Ephemeral Media

Ephemeral Media Investigator's Report

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Workshop One

Internet Attractions: online video and user-generated ephemera
University of Nottingham, 23rd-24th June 2009

Key speakers: Professor Barbara Klinger (Indiana), Professor Jon Dovey (UWE), Hugh Hancock (Artistic Director, Strange Company, Rik Lander (U-soap Media)

The first workshop in the series focuses on user-generated ephemera, in particular the proliferation of online video. The emerging digital media environment has created new opportunities for user-generated content to achieve broad distribution and so create a public of users. This has been typified, and enabled, by recent phenomena such as YouTube. The fleeting and competing nature of user-generated content has placed particular emphasis on the role of media performance - what can be understood broadly as a display of communicative competence for assessment by an audience. The workshop will examine the status and significance of user-generated ephemera (in particular online video) and the kinds of performance inscribed herein.

Questions under discussion include: How is performance framed in user-generated ephemera? How is user-generated ephemera assessed and discussed by audiences? How does the temporality of circulation on the Internet shape the kind of publics that are convened around user-generated ephemera? How do ephemeral media performances represent national, regional, ethnic identity? How are questions of authorship understood in forms that frequently involve the reworking of existing material? What role do “gatekeepers” play in filtering the user-generated performances that are distributed to online audiences?


Workshop Two

The Promotional Surround: logos, promos, idents, trailers
University of Nottingham, 21st-22nd July 2009

Key speakers: Professor John Caldwell (UCLA), Professor William Uricchio (MIT), Charlie Mawer (Executive Creative Director, Red Bee Media), Victoria Jaye (BBC Vision)

The second workshop in the series focuses on the promotional ephemera used by media producers to capture the attention of audiences; it considers the production of creative forms such as logos, promos, trailers and channel ‘idents’ as they have been used by media companies to make themselves (and their products) seen and heard in a competitive environment. Whilst advertising may be thought of as inherently ephemeral, corporate media producers have sought to extend ‘brands’ in powerful new ways, leading to a proliferation of fleeting, ambient and ancillary promotional forms. The workshop will explore the status and significance of these forms, in the present and the past.  Foregrounding the promotional environment, or ‘surround,’ made up of logos, promos, idents and trailers, the workshop will examine the place of short-form promotional texts within industry practice and media culture.

Questions under discussion include: What changes have occurred in the production and design of media logos, promos, idents and trailers? In what respect do promotional ephemera address audiences or function in representational or affective terms? How do promotional ephemera relate to negotiations of corporate media identity? In what particular ways do promotional ephemera help us understand developments within industrial and audiovisual culture, or illuminate specific regimes of media time and space?


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