BIO
Arnaud Regnauld is Professor of American Literature and Translation Studies at University of Paris VIII Vincennes Saint-Denis, France
His most recent research focuses on digital humanities and e-literature.
For further information, check out my professional page :
http://www.ea-anglais.univ-paris8.fr/spip.php?article1198
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OPPORTUNITY

Call for proposals: International and transdisciplinary symposium: Forms of (the) Apocalypse, March 15-16-17, 2016, Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis - Le Cube (Issy-les-Moulineaux)


Deadline:
Mon Nov 30, 2015 13:15

Location:
Saint-Denis, France

Organisateurs / Organizers
Sylvie Allouche, Université Catholique de Lyon
Rémy Bethmont, Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis
Marjolaine Boutet, Université de Picardie Jules Verne
Hélène Machinal, Université de Bretagne Occidentale
Monica Michlin, Université de Montpellier III
Arnaud Regnauld, Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis
Stéphane Vanderhaeghe, Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis

Forms of (the) Apocalypse
March 15-16-17, 2016, Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis / Le Cube (Issy-les-Moulineaux)


This symposium is part of a transdisciplinary and pluriannual project. The second opus will take place at Université de Bretagne Occidentale in 2017. The third and last opus will be held at the university of Montpellier 3 in 2018.

Keynote conferences to be announced very shortly.

ARGUMENT

Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic themes pervade both real-world news and fiction in the early 21st century, within a cultural context dominated by fears that have accompanied human history (religious prophecies of apocalypse and revelation, the fear of plagues that could destroy humanity, the rapture that may leave the Earth only to the godforsaken). These fears have taken on a new urgency with 20th-century realities (two World Wars; the nuclear bomb) and turn-of-this-century events (terrors of the Millenium; 9/11). Meanwhile, rapid technological change, the digital turn, the rise of artificial intelligence, and the sequencing of the human genome have raised numerous possibilities, including that humanity shortly become “posthuman,” perhaps not merely enhanced but immortal, doing away with a perishable body while downloading itself into machines. What some herald as a transhumanist utopia, others see as absolute dystopia, the extinction of a “natural,” originary man turned into the blasphemous figure of the cyborg. Numerous works thus explore, in many modes – from the absurd or the satirical, to the dystopian thriller or (heroic) adventure film – what might happen if current “progress” meant either a brutal return to the past (Cloud Atlas, The Road, The Book of Eli, etc), or the disappearance of humankind itself. The relationship between technoscience and metaphysics in the representation of a world without God, that is the erasure of an eschatological meaning ascribable to the end of the wor(l)d, is further complexified by the impossibility of history since after the catastrophe, be it technological — the nuclear bomb (see Günther Anders) — or cosmic — solar death (Jean-François Lyotard, The Inhuman. Reflections on Time. Geoffrey Bennington and Rachel Bowlby tr., Cambridge, GB : 1991, pp. 8-24) — there will be no one left to historicize, or create an archive of the narratives to come.

Focusing on millenarian movements, the history of religions reveals the resurgence of fundamentalist and/or sectarian movements “specializing” in the end of the world. Millenarian movements have emerged throughout British and American history with contextual peaks such as the English civil wars of the 17th century or at the end of the 19th century with the emergence of a powerful millenarian trend among Evangelicals, often linked to the development of Protestant fundamentalism. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, there has also been a return to a Christian eschatological awareness in mainstream denominations which has had an impact on both religious thought and practice. Millenarianism and eschatological awareness have the potential to transform the life of religious communities and renew the religious imagination. In a sense the end-times revealed in Biblical apocalyptic narratives are brought into the present and question what it means to be human. This questioning may unfold as much along radical as along conservative lines (eschatological thought has provided strong arguments in favour of the ordination of women and of gay marriage, for example, in recent ecclesiastical debates). Jean-Paul Engélibert analyzes contemporary tragedy as a lay form of fiction that no longer places man under the eye of God but rather under his own retrospective critical gaze (Jean-Paul Engélibert, Apocalypses sans royaume - Politique des fictions de la fin du monde, XXe-XXIe siècles, Paris : Garnier, 2013, p. 10). The metaphysical interrogations of millenarian movements, however, certainly find an echo not only in various forms of contemporary fiction but also in the complex historicization of what appears to be a suspended present, on the verge of an all too imminent end of times (and history), questioning in turn the very notion of time itself and the possibility of a historical/fictional narrative of the end of the world. As Michael Fœssel argues, “‘the world’ designates a transcendence of a residual type”(Michael Fœssel, Après la fin du monde. Critique de la raison apocalyptique, section 2, chapter 6, Paris : Le Seuil, 2012, édition Kindle np.) that will satisfy neither the devout nor the posthuman artists. A paradox remains to be addressed by both fictional and historical narratives: “the end of the world is the horizon of the world itself” (Après la fin du monde, section 2, chapter 4).

