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Media Love

This document discusses the relationship between media and love from multiple perspectives. It references theorists who see media as practices that can create new social worlds and influence human relationships. Media is seen as both a way for humans to express their sexual desires and connect with others, as well as a factor that influenced the rise of romantic love through novels. The document advocates for celebrating media's role in human freedom and connection, while also calling for emotional and digital literacy to help people find balance and happiness through networked love.

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Media
© Piet Hermans
Mark Deuze
University of Amsterdam
mdeuze@uva.nl
@markdeuze
Love
#lifeinmedia
Antoine Geiger (2015)
Media Love
“The erotic escapes. Shame and reason
conspire to repress it. The body disappears
behind the curtain of the mind.”
Roger Silverstone
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
“Love is clearly
significant as a
transformative power sui
generis in social life”
“media practices can also have the
compound effect of (co-)creating
new social worlds … the worlding
effects of media practices.”
Anna Jónasdóttir (2014)
John Postill (2022)
media as practice
mediation
mediatization
© Piet Hermans
media as practice
Media Love
“Instead of seeing dangers and disasters
everywhere, the various things people do
when enacting their sexual desires in
media – including lurking, seducing,
up/downloading, chatting, mutual
masturbation, dating and orgy-swinging –
can also be celebrated as playful rituals
of freedom and excess.”
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
mediation
“the rise of romantic love
more or less coincided with
the emergence of the
[romantic] novel”
Anthony Giddens (1992)
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
1968
Media Love
1973
Media Love
1993
Media Love
2013
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
“worldings … [where humans] and nonhuman
beings become enfolded in each other’s
projects, in each other’s lives, they come
to need each other in diverse, passionate,
corporeal, meaningful ways.”.”
Donna Haraway (2016)
© Piet Hermans
mediatization
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
Media Love
love & media
literacy
digital nutrition
emotional (media) literacy
“If networked love is to be defined
as a sense of balance that leads to
moments of fleeting happiness, then
that involves, among other things, an
artful composition of the digital
artifacts that saturate the self with
the potential for social contact.”
Zizi Papacharissi (2018)
Media Love
IN MEDIA
Media Love
Mark Deuze
University of Amsterdam
mdeuze@uva.nl
@markdeuze
#lifeinmedia

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Media Love

Editor's Notes

  1. Photography: Piet Hermans Love is all around. This may be somewhat of a cliché, and like all platitudes contains a kernel of truth. Our relations with media are profoundly personal, and this intimacy plays a powerful role in explaining the significance of media and communication in society and in everyday life. However, love as a concept or driving force in the mutual shaping of media, society and the day-to-day tends to be rarely acknowledged in media and (mass) communication scholarship – and when it does, it is often seen as a problem rather than as a natural, let alone helpful phenomenon. In this presentation, a theory of ‘media love’ is proposed in recognition of its profundity, using a taxonomy of media as practice, mediation, and mediatization to explore the various ways win which our love for (and in) media is manifest. 3 points: 1. love informs and inspires all our research and should be taken seriously, and should be critiqued 2. through media studies (media as practice, mediation, and mediatization) we can study love (especially our love for media, as Silverstone reminds us to do) 3. media love, as a transformative praxis, inspires a new way of thinking about media and information literacy: emotional literacy, and creative literacy
  2. Source: https://antoinegeiger.com/PHOTOGRAPHY/SUR-FAKE Although it is clear that we love media – sometimes even too much, perhaps – the bliss we find in and on our devices tends to disappear in accounts of media scholarship. As Roger Silverstone remarked in 1999: “The erotic escapes. Shame and reason conspire to repress it. The body disappears behind the curtain of the mind” (1999: 49).
  3. Remember Socarates and his concern about media: as coming between us and reality, of not experiencing things for yourself: this Platonic legacy still inspires much of media studies to this day: our obsession with media disrupting/disturbing the otherwise pure/authentic relations between people, of perverting the possibility of ‘angelic’ communication. ”[Writing] will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.”
  4. Remember Roger Silverstone’s 1999 Why Study Media?
  5. the ELIZA effect: The “ELIZA effect” is a term used to discuss progressive artificial intelligence. It is the idea that people may falsely attach meanings of symbols or words that they ascribe to artificial intelligence in technologies. Originally from 1966, ELIZA's DOCTOR script was found to be surprisingly successful in eliciting emotional responses from users who, in the course of interacting with the program, began to ascribe understanding and motivation to the program's output.
