Anthony Stagliano is a film and media maker, and scholar of rhetoric, whose research is in the intersections of material theories of rhetoric, media theory, and theories of technology. Stagliano is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at New Mexico State University.
His films and media art pieces have been shown in festivals and galleries around the world. His feature narrative film, Fade, was released theatrically and on DVD by Cinema Epoch.
Current projects include two features, and an extended sound/video composition. New Commons is an experimental narrative film using only appropriated surveillance, weather, traffic, mapping and other public observation imaging, all of which was culled from the internet. A short version of this work premiered as part of the Light Assembly exhibit at the 2012 Art Basel Miami, the most prestigious contemporary art fair in North America.
Let No Man Regret Destroying Nature combines footage from the 1970s educational film of the same name with public surveillance and mapping images culled from the internet.
GlaciATING.response.CompleteSUITE is a 55-minute video that accompanies a drone music suite composed and recorded by Stagliano and Steven Tester in Frankfurt. The first chapter of G.r.CS is available on this site. Future chapters to come.
In all of these, Stagliano is pursuing an ‘ahuman’ experimental film practice, composing the films with the partnership and help of nonhuman performers (everyday objects) and co-conspirators (automated surveillance, traffic, and weather cameras; algorithmic imaging and mapping; bots). This practice explores two questions: first, what is the nature of the image (moving and still) now that so many of its producers are nonhuman entities, whose aim is observation? And, how are these images available for manipulation by us?
Stagliano’s academic work is done where the distinctions between theory and practice, creative and conceptual become blurred. His theory-practice is enacted through several overlapping forms, including his research-based creative work in film, video, and other media.
As director of NMSU’s Design Center, he heads a site for digitally-created hybrid works that cut across the arts and humanities. Like other humanities Making Labs, Digital Humanities Labs, and Media Labs, the Design Center’s mission is to foster transdisciplinary creative-conceptual projects that make conceptual and inventive interventions into the worlds they engage.
His current research project will include a monograph and related multimedia components. This project is called Tactical Theory. Changes in media technologies and practices have begun rearranging the relationship between cultural production and knowledge production in the arts and humanities and social sciences. Digital Humanities research and related phenomena bend research toward styles of “making” that include production of artifacts that used to be objects of analysis and criticism. From the arts there has been a broad “research turn,” in which conceptual, critical, and social questions are raised in the production of “artistic” works. Meanwhile, there has been a broad call across the humanities and social sciences to think what comes after “critique” and “critical theory.” These are not unrelated; the “making” turn in theoretical and critical disciplines; the “research turn” in art-making; and the appeal for another theoretical methodology to follow critique are all related to significant shifts in the techniques and technologies of production and expression of knowledge. He will argue in Tactical Theory that we can diagnose at the four-way intersection described above—practice and theory intersecting; cultural production and knowledge production intersecting—an emerging “tactical” theory that comes after critique. Tactical theory is tactical in that it is situated in a kind of conceptual enactment that blurs the theory-practice distinction, and intervenes through making and remaking, rather than critically demystifying. The concepts emerging in tactical theory practices are made in part of objects, like the objects of object-oriented programming (and the ontological philosophy that takes its name from that), in that they are locally bounded, oriented out to an audience, and materially-situated and enacted. The concepts of tactical theory are not (always) written in the languages of the academy, but as often in coding languages; hacks; printed with 3-D printers, and so on. Diagnosing tactical theory rearranges the strategies (and tactics) available to theoretical (post)humanities and invites the inventional efforts needed toward building the techniques that come after critique, if we are not to sink unthinkingly into neoliberal forms of life.