Lisa Parks: A Media Scholar and a MacArthur Fellow
Lisa Parks is a distinguished professor of film and media studies and the director of the Global Media Technologies and Cultures (GMTaC) Lab at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is also a 2018 MacArthur Fellow, a prestigious award that recognizes her original and creative contributions to the field of media studies.
Parks’ research focuses on three main areas: satellite technologies and global media; critical studies of media infrastructures; and media, militarization and surveillance. She has authored and edited several books on these topics, such as Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual, Rethinking Media Coverage: Vertical Mediation and the War on Terror, and Life in the Age of Drone Warfare. She has also collaborated with artists, computer scientists, sociologists, and geographers on various projects that explore the social, cultural, and political implications of media systems.
Parks is committed to advancing technological literacy, creative expression, and social and environmental justice through her scholarship and teaching. She has held fellowships and visiting appointments at various institutions around the world, such as MIT, McGill University, Bauhaus University, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin. She has also received grants from the National Science Foundation and the US State Department to support her research.
Lisa Parks is a media scholar who combines rigorous analysis, interdisciplinary collaboration, and public engagement to illuminate the complex and dynamic relationships between media technologies and society.
Media Art Projects by Lisa Parks
In addition to her academic publications, Lisa Parks has also created and collaborated on several media art projects that explore the aesthetic, political, and environmental dimensions of media technologies. Some of these projects include:
- Osprey-Cell Tower (2018): A video installation that examines the cohabitation of ospreys and cell towers in coastal New England. The project reveals the complex interactions between natural and artificial environments, and the challenges and opportunities of multispecies communication.
- Nesting/Escaping/Crossing (2017): A video installation that juxtaposes footage of migratory birds and refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The project reflects on the different modes and meanings of mobility and displacement in a globalized world.
- Spectral Configuration (2015): A video installation that visualizes the electromagnetic spectrum as a contested and politicized space. The project uses data from various sources, such as satellite imagery, radio frequency maps, and spectrum auctions, to create an immersive and interactive environment.
- Satellite, Border, Footprint (2010): A video installation that traces the satellite footprints of different regions and countries, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, and the US-Mexico border. The project interrogates the geopolitical implications of satellite coverage and access.
- Roaming (2007-2009): A series of video essays that document the everyday experiences of mobile phone users in different locations, such as Mongolia, Zambia, Turkey, and India. The project explores the cultural and social impacts of mobile communication in diverse contexts.
These media art projects demonstrate Lisa Parks’ innovative and interdisciplinary approach to media studies, as well as her engagement with contemporary issues and audiences.