November 6, 2003 – Norman Klein: “Mapping the Unfindable: New Narrative Strategies in the Age of the Electronic Baroque”

Thursday, November 6 / 4PM / Cowell Conference Room


Norman Klein—novelist, cultural critic, curator, and faculty member at California Institute for the Arts—has written on digital media, architecture, film, games and gaming, and special effects. He is one of the most original and distinctive interpreters of the emergent cultural and technological forms characteristic of what he terms “horizontal culture.” His books include Seven Minutes: The Life and Death of the American Animated Cartoon (Verso, 1996), The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory (Verso, 1997), and the book/DVD-ROM Bleeding Through—Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-1986 (Cantz, 2003). His most recent book, The Vatican to Vegas: The History of Special Effects, is forthcoming from The New Press in 2004. Klein writes,

“As in our era, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century illusion serviced a global culture and even relied on ‘software’ of a kind: solid geometry for architecture, optics, sculpture, painting, and theater. As if from a cryonic thaw, these forms have reemerged very clearly in recent decades. And to manage all this friendly disaster, modern special effects have evolved a unique grammar as precise as the rules of film, theater, and music.” 

His talk explores mapping as a model of narrative and interpretive strategy, and treats computer games, urban architecture, digital narratives, and cinema.