The Streaming Symposium

IN HER 2021 novel, No One Is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood writes of her lonely times on the internet: “(There were only two questions at three in the morning, and they were Am I dying and Does anybody really love me.)” Incidentally, these two questions map onto the two dominant modes of streaming media coverage: doomy, rapid-fire industry news-items about big corporate fish being consumed by even bigger fish, and personal ruminations on our shortened attention spans and long media binges, particularly during lockdown.



This symposium seeks to use long-form criticism to fill the gaps around what we talk about when we talk about streaming. In the process, we have committed to pursuing a third way of thinking about the streaming landscape — a way that rejects the reactivity of media merger gossip and the passivity of mindless moving-image consumption. In their essays, writers Michelle Chihara, Jorge Cotte, Joshua Glick, Sun-ha Hong, Phillip Maciak, Michael Szalay, and Kristen Warner put media culture in historical and cultural context; detail the multisensorial and politically inflected aesthetics of streaming movies, television, podcasts, and fitness machines; analyze streaming practices as raced, gendered, sexed, and otherwise embodied; and interrogate our ideological ties to the data-driven narratives that share our air and live rent-free in our busy brains. This collection is not a response to Netflix’s breathless, try-hard demand to “see what’s next.” It has, instead, been our shared purpose to slow down — just enough to see what’s now.



— Annie Berke



Edited by Annie Berke, Michelle Chihara, Phillip Maciak, and Anna Shechtman