  6. majority of interactions with Siri were intimate/persona In April 2010, Apple acquired Siri, and in October 2011, Siri was unveiled as an integrated feature of the Apple iPhone 4Sl
  7. Modern family and love for a fridge
  8. Love is clearly significant as a transformative power sui generis in social life. (Jonasdotttir 2014: 14) Accepting such a view also demands that scholars make an epistemological decision that acknowledges the world-making capacity of practices. (Pentzold 2020: 2969) media practices, however, can also have the effect of (co-) creating new social worlds. I will call this complex phenomenon the worlding effects of media practices (Postill 2020) Worlding comes from Haraway, D. J. (2016). Staying with the trouble: Making kin in the chthulucene. Duke University Press.: “scientists, artists, ordinary members of communities and nonhuman beings become enfolded in each other’s projects, in each other’s lives, they come to need each other in diverse, passionate, corporeal, meaningful ways.”
  9. In order to unpack the wide variety of ways we love media – and how media plays a profound role in love – I follow a taxonomy of approaches common in contemporary media studies: considering media as practice (focusing on what people do with media, how that makes them feel, and what this means to them), mediation (looking closely at how media play a role in people’s intimate, affective and romantic life), and mediatization (considering on a macro level our our relationships and ways of thinking and acting around and about media (including technologies and machines more generally) are transforming. 1. Understanding media as practice related to love, allowing us to focus on the various ways in which people use media in everyday life to find and maintain love, to make love, and what happens when their love for media gets out of control 2. Exploring the mediation of love, an approach that deals with the circulation and appropriation of information and ideas via media (as institutions) about love—such as popular depictions in literature and film of romantic love in general and of love involving humans and their media in particular 3. Appreciating the mediatization of love, a speculative way of looking at the central and historical role media play for our understanding and expression of love—specifically our love for media
  10. As Thomas Pentzold (2020) notes, a focus on what people do with media – on a praxeological perspective – has a rich genealogy across a variety of disciplines, becoming more established in media and communication research since the start of the 21st century. A practice perspective is particularly useful for the study of media as it prevents us from becoming perhaps a bit too ‘blinded’ by the deluge of shiny new toys that the global consumer electronics industry incessantly produces, instead focusing on not just what people do with all these technologies, but also how these practices arrange, combine, and more generally intersect with other social practices (Mattoni and Trere, 2014: 259), how people talk about and make sense of their media practices (Couldry, 2004: 118), and how the use and appropriation any particular medium fits with the broader media ensemble or ‘repertoire’ of all other media we use in all kinds of routinized and recurrent ways (Pentzold, 2020: 2978). A practice-oriented point of view reminds us of the embodied nature of everything we do with media, of how bodily skills (such as reading and writing) are involved, and how we express ourselves in as well as about media. In all of this, we should acknowledge “the world-making capacity of practices” (ibid.: 2969), as by using media in certain ways and giving such practices specific meanings, people also produce a particular way of being in the world.
  11. Often, we first think of how people use media for love about sex and pornography – which quite quickly becomes a rather normative debate about addiction, shame, danger and subversion.Interestingly, since 2014 we have a academic journal, Porn Studies, addressing the enormous complexity and variety of sexual practices, ideas, ideals, and identities that people all over the world engage in, in part enabled by the existence of a global porn industry.
  12. the point of porn studies: the controversial nature of research into sex and technology, given its focus on an “impetus to air tensions and support a post- utopian quest for pleasure and media awareness” (1) rather than moral panics, narrow-mindedness and porn hysteria. For these authors and activists, mediated sex and sexuality open up all kinds of important spaces for discussion and exploration, such as challenging work ethics and gender roles across cultural boundaries, networks and practices of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) cybereroticism, interesting art works and so on. Instead of seeing dangers and disasters everywhere, the various things people do when enacting their sexual desires in media – including “lurking, seducing, up/downloading, chatting, mutual masturbation, dating and orgy-swinging” (2) – can also be celebrated as playful rituals of freedom and excess. See also work of Feona Attwood, Belinda Middleweek
  13. Since the late 1990s, a new set of conventions for representing sexual activity has emerged in cinema: specifically, the inclusion of scenes of unsimulated sex. Quickly dubbed “real sex” cinema, the phenomenon brings together a diverse group of more than 50 films that otherwise have little in common in terms of genre, budget, modes of production or national censorship systems. For this project, the new explicit cinema is not a fully fledged film genre, nor the culmination of earlier cinematic traditions for representing the erotic or obscene, but rather an historically specific aesthetic phenomenon that reflects and responds to the range of meanings of sex under the compromised conditions of late modernity. This conceptual framing allows me to pursue the idea that the new explicit cinema offers significant insights into the sexualization of contemporary visual cultures, and transformations in sexuality that are central to the experience of modern identity and gendered selfhood.
