Critical Studies Lecture: Cranbrook Academy of Art

“Likes and Dislikes: Reading the Paratextual Apparatus of Participatory Media”and Live Streaming Performance
Cranbrook Academy of Art
March 22, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Literary theorists refer to the formal elements that accompany the main text of a written work —illustrations, title-pages, appendices and footnotes — as the paratextual apparatus. Conceived as a “threshold,” “vestibule,” or “zone of “transaction,” paratextual elements are semiotically active components that exert an influence on the reader, working strategically to provide clues or signals that guide them towards a specific interpretation of a text. From likes and dislikes to annotations embedded in audio streams, the paratextual apparatus of Web 2.0 likewise, supports a legion of elements that guide our reception of new media objects. In this lecture, we will critically read the
paratextual apparatus of participatory media through YouTube videos, Soundcloud streams, Hulu ads, and other online content to understand how the interactive and shifting nature of these framing devices influence our understanding of new media objects.

As a conclusion to our year-long investigation into participatory media, this lecture will be followed by Cut Piece With Transgender Body (After Yoko Ono), an interactive streaming performance by Jaimes Mayhew. Mayhew will perform a rendition of Yoko Ono’s famous performance, Cut Piece that invites viewers to send text instructions which will be carried out by a group of transgender docents. This performance will last for approximately 45 minutes.