In 1903, German apothecary Julius Neubronner fitted homing pigeons with tiny dual-lensed pneumatic cameras in order to produce unmanned aerial images. I argue that Neubronner’s experiment is suggestive of a much more substantial dovetailing of birds with the modern project of overcoming distance and contend that the field of media studies has overlooked the significance of Neubronner’s work. Either treated as an amusing one-off or an unwitting precursor to drone photography, this enterprise remains outside of and separate from media history. I wager that this is because the nature-culture divide continues to persist in the field, making it ill-equipped to properly address relationships between animals and media. I turn to the concept of “feral ecologies,” which I have developed in order to mitigate this stubborn nature-culture partition and recoup its historical and theoretical omissions. Tending to “feral ecologies,” I conclude, makes media studies more hospitable and inclusive of animals and the myriad of ways they are implicated in the innovation and development of media.
SARA SWAIN is a writer, researcher, and educator based in Toronto. She holds a PhD in Communication and Culture from York and Ryerson Universities. She studies the ways in which non-human animals are implicated in the imagination and materialization of media technologies, and our understandings of communication.
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gratuit | ouvert à tous et toutes
Vendredi 27 mars, 13h–14h
free | all are welcome
Friday, March 27, 1-2pm
* Bricolab, Pavillon Marie-Victorin A-444 (temporary entrance at 1575 blvd Mont-Royal)
* Conférence présentée par le Laboratoire Artefact en collaboration avec le Bricolab, au Département de communication à l’Université de Montréal
* In English