TheVisionMachine is a scholarly platform for critically engaging the intersection of war, peace, and media. Using a multimedia approach, the site incorporates pod/vodcasts, media analysis, documentary clips, and links to larger bodies of work. The site is operated by a global group of scholars in the fields of International Relations, Media Production, and Communication Studies. The site fosters interactive and in-depth engagement through:
- Spotlights. Featured micro-documentaries and visual artifacts that examine the intersection between media, war and peace.
- Innerviews. In-depth interviews with leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
- Social media presence through Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, and YouTube.
- Ivory Tower 2.0. A specialised discussion forum around how digital new media offers new opportunities and challenges to the practices of academics.
- Free membership to anyone (from academics to artists, from practitioners to the interested global citizen, from peace activists to military personnel).
Thematically, TheVisionMachine is comprised of three components. The first is historical, focusing on the dual development of colonial and media empires from early days of the panorama, photography, print media, radio, TV, to today’s Internet (web 2.0), and social media – thus covering the history of and evolution from old to new digital media. The second is theoretical, using classical and critical theory to examine media as the product and instrument of cultural, economic and political struggles, resistance and revolt. The third is practical, using media production such a micro-documentaries, regular pod/vodcasts, and interactive social media to disseminate research, generate interactive debate, and raise public awareness. As one might guess, The Vision Machine takes direct inspiration from Paul Virilio’s book by the same name, though the site is certainly not limited to his style of thought.
1. A Multimedia Journal. TheVisionMachine seeks contributions from a range of prominent thinkers, from academics to activists, media producers, military professionals, journalists, public intellectuals, and more. These contributions range from audio/video profile interviews to short-form original pieces of criticism, theory, observational essays, and documentary work. The driving impulse of the site is to provide a venue for airing cutting-edge ideas and exposing work to larger audiences. If you think TVM would be a good venue for your work, please contact us here.
2. A Discussion Platform. TheVisionMachine operates as a hub for an ongoing community conversation. The site hosts a social networking function, discussion boards geared around specific topics, and comment clouds for individual exhibits. Subscribers who have registered with the site are encouraged not only to partake of the various articles and micro-documentaries, but also to contribute to an expanding range of expertise and perspectives.
3. A Media Production Clearing House. One of the ultimate goals of TheVisionMachine is to operate as a media center, a place for creative collaboration and media production. The structure of the site provides opportunities to “crowdsource” material for larger projects. These could range from academic endeavors to the production of documentary films on relevant subjects. TheVisionMachine is partner with the University of Queensland Media Lab, a $180,000 media monitoring and recording facility, one of the first of its kind housed in a non-corporate, non-military institution.
TheVisionMachine is driven by an explicit attempt to rethink and revamp archaic academic practices of knowledge creation and dissemination. The site aims to move from the average global readership of academic articles in the social sciences (which currently stands at 4.5 readers per published journal article!) to actively engaging a wider public through digital new media. TheVisionMachine is designed as a truly interactive multiplatform space where those with an interest in the infotech/war/peace complex can participate in debates through discussion threads, audio/video postings, and micro-documentary production. Thereby, TheVisionMachine aspires to be a rosetta stone to the complex contemporary global media environment, a tool for interfacing a world where satellite, Internet, cell phone, and other recent technologies directly affect questions of war and peace, control and resistance.