Grab, Dump, Capture: Screenshot Genealogies

Upcoming Events Login

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 20174:00PM - 6:00PMFaculty of Information
University of Toronto
140 St. George Street, Room 728
*Registration is NOT required for this event.*
Print this Event Bookmark this Event


CSUS and F. Ross Johnson Distinguished Speaker Series


The screenshot is today a ubiquitous object for the preservation of information, a digital snapshot that documents the visual output of a computer and its operations both extraordinary and mundane.

Screenshots are an important tool for the archiving of digital environments, and remain central to the visual methods of both film studies and art history. The nature of the screenshot as a method for capture has transformed radically over the past forty years. What began as an analog process of photographing a screen or display has become an entirely digital operation, produced by software and stored as files to be transferred, uploaded, shared, and archived. Yet the screenshot itself as photo-object has gone largely unremarked, its complex genealogy collapsed into a single button: PrtScn. This talk will examine the history of the screenshot from its origins in computer graphics labs in the 1960s to contemporary methods for digital archiving and preservation, asking what this history tells us about the materiality of the digital, the history of the computer screen, and the ways in which visual artifacts efface the complexity of complex systems.

Jacob Gaboury is Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Visual Culture at Stony Brook University.

*Registration is NOT required for this event.* For additional information, please contact Prof. Patrick Kielty at:

This talk is generously supported by the Knowledge Media Design Institute, JHI Digital Humanities Network, Comparative Literature, Art History, Sexual Diversity Studies, Cinema Studies, and the Centre for the Study of the United States.


Jacob Gaboury
Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Visual Culture at Stony Brook University

Main Sponsor

Centre for the Study of the United States


Faculty of Information, University of Toronto


Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at or 416-946-8900.

Newsletter Signup Sign up for the Munk School Newsletter

× Strict NO SPAM policy. We value your privacy, and will never share your contact info.