of Media and Re/presentaion and then Head of Department Media and Culture Studies. From September 2011 until June 2013 he was director of the Research Institute for History and Culture (OGC), since then he is the director of the Research Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON).