“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, April 19, 2013

Constance Penley 1

So now Constance takes the stage. 

I’m so inspired hearing about all this. I think it’s wonderful. I have twice been turned down for a Mellon Sawyer. I am so honored to be asked to open this second annual symposium. 

The real reaching was from the sciences to the humanities. They finally discovered that they needed us. Analysis, interpretation, ethnography and so on are needed. Not only to solve problems. But to get across to peers, policy makers, students, the meaning and import of their work. 

Once that happens the scientists have to learn not to instrumentalize us. When before I approached them, they really did think that I was offering to make documentaries about their research. It takes some work not to see us as providing a spiffing vehicle to communicate research. But as co researchers in a highly interdisciplinary environment. 

I’m going to tell you about the Carsey Wolf Center, the Environmental Media Initiative. 

I understand how perfect the Cultures of Energy is as a topic given your location here. That’s a brilliant first step. I love projects that are about going into the belly of the beast. 

UCSB is highly interdisciplinary. Material Science, Media Arts and Tech, our institute for energy efficiency. Bring together an astonishing array of researchers. One of our Nobel Laureates won the prize in chemistry though he is a physicist! 

Fragile California coast. 1969 oil spill galvanized environmental consciousness and inspired Earth Day and sparked first environmental studies program. 

Half of Hollywood lives in Santa Barbara! Theodor Kim (computer) won the first Oscar for eg Avatar. Wavelet turbulence simulation method. A sustainable way to do smoke and fire visual effects. 

Nakamura’s Emmy. Work leading to high efficiency blue, green, white LEDs. Used to backlight phones, TV, illumination on movie sets. 
And humanitarian contribution of affordable energy efficient lighting to developing countries. 

Founded 2002. Center for Television and New Media. There used to be 200 production companies. Carsey Warner studios. Created Cosby, Roseanne, Third Rock, That 70s Show. 
You need to have your programming up and running so that when you move into fabulous new facilities everything just pops. 
So back in early 2000s we came up with the two main areas. One met a need and the other built on the strengths. 

Media ownership project. No one was arguing for public ownership of the airwaves. That is now the Media Industries project. The go to place for idea of future media landscape. 

Support of Warner Bros of Media Industries and so on. Perhaps the most socially conscious studio historically. The studio to develop green movie production practices. 

Sony supports the Environmental Media initiative. We have a collaboration that it funds: issues of energy, sustainability and the media. 

No other campus has such strengths in media and communication AND environmental science. 

Remote sensing, virtual reality lab (psych), underwater rovers (ocean science education center). These are all good examples of media in the environment. 

Digital Ocean. An ocean science education project. Ron Rice (Communication) and Constance. Films, rovers, at first. We did get turned down by NSF, Pew. Then MacArthur supported. MacArthur no longer uses the term ‘education’ in its brief. Instead they want to fund where learning really takes place. How to get that learning into school curricula. No mention of ocean science in our national school standards. Even in Cali! That’s 2/3 of the planet! 

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