  14. On a more mundane level, media love in terms of practice is all about finding (and keeping) love – for example as expressed through online dating - an industry that is unique in that it is not happy with a satisfied customer…
  15. interesting how love online is presented as both easy and real (as opposed to offline love) even though the point still is to meet a stranger
  16. Another common practice – often singled out in dualistic (good vs bad) normative debates – is sexting: generally, a healthy and fun practice, sometimes leading to problematic consequences.
  17. https://www.thatdickpicshow.com/ Whitney Bell A lifetime of dick picks a viral traveling anti-harassment gallery show - thatdickpicshow.com @ Think Tank Gallery // by @kidd.bell
  18. after sex selfies
  19. teledildonics: a hype in the 1990s, now quite commonplace – yet another way couples close down the space between them through media. Its not sex with a machine, but playing with a machine to have sex with other people…
  20. sex robots, introduced in 2018 by RealBotix (see research by Belinda Middleweek)
  21. https://campaignagainstsexrobots.org/about/ We believe the development of sex robots further sexually objectifies women and children. We propose that the development of sex robots will further reduce human empathy that can only be developed by an experience of mutual relationship. We challenge the view that the development of adult and child sex robots will have a positive benefit to society, but instead further reinforce power relations of inequality and violence. We take issue with those arguments that propose that sex robots could help reduce sexual exploitation and violence towards prostituted persons, pointing to all the evidence that shows how technology and the sex trade coexist and reinforce each other creating more demand for human bodies.
  22. MEDIATION: how we talk about/give meaning to love, here specifically: WhyIHeartMyMedia.com Mediation or, as John Thompson (1995: 46) suggests, ‘the mediazation of culture’ is a concept for media research generally inspired by the work of Jesús Martín-Barbero (1993) and Roger Silverstone (1994; see Couldry, 2008). Although the study of mediation would most certainly include what people do with media, the concept tends to get used more broadly to account for the various ways in which “media supports the flow of discourses, meanings, and interpretations in societies” (Mattoni and Trere, 2014: 260). Silverstone somewhat similarly defines mediation as “the fundamentally, but unevenly, dialectical process in which institutionalized media of communication … are involved in the general circulation of symbols in social life” (2002: 762). Barbero has urged researchers to move from studying media to exploring ‘mediations’ in order to account for how people enact resistance and resilience to whatever they experience in and through media.  
  23. the rise of romantic love more or less coincided with the emergence of the [romantic] novel
  24. Romance is the most beloved and best selling, but most stigmatized, genre of books. Love in this media is feminized and therefore stigmatized by publishers. Typical of the work in this genre: great respect for the audience. Christine Larson: romance novels! Yay! and, Stray notion on the first point. How will you deal with quandry of romance novels and their movie/tv progeny? Romance is the most beloved and best selling, but most stigmatized, genre of books (which frequently also get made into far less stigmatized movies and TV shows, witness Bridgerton). Love in this media is feminized and therefore stigmatized by publishers. I'l look forward to how you think about gender in your next amazing work! Like romantic comedies (in film): respect your audience. most of the best romantic comedies I watched featured characters who were dealing with real, inescapable sadness. People keep reading or watching a romance because they love the characters, no matter what situation they’re in. “By the time we get to Nora Roberts, students are attuned to the ways that popular stories like Last of the Mohicans and Uncle Tom’s Cabin often place matters of the heart at their center, even if the love affairs of the central characters are thwarted or doomed,” says Gleason, who allows his students to vote on the final novel for the semester. In 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey was the resounding choice. “After these earlier novels, students have a better sense of what it means, culturally, for a narrative to permit love to flourish.” Hypothesis: serious literature/movies etc involves failed love, whereas love’s success is not taken seriously.  And such a great point. Popular romance novels would be featured in a chapter where I talk about love in media more generally, including a discussion of the global popularity of soap operas/telenovelas/K-drama/lakorn/sepies. Both genres that keep publishers and broadcasters afloat, while often being the subject of ridicule and, like love more generally, just not being taken seriously (enough). Here's my question/hypothesis to you: media such as literature/movies and so on that are taken seriously generally involve failed/thwarted love, whereas love’s success - the staple of romance fiction/romcoms/soap operas - gets dismissed. Can't we handle happiness ever after? Or does it have to do with the the lack of happy endings in the real world that makes us distrust, be critical or even dismissive of happy endings in popular culture (and, in doing so, become blind to the endless negotiations with love such media provide - which explains their appeal)? The creative – and productive – nature of love is something I have explored in my own work (2007), and Jónasdóttir’s account of this in explicitly Marxist terms offers an interesting perspective on why two individuals working together on a common cause (other than themselves) can be so rewarding (i.e., the need to produce, to labour, is intrinsic to human existence and is the key to a ‘good life’ providing we own ‘the means of production’ as, in our relationships, we do). However, this model of love at its creative best is, according to Jónasdóttir, extremely difficult to achieve in patriarchal society on account of the fact that men and women are differently positioned in terms of both their needs and expectations and this has resulted in a division of labour (women care in order to ‘earn’ the love and respect of their men, while men enjoy ‘erotic ecstacy’ but miss out on the positive experience of care). This is an arrangement which ultimately disadvantages both parties and prevents them finding fulfilment in shared ‘creative productivity’ beyond themselves.
