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TALK: New Topographies of Wind and Power in Kansas

October 30, 2014 from 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Lisa Cartwright (Professor of Art and Communication, UC San Diego)
Thursday, October 30, 2014 / 2:00 PM
2135 SSMS

This talk draws on a multi-year sensory ethnography by Lisa Cartwright and Steven Rubin, who since 2009 have been documenting the everyday work experience and human-technology interaction in farming and ranching life on the land in Kansas communities. Wind in Kansas, long regarded as a potential threat to life, land, and property, has become a source of power to be “harvested” through an energy infrastructure built on small family farms. At stake is the matter of power: its scale, its visibility and its sensibility in a context of dramatic technological transformation. The double-cropping of wind and grain in Kansas is analyzed as a practice in which boundaries and intersections are negotiated not only between the energy industry and agriculture, but also between wind-rich and wind-poor towns, across farms, and among farmhands and wind technicians, who must learn how to share the field, and who devise new modes of facilitating and negotiating land and power. Photography and the matter of documenting this negotiation of land crops, wind crops, and their respective technologies are of particular concern in this paper, with attention to the historical place of landscape photography as a technology, the matter of wind as a uniquely invisible force, and the photographic legacy of the New Topographics in the political interpretation of contemporary land use.

Lisa Cartwright is Professor of Communication and Science Studies at UCSD where she is also on the faculty of the Program in Critical Gender Studies. She works across film, media and visual studies; gender and sexuality studies; science and technology studies; and disability studies. Her most recent book is Moral Spectatorship: Technologies of Voice and Affect in Postwar Representations of the Child(Duke University Press, 2008). She is coauthor, with Marita Sturken, of Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture (Oxford University Press, Second Edition 2008). She is also the author of Screening the Body: Tracing Medicine’s Visual Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 1995). With Paula Treichler and Constance Penley, she co-edited the volume The Visible Woman: Imaging Technologies, Gender and Science (NYU Press, 1998).

Sponsored by the IHC’s Machines People and Politics RFG, CITS, Film and Media Studies Department


Event Details

  • Organizer/Sponsor: IHC’s Machines People and Politics RFG, CITS, Film and Media Studies Department
  • Starts: October 30, 2014 2:00pm - 4:00pm
  • Location: 2135 SSMS, UCSB
  • Website:
  • Sponsors: IHC’s Machines People and Politics RFG, CITS, Film and Media Studies Department