KENNETH GOLDSMITH (Department of English, University of Pennsylvania) – “THE IDEAL LECTURE (IN MEMORY OF DAVID ANTIN)”

goldsmith_head_frente_hires-1jpg_220x500Bio: Kenneth Goldsmith is the author of numerous books of poetry, among them No.–10.20.96 (1997), Fidget (2000), Day (2003), the trilogy The Weather (2005), Traffic (2007), and Sports (2008), and, most recently, Capital (2015). He has published two books of essays, Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age (2011), and Wasting Time on the Internet (2016), and has edited I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews (2004) and co-edited Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing. Gold­smith teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and is, not least, founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb.

ELENA LAMBERTI (Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Bologna) – “MALEWARE DIGITELLING: FAKENEWS, OR MYTHMAKING 2.0?”

Elena Lamberti_webAbstract:

“In a society of ideological believers, nothing is more ridiculous than the individual who doubts and does not conform.”

John Ralston Saul, The Unconscious Civilization

“When politics is built on fictions, it’s fiction that can help us get to truth.”

Ali Smith, Goldsmiths Prize Lecture, “The novel in the age of Trump.

Media Ecology postulates literature (all forms of literature) not simply as a subject, but instead as a ‘function inseparable from our communal existence’ (McLuhan, Letters); consistently, within Media Ecology, the method of art and literary analysis is applied to the critical evaluation of society. Similarly, Media Ecology postulates digital media not only as the extensions of the individuals, but also (and mostly) as environment; consistently, we can apply the method of art and literary analysis to the critical evaluation of digital societies. That includes all digital narratives that create our environment and that shape the transnational novel we now inhabit.

Within our mediated societies, we are, in fact, living in a fictional ‘déjà vu’, borrowing a taxonomy from a very popular literary genre, as if we were inhabiting a Sci-Fi novel. Today we have become post-humans living in cyberspace and smart cities, surrounded by robots and intelligent machines, including intelligent bombs. Consistently, fake news inhabit our fictionalized reality taking advantage of a media induced cognitive pollution that prevents us from really ‘reading’ what is going on. Fake news and trolling are perceived as aggressive forms of communication, unsettling and falsifying our perception of reality; they are the trendy topics of most discourses on media, the target of today witch-hunt, the new villains in a digital scenario where fact checking has become the superhero that will save us, and restore ‘the Truth’. In my talk, I will instead pursue the idea that, within our digital media eco-system, fake news, trolling – as well as other digital forms of unethical ‘pseudo-communication’ – are but the updated version of the age-old idea of mythmaking, something that media ecology can help us to investigate as multifaceted communicative forms revealing much about our 2.0 or 4.0 realities. Mythmaking 2.0 is a growing tree, with roots in Classic mythmaking and branches spreading across a complex inter-media scenario that affects our way of being humans, as well as our way of inhabiting our hyper-realities.

Bio: Elena Lamberti is a specialist of Modernist Literature, Cultural Memory, Literature and Media Ecology, and War Literature. She pursues an interdisciplinary methodology of research where literature stands at the core of inno­vative investigations of complex ecosystems. Her book Marshall McLuhan’s Mosaic. Probing the Literary Origins of Media Studies (2012) received the MEA Award 2016 (Award for Outstanding Book in the Field of Media Ecolo­gy). She serves in a variety of editorial boards including Explorations in Media Ecology (EME); Journal of Mobile Media; and The International Journal of McLuhan Studies. She is affiliated to the Mobile Media Lab, Concordia University di Montreal.