Wednesday, September 21, 2016

UCSD Fall 2016 | CAT 125 | I/EYEgasm Mutations of the Broadcasted Self in the Chaotic Digital Age of Sex & Race | Dr. William A. Nericcio

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CAT 125
I/EYEgasm
Mutations of the Broadcasted Self 
in the Chaotic Digital Age of Sex & Race

Dr. William Anthony Nericcio
email: nericcio@cornell.edu
phone: 619.594.1524
Office Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays,
before class at The Loft, 11:30am to 12:40pm


“I couldn't decide whether I was writing the characters, or whether the characters were writing me, or whether we were all one and the same.”

--David Bowie, musing on the last night he
performed as Ziggy Stardust with the Spiders from Mars





our UCSD course catalogue refers to this class as “Public Rhetoric and Practical Communication” and, indeed, we will, in the course of the Fall quarter, explore the spheres of rhetoric, communication, and—brace for it—the joys of “writing a resume.” But we will also be embarked on other, related perhaps more profound missions!

Together, we will explore the following questions: What is “self” and what goes into its manufacture?  In order to answer those questions (and to keep our adventure timely and of value for undergraduates from across the disciplines) we will be grappling with contemporary debates that impact on our construction and “branding” of our self in worlds analog and digital.  Other questions we will work with this semester include: What is a memoir? What is a self-portrait? Why does it feel so good to have our pictures liked by unseen entities, the digitized shadows of others, connected to us by the bizarre electronic network that is the internet? What is the relationship of our Facebook page to our Self?  Are living through a paradigm shift?—a watershed epoch where something as basic as the “I” is totally being rewritten by our obsession with digitized eyes! 

In our class I will speak of hygiene’s cousin, “Eyegiene,” and of something I call “I/EYEgasm”—where the addictive hedonizing pleasure of the visually digitized world evolves into the virtual equivalent of crystal meth.  I/EYEgasm is a made-up word, a neologism, that attempts to speak to our common experiences with mass media today—is it possible that the mesh of our minds with technology, our daily ritural of touching/seeing screens (computer screens, smartphone screens, television screens) comes to infect/dominate our lives? Eyes wide open, so to speak, these screens become electric, naked mirrors, concealing nothing, revealing all.

The various works we encounter this term will teach us to rethink, rewrite, and reimagine what it is we call to consciousness when we picture the contours of the human mind--in the process, we will learn to tell stories of our selves, share representations of ourselves that just might move someone else (and get you a job, career, future!).

During the semester we will hang out with a wide-ranging and eclectic group of characters including Banksy, the epic #streetart maven cum moviemaker with Exit Through the Gift Shop; Frida Kahlo, who basically rewrites the notion of the self-portrait in oil painting and beyond; Nathanael West, American novelist and arch satirist cynic whose Miss Lonelyhearts will singe your existential synapses; and Dan Clowes, infamous graphic narrative guru whose Ghost World redefines notions of being for a 21st century audience—also making cameos? Marshall McLuhan, Siggy Freud, John Berger, and LA Playwright Oliver Mayer.

{Please note that you must have the old school PRINT version of the books for our class as electronic versions are to be avoided.}

Sections/Teaching Assistants
CAT 125A

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Required Books:

1. The Medium is the Massage 9th Edition by Marshall McLuhan  (Author), Quentin Fiore (Author), Shepard Fairey  (Illustrator)
Publisher: Gingko Press; 9th edition (August 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 1584230703
ISBN-13: 978-1584230700

2. Freud for Beginners Paperback –by Richard Appignanesi  (Author), Oscar Zarate
Publisher: Pantheon (July 15, 2003)
ISBN-10: 037571460X
ISBN-13: 978-0375714603

3. Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series Paperback – by John Berger  (Author)
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 1, 1990)
ISBN-10: 0140135154
ISBN-13: 978-0140135152

4. Kahlo–by Andrea Kettenmann (Author)
Publisher: Taschen (September 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 383650085X
ISBN-13: 978-3836500852

5. Ghost World– by Daniel Clowes (Author)
Publisher: Fantagraphics (April 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 1560974273
ISBN-13: 978-1560974277

6. Miss Lonelyhearts Paperback –by Nathanael West (Author), Harold Bloom (Introduction)
Publisher: New Directions; Reprint edition (July 17, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0811220931
ISBN-13: 978-0811220934

The Hurt Business: Oliver Mayer's Early Works [+] PLUS Paperback –
by Oliver Mayer, William Nericcio, Editor
Publisher: Hyperbole Books, San Diego State University Press; 1st edition
ISBN-10: 1879691841
ISBN-13: 978-1879691841


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Eyegasm Books | UCSD | Fall 2016

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The First Baby Steps Toward the New Eyegiene Exhibition

With any luck in the next year I will put the final touches on Eyegiene: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race--as I have done with Mextasy (the bastard child of Tex[t]-Mex), Eyegiene will have a traveling pop-up museum exhibition trailing in its wake.  Today, I found a centerpiece for that installation at the San Diego Vintage Flea Market in North Park.