  25. Hypothesis: serious literature/movies etc involves failed love, whereas love’s success is not taken seriously. Can’t we accept happy endings? Ultimate love in media genre: the soap opera Soap opera (UK/Australia/US/Turkey) Soapies/zepies (South Africa) K-drama (South Korea) Lakorn (Thailand) Telenovelas (Latin America) Including here a discussion of the global popularity of soap operas/telenovelas/K-drama/lakorn/sepies. Both genres that keep publishers and broadcasters afloat, while often being the subject of ridicule and, like love more generally, just not being taken seriously (enough).
  26. Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist science-fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang and written by Thea von Harbou in collaboration with Lang from von Harbou's 1925 novel of the same name. A robot transforms into a woman who drives people crazy…
  27. lets look at the role seks has played in film throughout the 20th century
  28. 1973 outsourcing sex to an Orgasmatron
  29. 1993 bodily sex replaced through electronic stimulators and simulation devices
  30. 2013: sex with a machine (a computer operating system) the conclusion about media in our sex life is that media (machines/tech/hardware/software and what we do with them) are getting closer/more intimate, slowly disappear. and introducing an element of unnaturalness, but… Media Naturalness Theory The naturalness of a communication medium is defined, in media naturalness theory, as the degree of similarity of the medium with the face-to-face medium. According to media naturalness theory, a decrease in the degree of naturalness of a communication medium leads to an increase in the amount of cognitive effort required to use the medium for communication. In these films/opo culture: when ‘media’ become increasingly natural/ambient/similar to us, we have to spend less (cognitive) resources and communication in/through becomes easier. In that moment, these media ‘disappear’ (and thus become extremely powerful in shaping our communication). Media naturalness theory argues that since our Stone Age hominid ancestors have communicated primarily face-to-face, evolutionary pressures have led to the development of a brain that is consequently designed for that form of communication. Other forms of communication are too recent and unlikely to have posed evolutionary pressures that could have shaped our brain in their direction. Using communication media that suppress key elements found in face-to-face communication, as many electronic communication media do, thus ends up posing cognitive obstacles to communication.
  31. the evolution of media/sex relationships in mainstream film: where the ‘machine’ in these relationships becomes increasingly normal. but, a recurring theme is unnaturalness.
