- Special Programs
ICLS Graduate Student Colloquium presentation by
Ginger Nolan (GSAPP and ICLS)
Open to the ICLS community, the ICLS Graduate Student Colloquium provides an opportunity for our graduate students to present selections from their dissertations-in-progress and receive feedback from students and faculty. Please see the 'program' section below for a description of Ms. Nolan's topic.
For more information or to schedule to present in our spring colloquium, please contact the ICLS offices.
Ginger Nolan will present from her dissertation, “Savage Mind / Savage Machine: ‘Human Development’ and the Invention of the Media Arts & Sciences, c.1880-1985”, focusing on her third chapter, titled “The Environment”. This chapter suggests that the Environment was an aporetic construct whose proposed model of global unity was complicit with another model, that of a globe bifurcated into First and Third Worlds. This geographic complicity/duplicity in fact mirrored certain inconsistencies advanced by mid-twentieth-century media and communication theorists who regarded magical thought as a semiotic tool for eliding the split between sign and referent. These theorists drew from colonial ethnopsychiatric accounts of how “the African environment” (i.e., the jungle) produced the so-called “African Mind”, a magical psyche deemed to be unaware of the arbitrary relation between sign and signified. This chapter focuses on media theorists’ and designers’ interest in magical thought as a semiotic tool for inventing “the Environment”: a sphere whose seamless unity masked its concomitant cleavage into two worlds defined only by their presumed difference from each other.
Image from "Moving the piano in a large dugout canoe" from Albert Schweitzer's On the Edge of the Primeval Forest: Experiences and Observations of a Doctor in Equatorial Africa (1922)