Bearing in mind Fredric Jameson’s quip that it is apparently easier for humanity to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, one can question the politics of apocalyptic discourse (fear-based, used to manipulate populations into accepting a given religious message or a political one such as the permanent state of emergency, see Giorgio Agamben, etc). One can also point out that capitalism does seem to be hastening the end of the world, so that we are living a cultural moment in which the two are indistinguishable (see Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, 2014). While postmodern theory may have been accused of being an “end of history” in itself, Linda Hutcheon has rejected this accusation that postmodernism is, essentially, either a-historical or nihilistic. One may nevertheless question the ambiguities of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic texts. Is the onslaught of apocalyptic fiction a sign of our deepest fantasies, first enacted in fiction then coming to life in “real-world” scripts (see Baudrillard on 9/11, or Marc Redfield’s notion of virtual terror in The Rhetoric of Terror)? Is the very iterability of the apocalyptic narrative a form of toxic/prophylactic – a pharmacological form of affective and/or prophetic preparation to actual shocks to come (see Richard Grusin’s Premediation: Affect and Mediality after 9/11)? Just as video games and simulation flights are used to train soldiers and pilots, are we, as populations, training for the apocalypse rather than changing our societies to avoid it? Is the recurring and cyclical nature of the apocalyptic as a cultural fear and as a fictional theme something that paradoxically makes the fear itself seem hollow, or are the rewritings, on the contrary, ways of burning into the collective political unconscious the fierce urgency of now? (quoting Martin Luther King, here, in an entirely different context).

“Forms of (the) Apocalypse” will explore the persistence of archaic apocalyptic fears — or the birth of new ones—, as well as the specific discourses and motifs of the apocalypse carried by literary, filmic, and other works. Does the theme of the apocalyptic reflexively contaminate language itself (see Cloud Atlas’s garbled language in its post-apocalyptic sections, or hybridized forms of computer code and natural languages in various instances of digital literature and e-poetry)? If postmodernity itself is haunted both by forms of apocalypse that have already occurred (World Wars, the Holocaust, Hiroshima…) and by those that are still to come (Derrida), do representations of the apocalypse mimic the workings of trauma – suppression, ellipsis, blankness, and the return of the repressed or locked-out memory in forms of post-traumatic flashes, violent, ‘jumbled,’ chaotic, non-linear narrative or forms? Vilèm Flusser’s theories may help us think what may turn out to be a new technological paradigm as “the linearity of history is turned against the circularity of technical images. History advances to be turned into images — posthistory.” (Vilèm Flusser, Into the Universe of Technical Images, Nancy Ann Roth tr., Electronic Mediations, vol. 32, Minneapolis, MN, et Londres, GB : University of Minnesota Press, 2011, p. 57). In other words, the end of narrativity. The apocalypse calls up the notion of horizon not only as a teleological end but also as a field of potentialities characterizing the indefinite world that is to end, which involves the delineation of its own form(s). While the genre seems to preclude linear narrative, in-depth characterization and happy ends, a number of post-apocalyptic novels do seem to follow hopeful, if not uplifting scripts – even as others adopt a distanced, absurd, disembodied, black humor take on “after” the catastrophe.


The working languages of the symposium will be French and English. Contributions may be submitted in either language and should not exceed 3000 characters.

Please submit your abstracts as well as a brief bio-bibliographical note via Easychair:
https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=apoc2016

Deadline: Nov. 30, 2015.


Do not forget to upload your document in PDF format (no more than 3000 characters).
For further information, you may write to 2016apoc at gmail dot com



OPPORTUNITY

REMINDER - International and transdisciplinary symposium: “The Digital Subject #4: Codes” at Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, Archives nationales (France) November 16-20, 2015


Deadline:
Sat Jul 11, 2015 08:30

Location:
Saint-Denis (Paris area), France

REMINDER - International and transdisciplinary symposium: “The Digital Subject #4: Codes” at Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, Archives nationales (France) November 16-20, 2015

We welcome contributions from the following fields : philosophy, (e)literature, arts, archivistics, neuroscience, new media, communication sciences, cybernetics, game studies, and the history of science and technology.

