Malcolm McCullough – Emergent Media Studies

By in Current Semester, Lectures 2015 on October 10, 2015

Key Thinkers in the Field: Malcolm McCullough – Emergent Media Studies: Attention to Surroundings

Monday, November 2, 2015, at 6:00 pm to 7:50 pm

University Center, 63 Fifth Ave, lower level, room L104

Abstract: Designing and living in an age of information superabundance demands better attention practices. Cultivating a new sensibility to surroundings can help. This does not mean still one more thing to pay attention to, for attention is not always something to pay. Attention often flows without effort, without names, and without foreground focus. Situational awareness underlies much expertise. Casual fascination with environments restores other more deliberative capacities. Grounding in present context reduces over-consumption of other, emptier informational calories.

Lately such grounding and fascination have become more difficult to find, however, as ever more formats of media layer into ever more contexts of life. Ambient information has become a distinct cultural problem. So besides any personal mindfulness, a new sensibility might also take some information environmentalism. Ambient Commons explores these issues, and this talk explores the motives, thesis, and reactions to that book.

Bio: Malcolm McCullough is the author of Ambient Commons — Attention in the Age of Embodied Information, a book on information environmentalism and the benefits of attention to surroundings. He is Professor of Architecture at Taubman College, the University of Michigan, where he teaches design studios and courses in pervasive computing. A widely recognized scholar on digital media culture, his previous books include Digital Ground—Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing (2004), and Abstracting Craft (1996). On the basis of these he has given nearly fifty invited talks, in over a dozen countries. At Michigan since 2001, McCullough previously served on the design faculty at Carnegie Mellon, and for ten years at Harvard. He is currently researching a book on microgrids, responsive architecture, and disturbing convenience.

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