Any opening issue carries a great pressure to establish its presence in the world. It must make a claim of unique perspectives and contemporary offerings for its viewers. Beacon’s mission—to illuminate an assemblage of ‘thought-provoking works in the field of Media’ by a ‘multitude of dynamic, inquisitive, and innovative projects from curiosity and creativity’—expands this potential by shining light not only on the sometimes-invisible apparatus of media, but also the agency of the maker. In this way, the investigations taking place in Beacon will contribute to a media ecology, an awareness of the process of mediation through emergent concepts and material complexities of our technological culture.
In recent years, media fields have transformed dramatically in response to the growing presence of digital technology. New debates, positions, contexts, shifts in accounts, technological infrastructures, and critical and conceptual formations are now taking form in post-digital speculative realities. It is therefore fitting that Beacon spans media formats, processes, and structures, evidencing the vital conversations taking place in the Bachelor of Media Studies program. The editors, contributing writers, faculty reviewers and mentors, and makers of this first issue use their voices to focus on accounts, actions, and consequences of media while setting an agenda to shape media’s role for the future.
This inaugural issue of Beacon was put together during an academic year that has been disrupted by an unprecedented global health crisis. The control strategies necessary to contain the novel coronavirus came into effect just a few weeks shy of the end of the semester, when we were advised to practice physical distancing and quickly pursue remote learning. Amongst the isolation, media gave possibility and opportunity for social connection and new avenues of knowledge sharing. It wouldn’t be presumptive of me to say that our relationship to media will never be the same again, and we must now—more than ever—negotiate media’s role with critical vigour and explorative potential through poiesis. I look forward to the evolution of ideas, relationships, critical practices, and investigations that Beacon will offer us along the way.
Senior Instructor, Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory
Chair, Media Studies Program, Faculty of Arts