Pepita Hesselberth is the Director of the Netherlands Institute of Cultural Analysis (NICA) and an DFF laureate. Publications include a series of co-edited volumes on, amongst others, Compact Cinematics (Bloomsbury 2016), Legibility in the Age of Signs and Machines (Brill 2018), and Politics of Withdrawal (Rowman & Litttlefield, 2021); a monograph on Cinematic Chonotopes (Bloomsbury 2014); and a series of peer-reviewed articles resulting from her project on Disconnectivity in the Digital Age (2017-2022). She is the editor-in-chief of a books series on Media | Art | Politicsat Leiden University Press.
Pepita Hesselberth is the Director of the Netherlands Institute of Cultural Analysis (NICA, for more info see here). She is a DFF laureate and Assistant Professor in Film and Digital Media. Publications include a series of co-edited volumes on, amongst others, Politics of Withdrawal (Rowman & Litttlefield, 2021), Legibility in the Age of Signs and Machines (Brill 2018) and Compact Cinematics (Bloomsbury 2016); a monograph on Cinematic Chonotopes (Bloomsbury 2014); and a series of peer-reviewed articles resulting from her project on Disconnectivity in the Digital Age (2017-2022). She is the editor-in-chief of a books series on Media | Art | Politics at Leiden University Press. For more information, see here.
Disconnectivity in the Digital Age
I am currently finalizing my project on Disconnectivity in the Digital Age, for which I received a fellowship from the Danish Council for Independent Research, and was appointed as a research fellow at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen (2016-2018). The aim of this research project is to develop a conceptual framework for understanding the cultural and socio-political implications of the current tendency towards voluntary disconnectivity, where disconnectivity is understood as psychic, socio-economic, and/or political withdrawal from mediated forms of connectivity.
- Critical (media) theory
- Contemporary cinematics
- Digital media cultures
- Theories of exit and disconnection
- Politics of withdrawal
- Mindful media
I welcome applications from PhD students aspiring to write a PhD in the wider areas of film, contemporary cinematics, archival theory, machinic cultures, digitization, disconnecivity, politics of withdrawal, mindful media, and contemporary media trends.
Grants and awards
- Hesselberth was a Mercator Fellow at the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main in 2019.
- Hesselberth is a three-time nominee of the Facultaire Onderwijspreis at Leiden University (2015, 2016, 2019).
- Hesselberth was awarded DFF-Individual grant of the Danish Council for Independent Research Humanities | Culture & Communication, for her project on “DIsconnectivity in the Digital Age.” 2016-2018 (grant no. 5050-00043B).
Politics of Withdrawal (Rowman & Littlefield 2020, co-edited with Joost de Bloois)
Politics of Withdrawal considers the significance of practices and theories of withdrawal for radical thinking today. With contributions of major theorists in the fields of contemporary political philosophy, cultural studies and media studies, the chapters investigate the multiple contexts, possibilities and impasses of political withdrawal – from the radical to the seemingly mundane – and reflect a range of case studies varying from the political thinking of Debord, the Invisible Committee, Moten and Harney, feminist notions of ‘strike’ and ‘exit’, and indigenous forms of sabotage, to the individual retreat as means of reconfiguring political subjectivity. It looks at technological failure as disconnection from surveillance, and from alternative financial futures to contemporary ‘pharmako-politics.’
Legibility in the Age of Signs and Machines (Brill 2018, co-edited with Janna Houwen, Esther Peeren and Ruby de Vos.)
Legibility in the Age of Signs and Machines offers a compelling reflection on what the notion of legibility entails in a machinic world in which any form of cultural expression – from literary texts, films, artworks and museum exhibits to archives, laws, computer programs and algorithms – necessarily partakes in ever-more complex processes of (mass) mediation. Divided over four clusters focusing on desire, justice, machine and heritage, the chapters in the volume explore what makes something legible or illegible to whom or, indeed, what; the kinds of reading, processing or navigating such il/legibility facilitates or forecloses; and the role critical (media) theory, literary studies and the Humanities in general can play in tackling these and related issues. Co-edited with Janna Houwen, Esther Peeren and Ruby de Vos.
Compact Cinematics: The Moving Image in the Age of Bit-Sized Media Culture (Bloomsbury Academic 2017, co-edited with Maria Poulaki)
Compact Cinematics challenges the dominant understanding of cinema as feature length/ big screen, to focus on the various compact, short, miniature, pocket-sized forms of cinematics that have existed from even before its standardization in theatrical form, and in recent years have multiplied and proliferated, taking up increasingly important part of our everyday multimedia environment. With contributions of Jay Bolter & Maria Engberg, Francesco Casetti, Sean Cubitt, Ulrik Ekman, Anna McCarthy, Todd McGowan, Tom Gunning, Gillian Rose, Pasi Väliaho, Kim Louise Walden, and many others, the essays in this volume ask what the changed technical, socio-economic and political situation entails for the aesthetics and experience of contemporary cinematics, calling attention to new phenomena as well as to the concepts, theories and tools at our disposal to analyze them.
Cinematic Chronotopes: Here, Now, Me (Bloomsbury Academic 2014, monograph)
The site of cinema is on the move. The extent to which technologically mediated sounds and images continue to be experienced as cinematic today is largely dependent on the intensified sense of being 'here,' 'now' and 'me' that they convey. This intensification is fundamentally rooted in the cinematic's potential to intensify our experience of time, to convey time's thickening, of which the sense of place, and a sense of self-presence are the correlatives. In this study, Pepita Hesselberth traces this thickening of time across four different spatio-temporal configurations of the cinematic: a multi-media exhibition featuring the work of Andy Warhol (1928-1987); the handheld aesthetics of European art-house films; a large-scale media installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer; and the usage of the trope of the flash-forward in mainstream Hollywood cinema. Only by juxtaposing these cases by looking at what they have in common, this study argues, can we grasp the complexity of the changes that the cinematic is currently undergoing.
- Expert FWO Review College Fundamental Research