Conference of the research project: "TV Series as Reflection and Projection of Change", part of DFG-SPP 1505 »Mediatisierte Welten«.
25./26.11.2011, Bauhaus Universität Weimar
There is scarcely any TV series that can be observed from so many different angles as LOST. The series initiated a wide-ranging academic debate, centered on its narrative and temporal structure and also addressing the fact of a massive expansion into other media while consequently transgressing established genre categories! In addition to that, there is a very active fan community which reacts not only to the quasi-religious, quasi-philosophical underpinnings of the series but also deals with LOST on diverse digital media platforms in lively discussions on all thematic aspects.
Precisely because of the series’ thematic scope and aesthetical richness, the conference will focus on a specific perspective: LOST will be analysed as an agency of reflexion and of projection of media change. LOST plays a fascinating, contradictory and ambivalent role with respect to mediatization and the transformation of media culture. While diverse effects of media change are obviously linked to the series – e.g. transmedia story-telling, new forms of televisual reception, TV III-age – and the series realises the effects of networking, non-linear storytelling and genre-crossing within the narration and aesthetics, it does not itself directly and diegetically refer to the mediatization which is symbolized and caused by it.
This line of inquiry is embedded in a general assumption about the relations between television and media change, in which the medium fulfils a triple role since 1950 and especially in present times. Firstly: It observes the change and makes it visible in a structured way. It makes these observations available for a society’s economy of meaning, and feeds into its cycles of selfdefinition and self-description. Secondly: In so far as television attributes a central technological, institutional or epistemological role to media in the process of transformation, it turns into an agent of change in its own right and observes its own function in the process. Thirdly: Television is affected by media change and has to expose its forms and formats to the observed change; as a consequence, it has to perform change itself. The television series (and serial) is particularly representative for this dynamics due to its fictional potentials and its specific temporality.
LOST will figure as a test case for these assumptions. Its transgressions of media boundaries are of special interest because this expansion into other media poses the essential question about the status of the original medium television within recent multiple media configurations. What will also be of central interest is LOST’s complex temporality, which poses new challenges for the theoretical reconstruction of televisual time and historicity.
Contact: Dipl.-Kulturwiss. (Medien) Daniela Wentz, firstname.lastname@example.org