Uricchio, William

Research Project
Television in Transition

Television is in a state of rapid change, and as radical as its transformations may seem, in fact it is but the latest turn in a history of ongoing reinvention. This project focuses on three periods:

  • the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when television appeared as a fully formed set of expectations and protocols from technologies as disparate as the telephone and the image-telegraph, and when early patents (Nipkow’s disk) promised imminent results;
  • the NS-period in Germany, when the medium enjoyed unparalleled conceptual and developmental pluriformity with the backing of competing governmental ministries and industry sectors;
  • and in our own era, as the medium undergoes yet another significant

The medium’s long-term specificities offer a useful vantage point from which to interrogate television’s conceptual limits, and with them, the definitional contours and dynamics of media in transition. The project considers the notion of the ›televisual‹ from several perspectives. First, it puts the ongoing transformations of the medium into conversation with its largely overlooked past, seeking points of continuity and conceptual coherence. Second, it charts the dynamics of change and ›newness‹ common to today’s ›new‹ media, using television as a historical precedent for understanding the emergence of the ›new‹ and its re-rendering as quotidian. Finally, it explores television’s unique interpretive flexibility, both reflecting on how it has been able to retain its identity despite constant reinvention and exploring its definitional impact on other media forms and the dynamics of intermediality.

Selected Publications

Uricchio, W. 2011. »The Recurrent, the Recombinatory and the Ephemeral« in P. Grainge (ed.): Ephemeral Media: Transitory Screen Culture from Television to YouTube. London: British Film Institute/Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 23-36.

Uricchio, W. 2011. The Algorithmic Turn: Photosynth, Augmented Reality and the State of the Image. Visual Studies 26 (1): 25-35.

Uricchio, W. 2010. »TV as Time Machine: television’s changing heterochronic regimes and the production of history« in J. Gripsrud (ed.): Relocating Television: Television in the Digital Context. London: Routledge, pp. 27-40.

Uricchio, W. 2009. »The Future of a Medium Once Known as Television« in P. Snikkars and P. Vonderau (eds.): The You Tube Reader. London: Wallflower Press, pp. 24-39.

Uricchio, W. 2009. Contextualizing the broadcast era: nation, commerce and constraint. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 625 (1): 60-73.