Category Archives: Spring2020

March 3 // Elena Vogman : Dance of Values

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

Elena Vogman
“Dance of Values: Sergei Eisenstein’s Capital Project”
[response by Devin A. Fore]
Tue March 3, 2020 @5pm
Princeton University – School of Architecture – Room N107

Sergei Eisenstein’s planned film adaptation of Karl Marx’s Capital stands as one of the most enigmatic projects in the history of cinema. Though never realized, it has haunted the imagination of many filmmakers, historians, and philosophers to the present day. A recent look into Eisenstein’s archive revealed the full scope of his plans: between October 1927 and September 1928, he gradually transformed his working diaries into an editing board. This “visual instruction in the dialectical method,” as Eisenstein himself called his project, comprises over 500 pages of notes, drawings, press clippings, expression diagrams, plans for articles, negatives from October, theoretical reflections and extensive quotations. What can be seen and read is not a film but a series of variations on the themes of economy and capitalist exploitation.

Elena Vogman’s recent book Dance of Values. Sergei Eisenstein’s Capital Project explores the internal formal necessity underlying the director’s choices, arguing that Capital’s visual complexity as well as its epistemic efficacy reside precisely within the state of its material: the dance of heterogeneous themes and disparate fragments, a non-linear, provisory, and non-articulated flow. In this way Eisenstein’s montage sequences produce a kind of surplus value entirely their own: a semiotic excess, which stirs the materials and represented bodies into a dance analogous to Marx’s “dance” of “petrified conditions.” It is in this polymorphic and “diffuse” language – associated with the stream of consciousness of Joyce’s Ulysses – that Eisenstein saw the strongest critical and affective potential for the future cinema.

Elena Vogman is a literary scholar, theorist and independent curator. She has published two books: Sinnliches Denken. Eisensteins exzentrische Methode (Diaphanes 2018) and Dance of Values. Sergei Eisenstein’s Capital Project (Diaphanes 2019). She currently teaches at the Art Academy Weißensee in Berlin and is working on a research project on media and milieus of critical psychiatry at the Bauhaus-University in Weimar.  

Devin A. Fore is Professor of German in the German Department at Princeton University.

February 25 // Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project [Film-Screening + Discussion with director Matt Wolf]

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project
(directed by Matt Wolf; 2019; 87 mins)

Film Screening + Discussion with director Matt Wolf
Tue February 25, 2020 @4.30pm
Princeton University – School of Architecture – Betts Auditorium

For over 30 years, Marion Stokes obsessively and privately recorded American television news twenty-four hours a day. A civil rights-era radical who became fabulously wealthy and reclusive later in life, her obsession started with the Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979—at the dawn of the twenty-four-hour news cycle. It ended on December 14, 2012, as the Sandy Hook massacre played on television while Marion passed away. In between, Marion filled 70,000 VHS tapes, capturing revolutions, wars, triumphs, catastrophes, bloopers, talk shows and commercials that show us how television shaped the world of today and in the process tell us who we were.

A mystery in the form of a time capsule, Recorder delves into the strange life of a woman for whom home taping was a form of activism to protect the truth (the public didn’t know it, but the networks had been disposing their archives for decades into the trashcan of history) and though her visionary and maddening project nearly tore her family apart, her extraordinary legacy is as priceless as her story is remarkable.

Matt Wolf is an award-winning filmmaker in New York whose feature documentaries include Wild Combination, about the cult cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell and Teenage, about early youth culture and the birth of teenagers. His new film Spaceship Earth about the controversial Biosphere 2 experiment is premiering at Sundance 2020. Matt’s short films include I Remember, about the artist and poet Joe Brainard, Time Magazine’s The Face of AIDS about a controversial Benetton advertisement, and Bayard & Me, about the civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. He is also the director of HBO’s It’s Me, Hilary and is the co-curator of film for the 2019 Whitney Biennial. He is a Guggenheim Fellow.

