The Techno-Aesthetics of Sports: Materiality, Experience, Quantification

ASCA Cross-Media Research Group Workshop organized by Markus Stauff. Special guest: Florian Hoof, Institute of Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation, University Lüneburg. 17 November 2017

The discussion on sports’ media aesthetics often focuses on the representation of the human body and its movements. The broad variety of sports, however, does provoke a constant innovation of visual and aural technologies, to achieve a more detailed knowledge about the performance or a more mimetic simulation of the athletes’ experience. The specific spatial, temporal and material environments of different sports (the water in surfing, the grass, the goal posts, the stadium in football) shape the visual forms; yet, prior to that, they shape the media technologies creating the visual forms. Thus, media representations of sports often become displays of technological inventiveness, too. Sports’ visual culture more generally, therefore figures as an inventory of media forms and media technologies. The cultural and political impact of media sports – its contribution to concepts of race and gender, to ideas of competition and fairness –  is entangled with this techno-aesthetics.

The workshop will enable open discussions of this topic based on a number of longer fragments from films, television and art which will be presented during the workshop together with short introductions and heuristic claims. Some of the guiding questions will be:

  • What is the aesthetic productivity of sports’ combination of body movement and physical environment?
  • How do different technological inventions negotiate the tension between sports’ opposing aesthetic affordances – e.g. quantification of performance and heightened sensual experience?
  • Can we identify certain dynamics of aesthetic productivity common to all sports?

Participants can (but are not obliged to) present examples of their own choice (10-15 minutes).  Please enrol for the workshop before 3 November 2017.

Published by  ASCA

4 August 2017