Revisited: High/Low Conference

15 Mar, 2019

Revisited: High/Low Conference

Recap by KC Forcier, a conference organizer.

High/Low: Taste, Quality, and Resolution in Film & Media, a conference hosted by the graduate students of the UC Berkeley Department of Film & Media, examined the question of quality in form and content from the standpoint of the digital age. If the advent of digital technology provided new tools for creating and accessing media, it also serves to reify distinctions of quality and silo audiences into self-selecting camps. “Quality” signifies value and worth, and many of the papers presented at the two-day conference took on the question of what media has cultural, intellectual, or political value and why. Questions of “quality” in aesthetics and format - through subjects such as the poor quality of an amateur YouTube video and the high resolution of an LED screen - were also of central concern in the research presented.

With graduate students representing numerous disciplines and institutions across the country, the panels covered diverse topics such as architecture, surveillance, the body, and aesthetics. Laila Shereen Sakr, an artist and Assistant Professor of Media Theory & Practice at UC Santa Barbara, presented a keynote talk on “the Glitch” as a mode of resistance. Archivist Rick Prelinger presented a second compelling keynote on the digitization of culture and memory. Berkeley’s own Professor Abigail de Kosnik concluded the conference with final remarks on high and low resolution in contemporary digital culture. A full list of papers and presenters can be found at High/Low was co-sponsored by the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, the Department of Film and Media, Berkeley Arts + Design, the Berkeley Center for New Media, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the History of Art Department, and Department of Art Practice.

2019 Partnerships: High/Low Conference