February 14 // Vanessa R. Schwartz : Jet Age Aesthetics

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

Vanessa R. Schwartz
“Jet Age Aesthetics: The Glamour of Media in Motion”
[response by Anne McCauley]
Tue February 18, 2020 @5pm
Princeton University – School of Architecture – Room N107

Vanessa R. Schwartz engagingly presents the jet plane’s power to define a new age at a critical moment in the mid-20th century, arguing that the craft’s speed and smooth ride allowed people to imagine themselves living in the future. Exploring realms as diverse as airport architecture, theme park design, film, and photography, Schwartz argues that the jet created an aesthetic that circulated on the ground below.

Visual and media culture, including Eero Saarinen’s airports, David Bailey’s photographs of the jet set, and Ernst Haas’s experiments in color photojournalism glamorized the imagery of motion. Drawing on unprecedented access to the archives of The Walt Disney Studios, Schwartz also examines the period’s most successful example of fluid motion meeting media culture: Disneyland. The park’s dedication to “people-moving” defined Walt Disney’s vision, shaping the very identity of the place. The jet age aesthetic laid the groundwork for our contemporary media culture, in which motion is so fluid that we can surf the internet while going nowhere at all.

Vanessa R. Schwartz is Professor of Art History, History and Film at the University of Southern California, where she also directs the Visual Studies Research Institute and the Graduate Certificate program. 

Anne McCauley is David Hunter McAlpin Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art in the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University.

February 4 // “MoMA REHANG” A Roundtable

M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents

A Roundtable with Elizabeth Diller, Leah Dickerman, Martino Stierli, Hal Foster, Beatriz Colomina, and Sylvia Lavin
Tue February 4, 2020 @5pm
Princeton University – School of Architecture – Betts Auditorium

MoMA recently renovated itself—editing, expanding, transforming, rehanging. M+M has invited some of the architects and curators driving the project to join an interdisciplinary forum as the status of museums, collections, architecture, media, public, and ideologies of presenting art are being rethought—again.

Elizabeth Diller 
is a founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and Professor of Architectural Design at Princeton University. Founded in 1981, Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is a design studio whose practice spans the fields of architecture, urban design, installation art, multi-media performance, digital media, and print. With a focus on cultural and civic projects, DS+R’s work addresses the changing role of institutions and the future of cities.  The studio is based in New York and is comprised of over 100 architects, designers, artists and researchers, led by four partners—Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro, and Benjamin Gilmartin.

Leah Dickerman
is Director of Editorial and Content Strategy at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Serving most recently as the Museum’s first Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture, a post endowed in 2015, Dickerman previously held the positions of Curator of Painting and Sculpture at MoMA (2008-2015), Acting Head of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Art (NGA), Washington, D.C. (2007), and Associate Curator in Modern and Contemporary Art at the NGA (2001-2007). Over the course of her career, Dickerman has organized or co-organized a series of exhibitions including One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Works (2015)Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925(2012-2013), Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art (2011-2012), Bauhaus: Workshops for Modernity (2009-2010), Dada (2005-2006), and Aleksandr Rodchenko (1998).

Martino Stierli
is The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern art (MoMA), a role he assumed in March 2015. He oversees the wide-ranging program of special exhibitions, installations, and acquisitions of the Department of Architecture and Design. As the Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at the University of Zurich’s Institute of Art History, Stierli focused his research on architecture and media. His project The Architecture of Hedonism: Three Villas in the Island of Capri was included in the 14th Architecture Biennale in Venice. He has organized and co-curated exhibitions on a variety of topics, including the international traveling exhibition Las Vegas Studio: Images from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (2008–14).

Sylvia Lavin is Professor of History and Theory of Architecture at Princeton University.

Hal Foster is Townsend Martin, Class of 1917, Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University.

Beatriz Colomina is Howard Crosby Butler Professor of the History of Architecture at Princeton University and Co-Director of the M+M Program in Media and Modernity.

M+M Spring 2020 teaser

M+M Program in Media and Modernity wishes you all an exciting and intellectually stimulating New Year 2020. While we finalize the programming for Spring 2020, here is an early teaser of what is to come…

FEB 4 |”MoMA REHANG” a roundtable with Beatriz Colomina, Leah Dickerman, Liz Diller, Hal Foster, Sylvia Lavin, Martino Stierli
FEB 18 |Vanessa R. Schwartz
MAR 3 |Elena Vogman
MAR 10 |Martino Stierli
MAR 24 |Juliane Vogel

Tuesdays @5pm
Princeton University — School of Architecture