Technics Improvised: Activating Touch in Global Media Art Book Launch

Elizabeth Wijaya interviews Timothy Murray about his new book

Technics Improvised: Activating Touch in Global Media Art


InTechnics Improvised: Activating Touch in Global Media Art, Timothy Murray, a leading authority on new media art, examines that curatorial and aesthetic landscape to explore how art resists and rewires the political and economic structures that govern technology.

How do inventive combinations of artistic and theoretical improvisation counter the extent to which media art remains at risk, not just from the quarantines of a global pandemic but also from the very viral and material conditions of technology? How does global media art speak back to the corporate closures of digital euphoria as clothed in strategies of digital surveillance, ecological deprivation, and planned obsolescence? 

At the intersection of global media art, curatorial practice, tactical media, and philosophy, Murray reads a wide range of creative performances and critical texts that envelop artistic and digital materials in unstable, political relations of touch, body, archive, exhibition, and technology.

From video to net art and interactive performance, he considers both canonical and unheralded examples of activist technics that disturb the hegemony of biopolitical/digital networks by staging the very touch of the unsettling discourse erupting from within.

Critical dialogues emerge between a wide range of artists and theorists, from Hito Steyerl, Ricardo Dominguez, Joan Jonas, Isaac Julien, Ryoji Ikeda, and Shadi Nazarian to Gilles Deleuze, Jean-Luc Nancy, Elizabeth Povinelli, Jean-François Lyotard, Erin Manning, Achille Mbembe, and Samuel Weber.

Brilliantly conceived and eloquently written, Technics Improvised points the way to how artistic and theoretical practice can seize on the improvisational accidents of technics to activate creativity, thought, and politics anew.


Festival attendees can secure a 40% discount on Technics Improvised through May 1, 2022.

Find the book at  University of Minnesota Press. At checkout, use the code MN89080 

Timothy Murray

Timothy Murray

Timothy Murray is director of the Cornell Council for the Arts, professor of comparative literature and English, and curator of the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art at Cornell University. 

A curator of new media art, and theorist of the digital humanities and arts, he sits on the National Steering Committee of HASTAC.  His books include Digital Baroque: New Media Art and Cinematic Folds (Minnesota, 2008); Zonas de Contacto: el arte en CD-Rom (Centro de la Imagen, 1999); Drama Trauma: Specters of Race and Sexuality in Performance, Video, Art (Routledge, 1997); Like a Film: Ideological Fantasy on Screen, Camera, and Canvas (Routledge, 1993); Theatrical Legitimation: Allegories of Genius In XVIIth-Century England and France (Oxford, 1987), ed. with Alan Smith; Repossessions: Psychoanalysis and the Phantasms of Early-Modern Culture (Minnesota, 1998), ed.; Mimesis, Masochism Mime: The Politics of Theatricality in Contemporary French Thought (Michigan, 1997).

His research and teaching crosses the boundaries of new media, film and video, visual studies, twentieth-century Continental philosophy, psychoanalysis, critical theory, performance, and English and French early modern studies.


Elizabeth Wijaya is assistant professor at the University of Toronto, jointly appointed in the Department of Visual Studies (UTM) and Cinema Studies Institute (UTSG). She is also Director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

Her research interests include global Chinese cinemas, contemporary East and Southeast Asian cinemas circulating through international film festivals, eco-cinema, cine-ethics, media theory, critical theory, and continental philosophy. She is particularly interested in the material, historical, and symbolic entanglements between East Asia and Southeast Asia.

Wijaya's  current book project, Luminous Flesh: The Visible and Invisible Worlds of Trans-Chinese Cinema is a study of the political and philosophical stakes of the transmission of the past, corporeally and temporally, in post-1980s Chinese cinema in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. She is co-editor of the special issue on Derrida's 1999–2001 seminar on the death penalty, "Survival of the Death Sentence," Parallax Vol.22, Issue 2, 2016.

Cosponsored by the Interactive Film and Media Journal

Interactive Film and Media Journal  is an open-access, peer-reviewed, biannual (twice a year) publication that originated from the Interactive Film and Media  conferences launched in 2013. It is published by the Interactive Film and Media Research Group Lab. The journal focuses on a wide array of works on digital theory, big data, social media, games, virtual reality, and interactivity in film and media through a multidisciplinary approach.