Prof. Dr. Shane Denson

Prof. Dr. Shane Denson

Shane Denson is Assistant Professor of Film & Media Studies in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University. His research and teaching interests span a variety of media and historical periods, including phenomenological and media-philosophical approaches to film, digital media, comics, games, videographic criticism, and serialized popular forms. He is the author of Postnaturalism: Frankenstein, Film, and the Anthropotechnical Interface (Transcript-Verlag/Columbia University Press, 2014) and co-editor of several collections: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives (Bloomsbury, 2013), Digital Seriality (special issue of Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, 2014), and the open-access book Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film (REFRAME Books, 2016). His next book, Discorrelated Images, is under contract with Duke University Press. See also for more information.


Discorrelated Images

My current book project, Discorrelated Images,explores the transitional spacetime between cinema and post-cinema. More precisely, it probes the transformational temporal and spatial articulations of contemporary moving images and our perceptual, actional, and affective interfaces with them as they migrate from conventional forms of cinema and enter the computational systems that now encompass every aspect of audiovisual mediation. While the generation, composition, distribution, and playback of images increasingly become a matter of algorithms, software, networks, and codecs, our sensory ratios (as McLuhan called them) are being reordered, our perceptual faculties are being reformed (or re-formed) in accordance with the new speeds and scales of imaging processes. In a post-cinematic media regime, that is, both the subjects and the objects of perception are radically transformed. Older relations—such as that between a human subject and a photographically fixed object—are dissolving, and new relations are being forged in the microtemporal intervals of algorithmic processing. With the new objects of computational images emerge new subjectivities, new affects, and uncertain potentials for perception and action.

At the heart of these transformations lie the generative dynamics of high-speed (often “real-time”) feedback and feed-forward processes, which introduce (and modulate) new contingencies at the heart of post-cinematic mediation. We glimpse such processes in digital glitches, for example, which derail perception and inject the microtemporal misfirings of the computer into our subjective awareness. The underlying contingencies, however, are beyond the purview of subjective perception; the algorithms and hardware operations responsible for the glitch are fundamentally “discorrelated” from phenomenological processes of noetic intentionality. Moreover, the glitch reveals a more general instability attaching to computationally mediated images, which are highly volatile and always in danger of dissolution. Processed on the fly in an interval that is inaccessible to human perception, the images that populate our world are themselves discorrelated from human subjectivity. Nevertheless, various forms and manifestations of contemporary audiovisual media mediate to us these processes, providing sensory complements to sub-perceptual events, helping us in a sense to negotiate the transition to a truly posthuman, post-perceptual media regime. These mediations and negotiations are the core focus of the book project.