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KMDI Speaker Series – Grab, Dump, Capture: Screenshot Genealogies
Thu, February 2, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Guest Speaker: Jacob Gaboury, Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Visual Culture at Stony Brook University.
The screenshot is today a ubiquitous object for the preservation of information, a digital snapshot that documents the visual output of a computer and its operations both extraordinary and mundane.
Screenshots are an important tool for the archiving of digital environments, and remain central to the visual methods of both film studies and art history. The nature of the screenshot as a method for capture has transformed radically over the past forty years. What began as an analog process of photographing a screen or display has become an entirely digital operation, produced by software and stored as files to be transferred, uploaded, shared, and archived. Yet the screenshot itself as photo-object has gone largely unremarked, its complex genealogy collapsed into a single button: PrtScn. This talk will examine the history of the screenshot from its origins in computer graphics labs in the 1960s to contemporary methods for digital archiving and preservation, asking what this history tells us about the materiality of the digital, the history of the computer screen, and the ways in which visual artifacts efface the complexity of complex systems.
This talk is generously supported by the Knowledge Media Design Institute, JHI Digital Humanities Network, Comparative Literature, Art History, Sexual Diversity Studies, Cinema Studies, and the Centre for the Study of the United States.