Jeffrey West Kirkwood, Endless Intervals: Cinema, Psychology, and Semiotechnics around 1900

Jeffrey West Kirkwood’s book, Endless Intervals: Cinema, Psychology, and Semiotechnics around 1900, has just been published with University of Minnesota Press. 

Cinema did not die with the digital: it gave rise to it. According to Jeffrey West Kirkwood, the notion that digital technologies replaced analog obscures how the earliest cinema laid the technological and philosophical groundwork for the digital world. In Endless Intervals, he introduces a theory of semiotechnics that explains how discrete intervals of machines came to represent something like a mind—and why they were feared for their challenge to the uniqueness of human intelligence.

Examining histories of early cinematic machines, Kirkwood locates the foundations for a scientific vision of the psyche as well as the information age. He theorizes an epochal shift in the understanding of mechanical stops, breaks, and pauses that demonstrates how cinema engineered an entirely new model of the psyche—a model that was at once mechanical and semiotic, discrete and continuous, physiological and psychological, analog and digital.

Recovering largely forgotten and untranslated texts, Endless Intervals makes the case that cinema, rather than being a technology assaulting the psyche, is in fact the technology that produced the modern psyche. Kirkwood considers the ways machines can create meaning, offering a theory of how the discontinuous intervals of soulless mechanisms ultimately produced a rich continuous experience of inner life.

Michal Heiman + John Tagg in conversation

Join the artist, Michal Heiman, in conversation with John Tagg (SUNY Distinguished Professor of Art History) about her recent work including the Dress Project and Michal Heiman Tests

Tuesday, October 25, Noon-1 pm EST/ 8-9 pm IST. Registration link:

Michal Heiman (b. 1954, based in Tel Aviv) is an artist, curator, member of the Tel-Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, theorist, and activist whose work inhabits the spaces between art and therapy, photography and diagnosis, theory and praxis. As installations, video, sound, photography, performance, and archival displays, her work has been shown in venues such as the University of Melbourne Museum of Art, Documenta X (Kassel), Le Quartier (Quimper), The Jewish Museum (New York), The Museum of Modern Art (Saitama City), The Van Abbe Museum (Eindhoven), Museum Ludwig (Cologne), the American University Museum (Washington DC), and the American Jewish University (Los Angeles).

John Tagg looks at forms of photographic practice that were not previously part of the History of Photography and writes about photography not as a self-contained medium but as a complex apparatus whose social effects and effects of meaning are multiple and diverse. His interests extend to the ways in which we construct histories of cultural technologies and visual regimes and to the range of theoretical debates that, since the 1970s, have transformed the business of art history. His publications, which have been translated into more than fifteen languages, include The Burden of Representation: Essays on Photographies and Histories (1988), Grounds of Dispute: Art History, Cultural Politics, and the Discursive Field (1992) and The Disciplinary Frame: Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning (2009).

Photograph of Heiman by Anton Sarokin

Photograph of Tagg by Jonathan Cohen, University Photographer

Tom McDonough in conversation with British artist Liam Gillick

On Friday 7 October, Tom McDonough, Professor of Art History, will hold a conversation with artist Liam Gillick about A Variability Quantifier (2022), a weather station he has designed for Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada. Known colloquially as The Fogo Island Red Weather Station, Gillick’s artwork forms part of a larger collaborative project that unites 28 arts organizations around the world through the World Weather Network in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada and Fogo Island Arts. Their dialogue takes place 5:00 – 6:00 PM in the Gathering Hall at the Fogo Island Inn. For more information, see: