Ordinary Media is a research workshop that investigates the ways in which digital technologies come to suffuse and saturate everyday experience. Through academic lectures, creative workshops, and an expanded network of experimental platforms, we interface innovative practices in twenty-first century art and letters with ordinary uses of digital media.


The Ordinary Media research workshop is convened by James J. Hodge and Daniel Scott Snelson with the generous support of the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University.

We aim to establish new conversations within the humanities about the ways in which “always on” technologies like smartphones, Google search, and social media engage with emerging forms of art and literature. This transdisciplinary workshop bridges a range of departments and groups at Northwestern, including English, Comparative Literary Studies, Radio/TV/Film, Screen Cultures, Performance Studies, The Block Museum, and Art History and Practice, while connecting these conversations to artists and writers in the midwest and further abroad. In a series of innovative events, the series interfaces the scholarly form of the lecture with creative workshops led by invited artists, scholars, and thinkers.

Unless otherwise noted, research workshop meetings are held at Northwestern University on alternate Wednesdays at 4pm in the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities seminar room in Kresge Hall.


Events are held at 4pm on Wednesdays at the Kaplan Institute (Kresge Hall, 2-350) unless otherwise noted.

Spring 2016

May 19:  Matthew G. Kirschenbaum (UMD), “Word Processing as Ordinary Media”

Fall 2016

September 28: Danny Snelson and Jim Hodge (NU, English/Humanities), “Ordinary Media Introduction”

October 5: Mashinka Firunts (Penn), “Staging Mobile Pedagogy: Video Tutorials, Lecture-Performances, and Hito Steyerl’s Didactic Educational .MOV Files” — Meeting at University Hall 201 – Hagstrum Room.

October 12: Patrick Jagoda (Chicago), “Gamification, Public Humanities, and Ordinary Media Interventions”

October 18 (Tuesday): Jason Salavon (Chicago), Artist Talk

October 26: Jon Cates (SAIC), “Sweet Home Dirty New Broken Glitch”

November 9: Tung-Hui Hu (Michigan), “Anti-Social Media: Lethargic Users and the Art of Being Unfit”

Winter 2017

January 18: Allison McCracken (DePaul), “Representation Matters: Tumblr Youth and Media Engagement”

February 3rd (10am): Kareem Estefan (Brown), “The Dancer and the Drone (Pilot), or, How to Play the Cloud”

February 8: Neil Verma (NU, RTVF), “Obsession is Maybe too Strong a Word:” On Podcasting

February 22: Whitney Pow (NU, Screen Cultures), “A Queer Everyday: Exile, Estrangement, Belonging, and Domestic Space in Video Games”

March 8: Aymar Jean Christian (NU, Comm), “Scaling Reality Television: Inequalities of Value in Networked Documentary”

Spring 2017

April 5: Simone A. Browne (University of Texas), “A Patent, A Whistleblower, A Ship, A Redaction: Archives of Surveillance”

April 12: Scott Richmond (University of Toronto), “Ubiquitous Video as Sexual Orientation: The Camera as Sexual Technics in Ma vraie vie à Rouen

May 10: Tiziana Terranova (University of Naples L’Orientale, NU) and Luciana Parisi (Goldsmiths), “Hypersocial Automation or the Automation of Socialites”

May 12, with NUDHL, Friday at 10am: Lisa Gitelman (NYU),  “Emoji Dick + Emoji Dickinson


Ordinary Media Symposium (CFP HERE)

May 18 at the Block Museum: Performance and Screening, 3:00pm – 8:00pm

Keynote at 4:00pm: Shaka McGlotten (Purchase), “Porn Fast”

May 19 at the Kaplan Institute: Symposium Panels and Reception, 10:00am – 8:00pm

Keynote at 5:00pm: Rita Raley (UCSB), “The Asemic in the Moment of Ordinary Media”


The workshop is co-organized by James J. Hodge & Danny Snelson

James J. Hodge (Ph.D. University of Chicago) is Assistant Professor in the department of English and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. He specializes in digital media aesthetics at the crossroads of cinema, art history, and literary studies. Focusing also on critical theory, he has special interests in phenomenology and psychoanalysis (object relations). Above all, he is devoted to the question of how artistic forms reflect the incoherence of lived experience. His book project, Animate Opacity: Digital Media and the Aesthetics of History argues that animation in new media art plays a newly significant role in the expression of historical temporality in the digital age. His current research concerns the impersonality of contemporary media in the context of new networked genres such as the animated .gif. His essays have been published or are forthcoming in Critical Inquiry, Postmodern Culture, and Film Criticism.
Danny Snelson (Ph.D University of Pennsylvania) is a writer, editor, and archivist. His online editorial work can be found on UbuWeb, PennSound, Eclipse, and Jacket2. He is the publisher of Edit Publications, co-founded alongside the Edit Series at the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia. With Mashinka Firunts and Avi Alpert, he works as one-third of the academic performance group Research Service. Recent books include EXE TXT (Gauss PDF), Epic Lyric Poem (Troll Thread), Radios (Make Now Press), and Inventory Arousal with James Hoff (Bedford Press/Architectual Association). He received his Ph.D in English Literature at Penn in August 2015, with a dissertation entitled “Variable Format: Media Poetics and the Little Database.” In the fall of 2015, he joined Northwestern University as the inaugural Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the Alice Kaplan Institute of the Humanities and the English Department.
jonCates, “Sweet Home Dirty New Broken Glitch”

jonCates, “Sweet Home Dirty New Broken Glitch”

Join us this Wednesday, October 26th, 4pm, at the Kaplan Institute (Kresge 2-350) for an exciting new installation of the Ordinary Media workshop. We're thrilled to be welcoming new media artist and glitch pioneer jonCates for a conversation and workshop featuring,...

Jason Salavon, Artist Talk

Jason Salavon, Artist Talk

Using software processes of his own design, Jason Salavon generates and reconfigures masses of communal material to present new perspectives on the familiar. Though formally varied, his projects frequently manipulate the roles of individual elements arranged in...

Hodge & Snelson, “Ordinary Media: An Introduction”

Hodge & Snelson, “Ordinary Media: An Introduction”

Please join us this Wednesday 9/28 at 4pm for the first meeting of the Ordinary Media Research Workshop! We will be meeting in the seminar room of the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities (Kresge Hall, Room 2-350). This session will introduce the research...