New extended deadline for submissions: July 10, 2015.

Keynote speakers: David Berry (U. of Sussex), Grégory Chatonsky (independent artist and researcher), Alexander Galloway (NYU), Nick Montfort (MIT)
The conference will open in the evening of Monday, November 16, with a "Hybrid Talk" by Gregory Chatonsky: "Le code hors sens" - http://www.labex-arts-h2h.fr/en/19th-hybrid-conference-gregory-763.html

This symposium is part of a long-term project, The Digital Subject, endorsed by the Labex Arts-H2H (http://www.labex-arts-h2h.fr/). It is the fourth and final event of a series of international symposia (Hypermnesia held in 2012, Scriptions in 2013 and Temporalities in 2014). We are exploring the ways in which digital tools, be they real or fictional, from Babbage to Internet, have altered our conception of the subject and its representations, affecting both its status and its attributes.

Codes 2015

The coupling of digital code and user interface, on screen or through the internet may very well be the emblematic apparatus of our times, the predominant way in which we convey meaning. Contrary to other modes of producing meaning, the digital apparatus entails tremendous underground work, mostly encoding and tagging content in view of its archiving and display. At the core of all this stands the production of meta-data, both through automatic processes (time, size of file, format) or deliberate choice (keywords, integration in tree-structures). Beyond its technical use, meta data has thus come to organize our access to knowledge and memory, bearing heavily upon our relation to history.

In terms of literacy, the shift to digital code opens up numerous avenues: one may cross over media types or engage in hybrid forms of reading/ browsing through content. But it also generates some opacity: content layering _ between what is displayed, what is tagged and what is archived _ introduces hierarchies and creates roadblocks. Common reading practice only explores the tip of the digital iceberg.

What is more the digital turn affects directly our daily lives: when using social media for instance, people introduce themselves and interact with others through the same apparatus of keywords, queries and screen displays, fostering new social codes. The same applies to economic interaction, through e-commerce and so the management of private data, their collective and individual oversight, has become a key issue in our societies.

As code-based practices, ubiquitous and opaque, gain momentum, they trigger numerous fantasies, some paranoid, other pertaining to scientism and fueled by the similarities between code and DNA or quantum physics. According to theoreticians of quantum physics, the universe is not built on matter but on information. In this model, what structures our relation to the world is therefore not presence versus absence, but rather the issue of pattern versus randomness. This notion, which they inherited from cybernetics, may also apply to our psyche as N. K. Hayles has convincingly shown. Hence some dream of overriding matter: the advocates of dematerialisation want to preserve the self on computer, achieving digital immortality. Those who rely on biotechnologies hope to be freed from the constraints of the body through genetic manipulation and bio-digital prostheses. It is therefore hardly surprising to find numerous works of electronic literature tackling the relation between DNA and digital code, questioning the anti-materialistic theories keen on transcoding mankind into machinic binary language. In such a model, all would be based on a universal language, similar to mathematics, that would transcend natural languages. Writing would equate the inscription of a universal and esoteric cipher, and no longer be an expression of the self. These theories are fueled by the temptation to dispense of the body altogether to think, a fantasy of disembodying that Jean-François Lyotard addresses in The Inhuman. They also seem to disenfranchise themselves from the rich diversity of human language and the complexities of translation, all of which shed a welcome light upon the way in which our mind works and the ways in which we build a common world.

One may thus want to explore, through literature, the arts and philosophy, how our subjectivities and our selves shape up in their confrontation to code, and create a hybrid condition. For instance codework, the attempt to fuse digital code and natural languages, leads to the creation of poetical texts that may ideally cross over the frontier between language and code, read by man and executed by the machine. Augmented reality, in games or in war, is another case in point, reframing our experience of the world.

The dissemination of code through pretty much all aspects of our lives _ in writing, in social interaction, through scientific theories and collective fantasies _ is such a momentous shift that the need to investigate its forms, assess its influence and question its prevalence is pressing indeed.

This international conference welcomes proposals addressing the issue of code from a wide variety of academic fields and art practices.

Contributors will be informed of the scientific committee’s decision over July 2015.

A selection of papers will be considered for publication in the peer-reviewed online journal Miranda: http://miranda.revues.org/?lang=en

Please submit your abstracts via EasyChair (link below) as well as a brief bio-bibliographical note.
https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=digital_subject4_codes

Do not forget to upload your document in PDF format (no more than 3000 characters spaces included).