  32. 2014: empathy for an enslaved robot
  33. Barbarella 1968 Sleeper 1973 Demolition Man 1993 Her 2013 Ex Machina 2014
  34. Similar process in literature: increasingly intimate/reciprocal/confusing relations between humans/media/machines HOFFMAN Sandman 1816: falling in love with the automaton Olimpia Aldiss Supertoys 1969: replacing a child with an artificial human which gets replaced as permission to reproduce is acquired (the 2001 Spielberg AI movie version is much more emphatic toward David) Houllebecq Island 2005: after successfully placing your soul into a clone (Daniel 24) Houllebecq ironically celebrates the freedom of indifference of such a sexless life Ishiguro Klara 2021: about the love of an ‘Android Friend’ for children from the perspective of a non-human actor, devoting their ‘life’ to service
  35. HAL 1968 inspired by Hoffmann: a soulless scary machine
  36. Replicants in 1982 and 2017: rights of replicants, impossibility of distinguishing, not knowing whether you are a machine
  37. Ceylon: 1978 - 2004 Terminator: 1984 Borg: 1997 (seven of nine; before that: 1989) evolution of cybernetic organisms: becoming sexy and deserving/capable of love
  38. MEDIATIZATION: how through our increasing intimacy with media we have developed more fluid, remixable, intimate relationships with media/tech/machines In recent years, it has become clear to many, if not most scholars that media and mass communication are not just acting upon established processes in society, but are also creating routines within and across society’s institutions on their own. In order to grasp the far-reaching consequences of this double articulation of media and society, the concept of mediatization has been introduced (Hjarvard, 2008; Couldry and Hepp, 2013). Mediatization can be seen as a conceptual extension of mediation, not a replacement theory, adding awareness about historical co-evolution and parallelism between the role of media and other meta-processes in society such as globalization and individualization (Lunt and Livingstone, 2016). In a relatively short time, it has been taken up far and wide in media and mass communication research, inspiring work in ‘institutionalist’ and ‘constructionist’ directions (Hepp, 2013). Broadly presented, the institutional perspective analyzes the impact of media institutions on other societal institutions on a meso-level (Hjarvard, 2013). In its focus on meso-level analysis, the institutional perspective differs from the constructionist perspective, which rather adopts a macro-level analysis, focusing on the broader role of the media environment. This involves focusing on the media in their totality and on how their integration in culture and society historically have helped shape all cultural and social spheres, thus analyzing it as a “meta-process” on par with individualization, globalization, and so on.
  39. we have good reasons to love media: using/making media/self-expression/creativity/art, identity, belonging/community, strong feelings/passion considering this, it is easy to understand why media have come to play such a profound role in love, why we love media. it follows that there must be – at least since the 18th century and the emergence of romance and love both in literature, music as well as in society (as a basis for romantic coupling) – a mutual shaping of media technologies and texts with media audiences and users, as well as media makers. LOVE LIFE Takeaways: explore and acknowledge the level of intimacy between us and our media (as we see in the evolution of man-machine relationships in popular culture) we have good reasons to love media: using/making media/self-expression/creativity/art, identity, belonging/community, strong feelings/passion love literally: media and information assist us in the struggle for mates: sex in media, media in sex, finding love online bottom line: this does not make us more or less human, as there is always the volatility of meeting an other/a stranger website whyiheartmymedia.com (login: deuzemedialife; password: MediaLove2018 ) since 2011
  40. self expression
  41. identity
  42. belonging
  43. feels
  44. media literacy (digital nutrition, emotional literacy) play with media (make media, civic imagination) theoretical violence (imagine different futures) hacking (programming & Squid Game) exploit the uncanny (reality versus mediated authenticity) decentering media (indigenous methods to life in media: autoethnography, lifelogging, data scraping/digital methods, non-extractive science)
  45. Navigating our mediatized life is difficult. It requires a complex and interdependent set of skills and competences that range from sophisticated (and always out-of-date) technological skills, via the development of digital nutrition (as a pillar of health alongside diet, exercise and sleep), to critical expertise. Quote: We define digital nutrition as two distinct but complementary behaviors. The first is the healthful consumption of digital assets, or any positive, purposeful content designed to alleviate emotional distress or maximize human potential, health, and happiness. The second behavior is smarter decision-making, aided by greater transparency around the composition and behavioral consequences of specific types of digital content.
  46. What a media life most definitely needs is ‘emotional digital literacy’: a way of reflecting in real-time about both the convenience and consequence of sharing our lives with the world online, about the promises and pitfalls of being able to find confirmation for every truth (as ‘truth’ always feels intensely personal), about what it means to truly be together alone – in media. Quote: in a world saturated with digital platforms and devices, it is not the new technical skills that are most precious rather, it is emotional digital literacy, which is different from computer literacy. Emotional digital literacy can be ‘taught’ to some extent but some of it, as our interviews make clear, comes with age and cannot emerge prior to one’s biological and social readiness.
  47. In het collected A Networked Self and Love, Zizi writes in the preface about how we all make ‘artful compositions of the digital’ around experiences of intimacy and affect. She identifies self-reflexivity, irony, and play as core strategies in performing the self across mediated realities that are relational and connected. This ‘life as art’ (something Foucault and Bauman also have written about) is a key inspiration for the Media Love book project this presentation introduces.
  48. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_Vaneigem media life is a life where we observe ourselves live this in turn enables and powers a reflective position vis-à-vis our own behavior our argument is that this position should always be aesthetic and ethical, like the Bil’in/Avatar example: it is fun and seriously consequential at the same time. 4. and this is how we need to look at ourselves in order to be able to take responsibility for our desires