LARB publishes excerpt

Posted by peterlunenfeld on August 10th, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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To mark the August 11th publication of City at the Edge of Forever, the LA Review of Books is publishing an excerpt of Chapter 11, “Days of the Dead: Frozen Bodies, Real Martyrs, and the Quest for Immortality in the City of Angels

Publishers Weekly Review

Posted by peterlunenfeld on June 22nd, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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Publisher Weekly offered up a starred review!

UCLA digital media scholar Lunenfeld (coauthor, Digital_Humanities) draws surprising links between the artistic, economic, and political milieus of Los Angeles in this immersive cultural history. Casting his adopted hometown as an “alchemical city,” Lunenfeld explores how L.A.’s identity has been shaped by its embodiment of the five classical elements: available land (earth) was gobbled up by Yankee settlers and real estate speculators in the 19th century; nearby oil fields (fire) fueled the cars that made suburban development possible in the early 20th century; the aerospace industry (air) took off from WWII through the 1980s; the city’s ports (water) have been a key driver of globalization since the 1990s; and the allure of Hollywood (aether) has captured the world’s imagination for more than a century. Highlighting L.A.’s melting pot nature, Lunenfeld writes that southern California’s surfing craze and its modernist architecture both owe their existence to émigrés from the Austro-Hungarian empire, connects the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to sci-fi fandom and cosplay, and traces the roots of the city’s “resolutely contemporary” Asian food scene to 1950s and ’60s tiki bars. Richly detailed and evocatively written, this highly original account unearths L.A. stories “more complex [and] contradictory… than anything that ever made it to the screen.” Readers will be spellbound.

In Support of Black Lives

Posted by peterlunenfeld on June 22nd, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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My department at UCLA drafted a document in support of Black Lives. It opens: “In this moment, we want to state clearly that the Department of Design Media Arts stands against the continued acts of police brutality in Los Angeles and across the nation. We are sickened by the ongoing injustice against Black people, and acknowledge our own complicity in systemic racism. We have quietly ignored it for too long. Going forward, we commit to the anti-racist work needed to dismantle these systems, and commit to the ongoing learning and practice this work requires.” Continue reading.

2020 DMA Grad Show

Posted by Peter Lunenfeld on June 22nd, 2020 filed in Uncategorized
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The 2020 Design Media Arts Grad Show is on-line. “NEARREST NEIGHBOR reflects and enacts a navigation of proximity, with the title referring at once to permutations of closeness, as well as its various applications as an algorithm (the nearest neighbor search).”

California Design Dominion in LARBQ

Posted by Peter Lunenfeld on December 30th, 2019 filed in Uncategorized
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The Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly (#24) has my new essay “The California Design Dominion: Thirteen Propositions.” It’s also available on-line.

Cinekid Festival in Amsterdam

Posted by peterlunenfeld on October 12th, 2019 filed in Uncategorized
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Foto: Max Kneefel

I’m so excited to be giving one of the two keynotes at the Cinekid for Professionals conference, on October 24th. It’s a part of the world’s largest festival of children’s media.

Context Collapse @ New Wight 10.17

Posted by peterlunenfeld on October 12th, 2019 filed in Uncategorized
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The DMA Fall Grad Show opens at 5:00 PM on Thursday, October 17th, 2019 at UCLA’s New Wight Art Galley. Context Collapse features work by include Zeynep Abes, Graham Akins, Berfin Ataman, Erin Cooney, Ben Lerchin, Clara Levias, Blaine O’Neill, Miles Peyton, Hirad Sab, Dalena Tran, and Leming Z/C.

Photo LA Panel

Posted by Peter Lunenfeld on January 19th, 2019 filed in Uncategorized
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I’m moderating a panel titled Etching a Tabula Rasa featuring photographers Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin, Michelle Groskopf and Rodrigo Valenzuela at Photo LA on Saturday, February 2, 2019.

Under C

Posted by Peter Lunenfeld on January 19th, 2019 filed in Uncategorized
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“If I’m a guy who doesn’t seem so merry,
It’s just because I’m so misunderstood.
When I was young I ate a dictionary,
And that did not do me a bit of good.
For I’ve absorbed so many words and phrases—
They drive me dizzy when I want to speak.
I start explaining but each person gazes
As if I spoke in Latin or in Greek.”
― Ira Gershwin

Fannui greets Detective Pikachu

Posted by Peter Lunenfeld on November 13th, 2018 filed in Uncategorized
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I was being interviewed by the Huffington Post’s Bill Bradley about the creeped-out disappointment online fans expressed about a live action Pokemon movie. Asked if these feeling fit into the idea of the uncanny valley, I responded no, because Pikachu was never “real.” The emotions expressed online don’t fit Mori’s concept of the eeriness of simulations that approach the real without quite getting there. Instead, I decided to coin “fannui” which combines “fandom” with “ennui.” The way I see it, a subset of Pokemon fandom is unhappy that this 3D-motion-captured-CG-furred-celebrity-actor-voiced version of their long-term fantasy investment doesn’t scratch their nostalgic itch or offer new generic pleasures. Fannui identifies the disappointment consumers have expressed about recent Star Wars films, and other underperforming mega-tainment franchises.