Here they are off my Instagram account:


#sdvintagefleamarket score! First major artifact for the #eyegiene exhibition!

A photo posted by william anthony nericcio (@william.nericcio) on

and here, a 2nd shot showing other delights I saw but opted not to buy--I am too much of a hoarder (er, curator) as it is!

Great day at #sdvintagefleamarket

A photo posted by william anthony nericcio (@william.nericcio) on

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Checklist for #psychedelicmirrors Required Books | English 220 | Professor William Nericcio


Below appears a guide to the editions that are required for #psychedelicmirrors, fall 2016 @ SDSU with Professor Nericcio.  This appears here as a handy guide! YOU ARE NOT required to purchase these books using these links!!!!!

Note that the LAST TWO BOOKS that appear below are NOT REQUIRED and only appear here for reference.  TO REPEAT: MAUS and LA FRONTERA CRYSTAL, in Spanish, are NOT REQUIRED AT ALL FOR THE CLASS!!!!

NOTE ALSO: DO NOT buy the Magnum POP 60s book here from AMAZON--I negotiated you a much much cheaper special rate at the Aztec Bookstore!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Eyegiene: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race OR Further Visual Culture Adventures in a Optical Vein } repost 3/08

This originally appeared on March 2008 | updated November 2010! {source} | Reposted 4, October 2015.

Eyegiene is the working title of my next book now that I have just finished The Hurt Business: Oliver Mayer's Early Works [+] PLUS for Hyperbole Books, an imprint of San Diego State University Press--I hang my hat there as an editor when I am not slaving away on this blog, directing my beloved MALAS program, or shilling my book on the lecture trail.

In Eyegiene, I hope to weave together various and sundry visual cultural studies essays that have appeared here and there over the years (my Pee-wee Herman spectacle of masturbation essay; the artif[r]acture/graphic narrative piece that appeared in Mosaic, etc.)--plus others that have never seen the light of day ("Almost Like Laredo") and yet others to be pre-authored here on this blog.

The neologism "eyegiene," recently ripped off by a Euro toilet sanitation company (!), is a theoretical attempt to fuse together various interests and tendencies I have observed and written about with regard to late 20th- and early 21st-century culture. As I have tried to show in these pages, practicing proper eyegiene ("Lorenzo! Turn off the TV; Sofia! Get off that Gameboy) refers to a circuit of scenes, a matrix of spectacles wherein the logic and policing of seeing is meditated--imagine a cultural studies volume that fuses together an obsession for Michael Powell's Peeping Tom, a predilection for Man Ray's collaborations with Meret Oppenheim, dreams about Frida Kahlo's illustrated diary, and interrogations of Chris Ware's illustrated visions, and you begin to parse the myriad and electric bodies (both bodies of ink and bodies of light) that Eyegiene voyeuristically surveys.

For an example, let us take the case of a Pancho Villa votive candle I purchased at a H.E.B. grocery store in Laredo, Texas:


It is as if two spectral and spacial universes were conjoined in one artifact: first, and foremost, there is the universe of the votive candle in Mexican Catholic and Mexican spiritual culture--there, the shifting shapes of uncanny heated light moving through colored glass conjure the presence of saints, and God, and gods, and Jesuscristo for millions of believers; not for nothing are altars from Oaxaca to Monterrey, from East L.A. to Chicago, adorned with the colored lights of votive candles' orange tongues.

The other universe, also ubiquitous, also very "Mexican," is the cult of the revolutionary--the PatrĂ³n culture of the American Southwest and Northern Mexico is rife with tales of militant luminaries: cult figures with outsized personalities who through a combination of wit, savvy, strength, and luck, change the face of Mexico forever--Emiliano Zapata is one of these "saints," Pancho Villa, aka Doroteo Arango, another.

The syncretic fusion of Catholic spirituality with Mexican revolutionary iconography--not to mention the other "pagan" spiritual traditions of Mexico's rich cultural spaces--ends up on the shelf of a Laredo H.E.B. Proof positive that the gods have a rich sense of humor.

more soon...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Blaxploitation Chapter in Eyegiene

A key bridge-chapter of Eyegiene delves into the blaxploitation rage in American cinema in the 70s epitomized by Super Fly in 1972 and  Mandingo in 1975--in any event, this is as good a time as any to archive here on the Eyegiene blog this priceless piece of graphic amazingness.