ENGL 698 materials: Grad Thesis
new media installations and grants
Note to Self

Dub-ya: Mediated Affect and Political Feeling

In 2008, W (Dub-ya) appeared in theaters, an Oliver Stone biopic of the Bush “dynasty.”  The lead up to the film promised “controversy" and huge box office returns.  In the end, the film was met with lukewarm responses from filmgoers and critics alike.  W drifted off entertainment and political radars in syncopation with the blotting of the Bush administration, and under the glean of "hope" in the Obama campaign.  The film was charged with too light a touch on the character of George W. Bush and largely dismissed as an ambitious experiment whose potential affects were blurred by the "spectacle of its own simulation."   

This project re-visits the significance of W as a cultural and political artifact.  Our interest in this quickly forgotten glance at the Bush presidency is in how this film is, in the end, not really a film at all.  This hybrid, media-montage "e-essay" explores W as a performance of a movement away from representation and toward reproduction in political and aesthetic meaning making.  That is, we read (and re-perform) W as an event that speaks to how new media (its image simulacra, its avatars and puppets, its animations, its mash-ups, its re-mixes, and its embodied affects) are forms and structures that re-constitute "political feeling."  To read W as a representation of the reality, rhetoric, and deception surrounding "W" -- biographically, historically, or politically -- is to miss its insights on the transfer of political meaning away conceptual apparatuses and into affective mediations.

Throughout the film, small vignettes of dream-like and imaginary sequences and encounters re-appear as iterative "loops."  Conjoined with these sequences are pauses and suspensions in the narrative momentum of the film that elicit attention to the affective resonances of "watching."....