Media Aesthetics (after the Media)


Course Objective

I) Knowledge and understanding:
1) Students are able to identify and understand recent (media) aesthetic
developments and transformations in cross-media culture and to situate
them within a broader historical and theoretical context
2) Students have demonstrable knowledge of relevant key concepts and
corresponding terminology and methodology
II) Applying knowledge and understanding:
3) The historical and theoretical background acquired will be put to use
for the critical analysis of new objects or phenomena from the fields of
media and art
III) Making judgements:
4) Students are able to critically compare current positions regarding
media aesthetics from areas of research and to define their position
within the existing field of research
IV) Communication:
5) Students are able to lead an academic discussion, collaborate in
groups, and present his/her findings in class, and are equally able to
plan and realize an independent research project, and to express the
research plan and its final
outcomes in a scholarly manner in an academic paper at a 400-level

Course Content

"Media Aesthetics (after the media)" introduces histories and theories
of aesthetic approaches to and experiments across different media. It
acts on the assumption that – if and when all experience is mediated and
every process of mediation implicates aesthetic elements – aesthetics
have to be analyzed as a key feature of past and current media
economies, politics and ecologies. Understood as more than just a formal
act of stylization or container for content, aesthetic features position
the recipient, organize perception, and structure interaction with a
medium. Aesthetic constellations raise even more complex questions when
the (repeatedly proclaimed) shift toward a ‘post-media condition’ is
taken into consideration. Current cross-media transformations of
television serve as a starting point from which the seminar will explore
how access to and interaction with cultural forms is structured by media
technologies and corresponding “stylizing performances”. Television’s
hybrid (or “messy”) textuality has long anticipated tendencies of
convergence and cross-media developments and challenged any fixed notion
of medium-specificity.
If aesthetic characteristics can no longer be strictly clustered and
classified according to (allegedly) fixed boundaries of specific media,
is it justified to claim that contemporary aesthetic regimes become more
mutable than antecedent regimes of ‘distributing the sensible’? The
seminar will discuss these questions with regard to “traditional” media
institutions like books, films, tv, museums etc., as well as to their
concurrent interplay, and the permeation of everyday life by digital
screens and interfaces, databases, sensors and software applications.
The seminar focuses on the discussion of (among others) the following
questions: How do technologies, multiple interfaces and corresponding
practices organize and re-organize perception? How are media practices
participating in the formation and re-formation of different aesthetic
regimes? How are contemporary visual cultures affected by the
accelerated circulation and ’overflow’ of images from platform to
platform, e.g. from the home tv screen to online environments to mobile
devices? Are stylistic characteristics co-converging with converging
technological features of a medium? Which epistemological,
(bio)political and economic ramifications does a
‘becoming-environmental’ of media produce?

Teaching Methods

Weekly seminars meetings (4 hours) incl. introductory lecture(s)

Method of Assessment

Moderation & In-class presentation (30%)
Final essay, level 400 (70%)
Both assignments have to be successfully completed to receive the final

Entry Requirements

Bachelor degree in Comparative Arts and Media Studies or comparable
bachelor programme in Art, Media or Cultural Studies.


All literature will be made available in the Canvas online environment.

Target Audience

Master students Comparative Arts and Media Studies. Limited access to
exchange students, based on the number of major students at the CAMS
(max. 25 students in the course will be admitted).

General Information

Course Code L_ZAMAACW019
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator S. Scholz MA
Examiner S. Scholz MA
Teaching Staff S. Scholz MA

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
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