The Post-Screen

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


This paper proposes a new theoretical framework of "The Post-Screen" for contemporary media. I argue that screens and images today increasingly set up diminishing boundaries between image and object. For example, virtual reality (VR) is a media form whose aim is for its screen boundaries to be as imperceptible as possible, or if anything to "disappear" altogether. Contemporary manifestations of screen media thus seek to erode, if not erase, the viewer’s perceptual differentiations between the actual reality they live in and the virtual reality of the image that they experience. This, then, is the post-screen.

My argument is two-fold. Firstly, I focus on how contemporary media technology is changing the visibility of screens and thereby the nature and perceptibility of their boundaries. This shift
obscures the “ontological cut” which marks out difference, so that screens move from being spaces of difference to spaces of indifference. Secondly, the changing nature of virtuality out of
disappearing screens also points to the changing nature of affect and subjectivity. As media objects are consumed, so are their consuming subjects reconfigured and affected. This concern
is thus also a critical attention to understanding ourselves as beings in increasingly intertwined actual and representational realities. With minds and bodies bombarded with and in constant
absorption of burgeoning quantities of media through expanding bandwidths of information, screens change as do, and with, their viewers.

With the constant interpolation of the screen in everyday life, the liminality of the screen boundary signifies an expanding and increasingly fluid space not just for watching, but for living itself.
Imagining the post-screen, then, is wrapped up with this ubiquity of screens to the point of their invisibility or imperceptibility. At the same time, screens continue to affect not only our relationships with images, but also our understandings of our worlds and ourselves. I conclude that what the post-screen engenders is really the sense of "no more media": we may now think of everything as cinema, or as image, or as virtuality. The terms of reality and illusion no longer have their old semantic values as they did across the screen’s boundaries; they are no
longer related in the ways they used to be. In the post-screen, reality and illusion are not counters or opposites to each other. Instead, we have to grapple with another regime of truth
Period31 Mar 2022
Held atSociety of Cinema and Media Studies, United States
Degree of RecognitionInternational