Mid Semester Review


Both Donna Haraway and Andrew Hageman consider that media and art are part of a larger struggle (of ideology, of mental frames) about how the world works and the kind of behavior and speculations (worlding) we need in order for it to continue as a viable habitat for humans and life forms more generally.

One of the main goals of this course is to understand some ideas that Donna Haraway takes from recent biological investigations that emphasize the importance of co-operation, co-development, relationships, connections and symbiosis; and to use these ideas to experience and analyze eco-media. All through “Staying with the Trouble” Haraway uses art and media projects to expand her ideas, and argues that both art and science speculations are needed to cope with current environmental challenges.

In Chapter 3 of “Staying with the Trouble”, in particular, Haraway investigates four art/science projects juxtaposing them against her mental frames in order to describe and analyze them. She writes of these projects: “It is time to turn to sympoietic worldings, to vital models …, where ordinary stories, ordinary becoming “involved in each other’s lives,” propose ways to stay with the trouble in order to nurture well-being on a damaged planet.” p76

Following Haraway, I think it matters what mental frames and tools we bring to our analyses of different media. In the context of documentary I introduced some ways to think about how “meaning is made”, how truth/facts are represented, and where the voice of authority comes from. In week 4 I discussed a traditional narrative (Hollywood) film structure and the relationship between content and form. You also read Andrew Hageman’s articles about ideology, form & content, and contradictions.

This week please review the readings and webpages focusing on the critical tools that have been discussed, especially:

Describe and analyze Chasing Coral connecting the choices made by the movie’s director to one or more of the critical mental frames/ideas you have just reviewed. As usual focus on telling details. Do not make generalizations. Make formal citations.

These are the kind of questions you should be asking and answering.

  • What kind of formal structure does the movie use? How does the form construct meaning? Are there contradictions between the form and content?
  • How/does this movie align with Haraway’s criteria for media that stays with the trouble?
  • How could you make connections between “Chasing Coral” and some of the terms Haraway uses : oddkin, sympoiesis, holobiont, capitolocene, chthulucene?