Collaboration between IU professor, Dutch artist examines ‘Media Life’

Longtime friends and colleagues Mark Deuze and Dutch artist Miek van Dongen are both inspired by “the messiness and magical quality of our interactions with the world around us, and particularly in the role of technologies, machines and media in our lives.”

In that vein, Deuze — an associate professor in IU’s Department of Telecommunications and professor of journalism and new media at Leiden University in his home country of The Netherlands — reached out to van Dongen when he began writing “Media Life” (Polity Press, 2012) and suggested the two work within the broad theme of living in media and see whether their work intersected.

Miek van Dongen’s “Sloppy Machine.”

It did, and the results can be seen in Deuze’s book and a new exhibition at the Grunwald Gallery featuring van Dongen’s drawings and animations. The show opens to the public with a reception at 6 p.m. Aug. 24, and van Dongen will give a gallery talk at 6 p.m. Sept. 12.

“Since the late 1990s, I have been teaching all kinds of courses on new media and everyday life,” Deuze said. “And all these years it seemed that I was trying to teach students that what they did with media, how they felt about their media, was wrong. That the increasingly intimate and meaningful relationships we have with our media is somehow problematic and bad for us. Lately, my aim has been to reverse this often unspoken mindset among media scholars. What if all these media in our lives are not necessarily good or bad for us? Perhaps media are to us as water is to fish. The ‘Media Life’ book and traveling art exhibition document in different ways the exploration of ongoing fusion of media with life, of humans and machines.”

Deuze said the discourse on new media expressed through the exhibition and his book are the backbone of T101, offered by IU’s Department of Telecommunications each semester, while also inspiring a graduate course he’ll teach for the first time in spring 2013.

As someone who can’t be separated from my iPhone for too long without feeling anxious and a former newspaper reporter interested in the shifts new media is causing in the industry, I can’t wait to learn more about Deuze’s work and see the exhibition.


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