The Chair of Comparative Arts and Media focuses on the history and theory of media in a broad interdisciplinary context. We teach various media-related courses and a whole track in the BA Media, Art, Design and Architecture and are in charge of the international one-year MA Comparative Arts and Media Studies. Together with the other colleagues from Arts and Culture we teach the two-year Research Master Critical studies in Arts and Culture.
At the VU our team is part of CLUE+. Nationally we are members of the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis and the Research School for Media Studies. Our group encompasses two major clusters of research:
- The research on film, television and digital media focuses on a cultural environment characterized by convergences between media practices and platforms (film, television, video, Internet, games) and other fields of cultural production (visual arts, museum exhibitions, storytelling, visualizations in science and technology). The emphasis lies on the historical, theoretical and political aspects of the crossovers between these fields.
Part of this research was a major internationally funded HERA project entitled “Technology, Exchange, and Flow: Artistic Media Practices and Commercial Application”, which focuses on the cultural innovations driven by exchanges between advertising, experimental film, video, and games. Another, four-year NWO-funded Ph.D. project concerns the representation of visual artists in photography and coffee-table books from 1960s to the present. In the past we also received funds from the European Science Foundation for an international expert meeting on Intermedialities. In 2015 we co-organized the international conference of the International Society of Intermedial Studies (ISIS) at Utrecht University, while in 2018 we co-hosted the international conference of the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS).
- Other research concentrates on the role of digital (mobile) media in the emergence of a post-industrial participatory culture in which the changing positions of amateurs and professionals, consumers and producers, artists, activists and cultural industries are radically changing the fields of archiving, design, and visual and spatial production. Collaborations with our colleagues from Design Cultures have been longstanding.
Part of this research, entitled “Archiving Interactives,” was funded by the VU University’s Embedded Research Program and concerned the technological and policy-related requirements that interactive video productions impose on the archives of the Institute of Sound and Vision. Other similarly funded embedded research projects concerned “User-Objects relations in Open Design” dealing with the impact of The Waag’s open-source design on the design industry, and “Modemuze: Users as Muse” researching the fan communities emerging along with the online fashion and costumes collections that seven Dutch museums recently launched. Another, four-year NWO-funded Ph.D. project is about the history of the discursive and material construction of the idea of Dutch Design between 1945-2010; Finally, we recently started an NWO Smart Culture project on Re-sourcing and participation in design.