If cells animate life, how do imaging technologies breathe new life into cells? And, if visual imaging media change, does cell life become reanimated in new ways too? In her Fisher Center Series lecture, titled “Cinema of the Cell: Film, Biology and the Animation of Life,” Hannah Landecker — University of California, Los Angeles Associate Professor of Sociology and of Society and Genetics – will address the intersection of cinema and life science, beginning with early uses of cinematography in experimental biology in the first decades of the 20th century. Landecker will deliver her lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 26 in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
Adding her uniquely rounded scientific perspective, Landecker will draw on feminist science studies about biology, embodiment, materiality, and the technologization of life to ask: What role did (or does) time-lapse imaging play in modern life science, particularly against a background of techniques of fixation and formalization that tend to kill or abstract living things in order to understand them? How then do these imaging techniques serve as a conduit between scientific and popular notions of life?
Author of numerous articles and chapters, she received the Suzanne J. Levinson Prize as the best book in life sciences and natural history for her recent work, “Culturing Life: How Cells Become Technologies.” She has also received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and a Rice University Graduate Student Teaching and Mentoring Award.
Some of her recent articles include Living Differently in Time: Plasticity, Temporality and Cellular Biotechnologies in “Technologized Images, Technologized Bodies: Anthropological Approaches to a New Politics of Vision;” Microcinematography and the History of Science and Film in “Isis;” Cellular Features: Microcinematography and Early Film Theory in “Critical Inquiry;” and A Theory of Animation: Cells, L-Systems, and Film (with Christopher Kelty) in “Grey Room.”
Landecker earned her Ph.D. in science and technology studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She specializes in the subfield of history of 20th century life science. “My work focuses on the social and historical study of biotechnology and life science, from 1900 to now,” she explained. “I am interested in the intersections of biology and technology, with a particular focus on cells, and the in vitro conditions of life in research settings.”
Following this discussion, the second spring Fisher Center Series of the semester will take place on Thursday, Feb. 19. More details will be announced.
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