Life By Design: Everyday Digital Culture
An interdisciplinary graduate symposium
The Department of Visual Studies
University of California, Irvine
April 10 -12, 2003
Keynote speakers design engineer and technoartist, Natalie Jeremijenko, and award-winning game designer and cultural theorist, Celia Pearce.
Call for Papers
Life By Design: Everyday Digital Culture proposes an interdisciplinary exploration of the everyday impacts of digital culture. Starting with the premise that digital culture is no longer new, but is rather a given, the symposium seeks to open a space for a 'second wave' of analysis, criticism and practice. In emphasizing the word 'culture', the symposium assumes a central role for the interaction between people and technology, rather than placing a spotlight solely on technology itself. While we strongly encourage the cultivation of a critical, and even skeptical, stance towards the technology we engage with on a daily basis, we find it is important to include not just theorists but also practitioners. Therefore the symposium will include, in addition to papers, screenings, demos, an exhibition and a catalogue so that the discussion can take place across a broad range of interdisciplinary platforms.
In light of the societal changes prompted by long lasting technological interventions, what can investigations into design, critical theory and cultural studies tell us about our digitally mediated cultural experiences and realities? Searching for a close reading of the impacts of the digital, technological, mediated and interactive technologies on ordinary daily life, the symposium hopes to foster a generative mix of theorists, practitioners, graduate students, faculty and community involvement. Screenings, demos, artworks and installations will be invited under a related call for proposals, with details forthcoming on the website.
Currently, the committee is accepting proposals for papers on the following five topics:
Is there something about the incursions of digital technology into 'everyday life' which may have been overlooked, but which make for interesting conclusions about culture in general, as well as at this particular digital moment? How does the often barely noticed penetration of the digital into almost every aspect of our world alter everyday life? Privacy, surveillance, mobile devices, wireless communications, tangible and 'invisible computing', education, smart homes, media-convergence, intelligent agents, invasiveness and related topics would all be considered appropriate for 'ubiquity'.
Do the cross-media translations fostered by digital media create a particular opening for issues related to interdisciplinarity and/or intertextuality, or is something else taking place? Are we building a bridge between the 'two cultures', as addressed by C.P. Snow, of the humanities and sciences? Is such a bridge desirable? Papers addressing the 'digitization' of media forms, such as text, video, sound, dance, databases, as well as digitally facilitated interdisciplinarity in general, automatic translation devices, customization, user profiling and cross-platform applications such as porting to different platforms would all be considered appropriate topics for 'translation'.
How do issues understood in other time-based practices become altered within the digital context? How do issues of identity politics function in new digital contexts? How do issues of embodiment, interface and participation apply within the apparent immateriality of the digital? What do theorists and practitioners have to say to one another? Papers addressing duration, events occurring over time, embodiment, dynamic systems, interactivity, interfaces, improvisation, ephemerality, agents, identity politics and behavior, including behavioral AI and similar topics would all be appropriate for 'performance'.
How has the imaginary evolved to include popular culture references to scientific breakthroughs, and what impact has this had on the development of the technology itself? How does science fiction impact the creation of new technologies? Have we become posthuman? What about cyborgs, genetic engineering, nanotechnology and a host of other everyday wonders 'just around the corner'? Papers addressing Artificial Life, futurism, AI, virtual reality, the entertainment industry, games, computer generated imagery (CGI), animatronics and the posthuman would all be relevant for 'imagination'.
What does second generation digital practice and criticism have to tell us about digital culture? What critiques of extant theories about digital media should be raised? Could we already be beyond 'second wave' considerations, into even deeper digital history? How should this history be told, and by whom? Papers addressing cyberfeminism, identity politics, the histories of science and engineering, science and technology studies, visual studies and the history of computer representation would all be appropriate for 'history'.
A wide variety of submissions are encouraged from graduate students in the humanities, arts, architecture and design, including those in game, interface and transportation design, media, communication and engineering. Papers from established scholars, theorists, artists, designers, engineers and writers of fiction and science fiction are also encouraged. Established practitioners and graduate students are invited to present works in the screenings, demos and exhibition sessions under a related call for media; see the website for deadlines, submission formats and further info.
Co-sponsored by the UCI Department of Visual Studies, the UC Digital Cultures Project, the UCI Film & Video Center, and the UCI Beall Center for Art and Technology.