DUQUESNE

Not that kind of Catholic.

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UVA: REAL AND VIRTUAL THREATS

I am just catching up with the mess at the University of Virginia.  For those who haven’t heard, good summaries and commentaries can be found here, here, and here.  The short story: the University’s Board of Visitors fired the University President, Teresa Sullivan, after just two years in office.  A string of emails between the Board and Sullivan reveal that she was under pressure to dismantle disciplines that “couldn’t sustain themselves financially, such as obscure academic departments in classics and German.”

The conflation of academic value and financial solvency is deeply troubling, especially at such a wealthy institution (UVA’s $5 billion endowment is the largest of any public university in the United States).  Humanities programs rarely sustain themselves financially.  They always rely upon other, more profitable disciplines to survive.  Moreover, the humanities have historically been regarded as instrinsically valuable.  They do not need to meet any other conditions or criteria to justify their existence.  Without them, you no longer have a university.

Kevin Carey’s article in the New Republic makes an important link between the global economic crisis and the corporate culture of (many) university administrations: Continue reading

DIGITS AND HANDS

Lose a few hours of your life exploring Gregory Zinman’s excellent digital archive of handmade cinema.  The project was born out of his 2011 dissertation, Handmade: The Moving Image in the Digital Mode (NYU).  It is at once an expansive, annotated guide to some of the most fascinating moving-image experimenters of the 20th and 21st centuries and an experiment unto itself in digital taxonomy.

OPEN IMAGES

Open Images is a media sharing platform developed by the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision, based on the Creative Commons licensing model.  May 31st marked the upload of their 2,000th video.  There are some lovely, inexplicable fragments in the collection.  It’s interesting to compare Open Images with the Creative Commons community, and to consider the national specificity of these online archives.  Does the seeming “openness” and boundlessness of remix culture blur the boundaries of the national?  Or do these platforms produce a toolbox of national signs (and, in turn, a remix practice that is always-and-already emplaced)?

MADAME WINGER

I just came across this compilation of Helen Hill films from NOLA’s 2010 Timecode festival. The reel includes Madame Winger Makes a Film: A Survival Guide for the 21st Century (around 3:50), as well as a handful of other shorts from the Harvard collection of Helen Hill’s work.  I have written about Hill elsewhere and am happy to see some of her films circulating online.  Madame Winger is one of my favorite Hill shorts; it encapsulates so much of her (playful, instructive, extraordinary) practice.