"THE TECHNOLOGY MAKES THEM STRONGER": 70 YEARS OF HAUNTED TELEVISION
Recording of an online talk presented by Bronte Schiltz, followed by a Q&A with the audience.
In his seminal 2000 monograph, Haunted Media, Jeffrey Sconce delves into the ‘cultural mythology about the “living” quality of [communications] technologies’ from telegraphy to television. The liveness of these technologies, at least at their inception, is, he explains, ‘the foundation for a whole new series of vivid fantasies’, including the surprisingly widespread belief that ‘electronic media technologies are animate and perhaps even sentient’
While Sconce primarily investigates American perceptions of the television as ‘a haunted apparatus’ this lecture explores how this ‘media folklore’ has materialised in Britain. From Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape (1972) to several episodes of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s Inside No. 9 (2014-present), British horror broadcasting – particularly on the BBC – repeatedly draws on a latent cultural belief in something eerie at the heart of the medium.
Through textual analysis and explorations of audience responses, this lecture explores how this rather modern folklore emerged and developed over the last 70 years.