PeopleFaculty, Professor

Steve Anderson

Joint Professor with the School of Theater, Film and Television

Steve Anderson is a scholar-practitioner working at the intersection of media, history, technology and culture. He teaches classes in the production and theory of digital media in the School of Theater, Film and Television and holds a joint appointment in the department of Design Media Arts.

His book Technologies of Vision: The War Between Data and Images (MIT, 2017) surveys the emergence of competing regimes of computational and photographic image making from the 1830s to the present, focusing on cultural implications related to space, data visualization and surveillance. His previous book, Technologies of History: Visual Media and the Eccentricity of the Past (Dartmouth, 2011), investigated the emergence of experimental history across a range of visual media including film, TV and digital games. With Christie Milliken, he is co-editing the anthology, Reclaiming Popular Documentary.

In 2015, Anderson was awarded a Digital Innovation Fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies to create Technologies of Cinema, an ongoing work of digital scholarship that explores the tortured history of computation seen on film and TV since 1950, incorporating video essays and textual analysis in an open access media archive. He is also the founder/principal investigator of the public media archive and fair use advocacy network Critical Commons. With Tara McPherson, he co-edits the interdisciplinary electronic journal Vectors and serves as co-principal investigator of the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture, developers of the open source electronic publishing platform Scalar.

His scholarly work has appeared in the journals Visible Language, InTransition, American Literature, GAME: The Italian Journal of Game Studies, The Journal of Media Literacy Education, Frames Cinema Journal, Profession, Pre/Text, The Moving Image, Release Print, The Independent, Filmmaker, Res Magazine, Intelligent Agent, Film Quarterly and Digital Humanities Quarterly, and is anthologized in the books Transmedia Frictions: The Digital, the Arts, and the Humanities; F Is for Phony: Fake Documentary and Truth’s Undoing; Television Histories: Shaping Collective Memory in the Media Age; Digital Youth, Innovation and the Unexpected; Debating New Approaches to History, and New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory Reader.

Before coming to UCLA, Anderson taught for 15 years in the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he was the founding director of the practice-based Ph.D. program in Media Arts + Practice and a faculty member in the divisions of Interactive Media & Games, Media Arts + Practice and Critical Studies.

A former documentary film editor, Anderson has worked for National Geographic Television, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the National Park Service, NHK and ABC TV. He also served for more than a decade as a board member of Los Angeles Filmforum and continues to co-curate with Holly Willis a screening series devoted to experimental digital media titled Blur + Sharpen.

His work has received support from the American Council of Learned Societies, the NEH Office of Digital Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Adobe Systems, Oculus VR, Related Content Database, and Google Daydream.

As director of the Transient Media Lab, Anderson catalyzes experiments with a deliberately unstable array of media and technology positioned at the intersection of documentary, interactive and immersive media. His project Live-VR Corridor received the award for Best Mixed Reality at the New Media Film Festival in 2018.

Anderson received a Ph.D. in Film, Literature and Culture from USC and an M.F.A. in Film and Video from CalArts.