Joanna Slotkin


After a few years of indecision, Joanna sacrificed herself entirely to the media. The sacrifice began in her angst-ridden early teens, when she saw her first Ingmar Bergman film, Autumn Sonata, and decided that a life of cinephilia was well nigh. After coercing her fellow high school students into watching foreign films, she recognized the University of Chicago as the perfect environment in which to pursue her interests.

The program in Cinema and Media Studies, as well as a smattering of cross-listed Art History courses, led her to explore various facets of the media, particularly the cinematic. Her favorite films—including David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo—grapple with mirroring or the doubled self. Modernist painting’s repetitious artistic constructions and Postmodernism’s endless reflections and eclecticism feed well into this interest. She daily pays homage to Clement Greenberg and Rosalind Krauss, whom she feels develop the significant critical language for practically everything she enjoys.

Parallel to this interest in the cinema, she developed an interest in “motionless” visual art, particularly painting. Surrealists like Magritte and Max Ernst led her to explore the structure and meaning of their works in relationship to the unconscious, and how they influenced the trajectory of twentieth century art history. Her passion for Dada, as well as philosophies of nihilism and existentialism increased her interest in the artistic ramifications of warfare, particularly the art produced by the spiritual disillusionment following World War I.

In addition to Media Studies, she majors in English Language and Literature, focusing particularly on avant-garde literary constructions. She enjoys science fiction and fantasy, as well as postmodern authors like David Foster Wallace, Thomas Pynchon, and Don DeLillo. She is fully convinced that her beloved Alice books by Lewis Carroll are significant forerunners of postmodern structures.

She interned at the Chicago International Film Festival and at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York, working with the Head Programmers in both positions.

She enjoys the drawings of Marcel Dzama and Glen Baxter, the sweet tunes of the Carter Family, and the yodeling songs of Jimmie Rodgers.


Chicago School Media Theory: Reading List

Media Theory Keywords Glossary: avant-garde

Theories of Media Annotation: Rosalind Krauss’ A Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition

Performing Media: “Wind Chimes and the Aeolian Harp: Vibrations of the Real?”

Theories of Media Prospectus: “Joseph Cornell’s Boxes and the Totemic: Establishing a Universal Tribe”