This class would comprise a talk and discussion around Shakespeare's Hamlet and its relation to experimental language practices in contemporary poetics and film. It would be taught—this first session, at least; if there's anyone else who's really interested in the material, perhaps another session could follow—by Joe Milutis, a media artist and writer whose most recent book is Ether: The Nothing That Connects Everything. This class would happen in conjunction with an upcoming piece in Triple Canopy (where I'm an editor) on the same subject, and may also, then, be a space for meta-discussions on the various formats and platforms for knowledge exchange and intellectual inquiry. First and foremost, though, it's a chance for people who haven't read Hamlet, or would like to revisit it, to do a close reading of the text and discuss it in the context of contemporary theory and avant-garde art practice.
Joe would start off with a brief talk introducing his concerns, and then open thing up for a more general discussion. His jumping-off point would be a discussion of notions of the "materiality of the signifier" and the limits of that materiality in Hamlet, as well as a discussion of Shakespeare in the context of data-mapping technologies, and how these ideas are embodied in the various films of the play. The discussion may continue along these lines or engage other, related, topics: Hamlet and consciousness (e.g. read thru Bergsonian/Deleuzian notions of action and the virtual), Hamlet and ideology (e.g. Derrida's hauntology of Hamlet), Hamlet and experimental theater (e.g. read thru avant-garde reiterations such as Herbert Blau's Elsinore—or as an actor's manual in itself).
The discussion would be very much open, though, and it would be great if those if you with an interest in Hamlet, poetics, sound and materiality, Kenneth Branagh, etc., would participate in shaping the class beyond this outline. Definitely point out related work that's out there and additional readings that would be interesting. (I'll ask Joe to get things started by making any additional comments he might have.)
Joe doesn't live in New York but will be in town and available to facilitate the class on November 12th, 14th, or 15th—hopefully those dates work for enough people. (We'd aim to have one chosen by the end of October.)
Depending on the level of interest we could also organize a screening of some film versions of the play; that could be done as a separate class before Joe gets to town.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx
Henri Bergson, ch. 1 of Matter and Memory
Herbert Blau, ch. 5 of Take Up The Bodies
William Shakespeare's Hamlet (Branagh, 1996)
Hamlet 2000 (Almereyda, 2000)
Hamlet (Olivier, 1948)
So Is This (Michael Snow, 1982)