Barry Vacker
Barry Vacker
Associate Professor of Instruction
Department: Media Studies and Production
Office: 215-204-3623
Tomlinson Theater, Room 224

Biography

Academic Expertise: Media Studies and Culture

My projects explore how utopia, dystopia and human destiny have been represented in art, media, technology and culture. I use an “arts and sciences” approach to creatively and critically theorize the intersection of media, philosophy, culture and technology, all of which shape human destiny around the world.

Teaching Mentor: 2009–2013

Since 2009, I have served as the teaching mentor for faculty in the School of Media and Communication. I will be working with colleagues and the Teaching and Learning Center to improve teaching performance in a variety of classes, from small seminars to large, lecture-style courses.

Education

Degree

Field

School

PhD

Communications

The University of Texas at Austin

Courses Taught

Number

Name

Level

MSP 1011

Introduction to Media Theory

Undergraduate

MSP 1021

Media and Society

Undergraduate

MSP 4153

Media Criticism (Topic: Media, Culture and “the End of the World”)

Undergraduate

MSP 4445

Media Images and Analysis (Topic: Utopia in Media and Culture)

Undergraduate

MSP 5011

Introduction to Communication Concepts

Graduate

MSP 5041

Media Content and Behavior (Topic: Post-Millennial Culture and the Media)

Graduate

Publications
 

2013  New Articles

Barry Vacker, “Space Junk and the Second Event: The Cosmic Meaning of the Zombie Apocalypse,” Thinking Dead: What the Zombie Apocalypse Means, edited by Murali Balaji, New York: Lexington Books, 2013.

Barry Vacker and Genevieve Gillespie, “Yearning to Be the Center of Everything, When We Are the Center of Nothing: Parallels and Reversals in Chaco, Hubble, and Facebook,” Telematics and Informatics, Special Edition on Facebook; Volume 30, Issue 1, February 2013, 35-46. For link to article, click here

Barry Vacker, “Into the Voids and Vanishing Points: Spaceship Earth and Space Age Media Theory,” McLuhan’s Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference, Contact Forum, The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, 2013.

Barry Vacker and Agreen Wang, “Black Holes in the Electronic Galaxies: Metaphor Resistance in the Information Society?” The Unconnected: Social Justice, Participation and Engagement in the Information Society, edited by Paul M.A. Baker, Jarice Hanson, and Jeremy Hunsinger (New York: Peter Lang Press 2013).

2012 MEDIA-CULTURAL CRITICISM BOOK

My book, The End of the World — Again: Why the Apocalypse Meme Replicates in Media, Science, and Culture(2012)was the first official publication of the Center for Media and Destiny. The Centeris a 501(c)(3) non-profit think tank.

• Barry and The End of the World — Again were featured in a 2013 interview produced by Wisconsin Public Radio; the interview aired in 180 markets via Public Radio International. To listen to the interview, click here

2011  TEXTBOOK ANTHOLOGY 

My text anthology, Media Environments(2011), was published by Cognella Publishing. This anthology combines movies with texts to critique media and society. Authors include: Stephen Hawking, Al Gore, Naomi Klein, Carl Sagan, Naomi Wolf, Susan Jacoby, Neil Postman, Henry Jenkins, Douglas Rushkoff, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jan Fernback, Ray Kurzweil, Douglas Kellner, and many others. Their writings are introduced to students through films like Network, Contact, American Beauty, Fight Club, The Truman Show, Slumdog Millionaire, Waking Life, WALL•E, Good Night, and Good Luck, and many others.

2010-2011  ARTS-BASED ESSAYS

Barry Vacker, “The Utopian Moment, Now?” Essay for the photography exhibit, Before and After Utopia: Images of Urban Abandonment, Absence, and Aspiration (Olivia Antsis, curator), Open Lens Gallery, Philadelphia, September 15 – November 20, 2011. Part of the annual Design Philadelphia Festival.

My essay, “The Zero Zero Decade” was featured in an illustrated spread in Useless art magazine (Volume 10, 2010), for a special edition on the decade of “The Naughts.” The magazine used images from the artist Stacey Steers for the essay, which was an adaptation of my experimental book, Zero Conditions(2008).

2010  EXPERIMENTAL DOCUMENTARY WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARD

My film, Space Times Square, was awarded the “2010 John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in the Field of Media Ecology” by the Media Ecology Association. The film has screened in numerous festivals and conferences around the world: Brussels, Beijing, NYC, Hamburg, Dallas, Philadelphia, Paris. Film may be viewed in Vimeo.

Space Times Square was screened at the McLuhan Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference, Frei University, Brussels, October 26-28, 2011.

2010  EXPERIMENTAL BOOK

On January 31, 2010, my book, Slugging Nothing: Fighting the Future in Fight Club, reached #1 in Amazon Kindle’s “Criticism” section.

• In 2013, Barry and Slugging Nothing were featured in an interview for Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Film and Philosophy” series; the interview aired in 180 markets via Public Radio International. To listen to the interview, clickhere

2008 ART PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK

I wrote the text for Peter Granser’s photography book, Signs(2008), published by Hatje Cantz (Stuttgart) and the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Photography. Granser is a German photographer specializing in contemporary American culture. The photos and book have been featured in numerous exhibits around the world.

2008 TEXT FOR BOOK: Lone Stars, Lost Amidst the Big Bang

2008 BOOK CHAPTER: Slugging Nothing

2006 BOOK CHAPTER: Cosmic Vertigo on the Isle of Lost

2006 BOOK CHAPTER: Vanishing Points, Between Pixel and Paradise

Lectures / Conferences

Title

Date

Art, media and cosmology: visualizing our place and destiny in the universe

2012

Being and nothingness in the information age

2005

Black holes amidst the global spectacle

2003

Bullet-time, two big bangs, two bad sequels

2004

Death Valley and Las Vegas: Baudrillard’s theory of the desert and dystopia

2004

Fahrenheit 9/11: The temperature at which theory burns

2004

Metanarratives in a meaningless universe?

2011

No exit/must exit

2004

Notes on New Orleans

2005

Parallel and paradox: the desert and digital culture

2004

Population zero: after utopia

2009

The “zero” tomorrow

2005

The digital revolution or the destiny of television?

2004

The Matrix and Atlantis — Plato’s paradox and postmodern parallels

2003

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel

2005

Times Square and TV screens

2005

Utopia and the Starry Skies

2009

Vanishing points at the center, edge, and end of

2011

Additional Projects

Title

Description

Dates Active

Space Times Square

Experimental documentary film

2007

Theory Zero books

Experimental book series; I wrote the first three volumes of the series, which are available in Amazon as paperbacks and Kindle ebooks: Zero Conditions (Theory Vortex 2008), Crashing Into the Vanishing Points (Theory Vortex 2009), Starry Skies Moving Away (Theory Vortex 2009)

2008–2009

Service

Name

Type of Service

Position

Dates Active

BTMM Curriculum Committee

Departmental

Chair

2010–2012

Periodic Program Review Committee

Departmental

Chair

2008–2009

Faculty Teaching Mentor

College

2009–2012

University Art Committee

University

Member

2011–2013

Awards

Title

Type of Award

Date

The John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in the Field of Media Ecology, Media Ecology Association

Creative

2010