4/27/2007

MiT5 kicked off this afternoon and I made it to parts of two plenaries and the entirety of two breakout sessions. Among several good papers I heard was Derek Johnson's on historicizing transmedia storytelling and media franchises. Derek was challenging Henry Jenkins's use of the term "transmedia" while Henry Jenkins was in the audience. That was my favorite part of the day.

My paper on web video and community-based authorship is tomorrow. As for today, here are some more impressions, bullet-point bloggy-style.

-Studying media in transition is shooting a moving target. So many of the speakers here seem to be trying to grapple with ongoing events, with shifting terrain and inchoate discourses, and some even concern themselves with forecasting future trends, which seems to me to go beyond the scholarly mandate of media studies. Studying an ongoing process is not easy, and it makes me wonder whether it might make better sense to wait awhile before writing about what's happening now. This actually makes me feel good about my major non-new-media project on independent cinema, which I think of as a book about something that has already happened rather than something that is developing as I write. (Of course independent cinema continues to develop, but it's also something that has taken shape over the years and assumed a fairly stable identity.)

-There are more open laptops here than I have ever seen at a conference, and from what I can tell from snooping over people's shoulders, most are being used in multitasking fashion, to read e-mail or have encounters in Second Life or scan RSS feeds while at the same time paying attention to a speaker. Just like my undergrads Facebooking in class.

-M.I.T.'s buildings are numbered as well as named, and so looking for your next panel means searching for E-15 or 4-253. This is confusing.

-At dinner I had clam chowder. I'm the kind of person who orders clam chowder in Boston, cuz that's what you do.

For more on MiT5, see Jill's blog. She's keeping track of various Twitter and blog responses to the conference. More to come.

[update 4/28: Jason has a more thorough discussion of the two panels we both attended yesterday.]

2 comments:

Ira Wagman said...

The suspense is killing me -- did Jenkins respond to Johnson's paper?

Jason Mittell said...

Henry said that he agreed with most of Derek's points, viewing them as "friendly amendments" - which I think they were...