The working languages of the symposium will be French and English. Contributions may be submitted in either language and should not exceed 3000 characters.

For further information, you may write to codes@univ-paris8.fr

Organizers: 
Pierre Cassou-Noguès (Department of philosophy, LLCP, SPHERE, EA 4008)
, Claire Larsonneur (Department of anglophone studies, Penser la traduction, EA1569), 
Arnaud Regnauld (Department of anglophone studies, EA1569 "Transferts critiques et dynamique des savoirs") with the help of Sara Touiza Ambroggiani (EA 4008).

Watch out for our activities and more info on our website: http://www.labex-arts-h2h.fr/fr/le-sujet-digital-57.html

Check out the Labex Arts-H2H's latest publications: http://www.labex-arts-h2h.fr/fr/-editions-59r-.html


OPPORTUNITY

International and transdisciplinary symposium: “The Digital Subject #4: Codes” at Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, Archives nationales (France) November 16-20, 2015


Deadline:
Fri Jul 10, 2015 23:59

Location:
Saint-Denis, France

International and transdisciplinary symposium: “The Digital Subject #4: Codes” at Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, Archives nationales (France)
November 16-20, 2015
New extended deadline for submissions: July 10, 2015.

Keynote speakers: David Berry (U. of Sussex), Grégory Chatonsky (independent artist and researcher), Alexander Galloway (NYU), Nick Montfort (MIT)
The conference will open in the evening of Monday, November 16, with a "Hybrid Talk" by Gregory Chatonsky.

This symposium is part of a long-term project, The Digital Subject, endorsed by the Labex Arts-H2H (http://www.labex-arts-h2h.fr/). It is the fourth and final event of a series of international symposia (Hypermnesia held in 2012, Scriptions in 2013 and Temporalities in 2014). We are exploring the ways in which digital tools, be they real or fictional, from Babbage to Internet, have altered our conception of the subject and its representations, affecting both its status and its attributes.

Codes 2015

The coupling of digital code and user interface, on screen or through the internet may very well be the emblematic apparatus of our times, the predominant way in which we convey meaning. Contrary to other modes of producing meaning, the digital apparatus entails tremendous underground work, mostly encoding and tagging content in view of its archiving and display. At the core of all this stands the production of meta-data, both through automatic processes (time, size of file, format) or deliberate choice (keywords, integration in tree-structures). Beyond its technical use, meta data has thus come to organize our access to knowledge and memory, bearing heavily upon our relation to history.

In terms of literacy, the shift to digital code opens up numerous avenues: one may cross over media types or engage in hybrid forms of reading/ browsing through content. But it also generates some opacity: content layering _ between what is displayed, what is tagged and what is archived _ introduces hierarchies and creates roadblocks. Common reading practice only explores the tip of the digital iceberg.

What is more the digital turn affects directly our daily lives: when using social media for instance, people introduce themselves and interact with others through the same apparatus of keywords, queries and screen displays, fostering new social codes. The same applies to economic interaction, through e-commerce and so the management of private data, their collective and individual oversight, has become a key issue in our societies.

As code-based practices, ubiquitous and opaque, gain momentum, they trigger numerous fantasies, some paranoid, other pertaining to scientism and fueled by the similarities between code and DNA or quantum physics. According to theoreticians of quantum physics, the universe is not built on matter but on information. In this model, what structures our relation to the world is therefore not presence versus absence, but rather the issue of pattern versus randomness. This notion, which they inherited from cybernetics, may also apply to our psyche as N. K. Hayles has convincingly shown. Hence some dream of overriding matter: the advocates of dematerialisation want to preserve the self on computer, achieving digital immortality. Those who rely on biotechnologies hope to be freed from the constraints of the body through genetic manipulation and bio-digital prostheses. It is therefore hardly surprising to find numerous works of electronic literature tackling the relation between DNA and digital code, questioning the anti-materialistic theories keen on transcoding mankind into machinic binary language. In such a model, all would be based on a universal language, similar to mathematics, that would transcend natural languages. Writing would equate the inscription of a universal and esoteric cipher, and no longer be an expression of the self. These theories are fueled by the temptation to dispense of the body altogether to think, a fantasy of disembodying that Jean-François Lyotard addresses in The Inhuman. They also seem to disenfranchise themselves from the rich diversity of human language and the complexities of translation, all of which shed a welcome light upon the way in which our mind works and the ways in which we build a common world.

One may thus want to explore, through literature, the arts and philosophy, how our subjectivities and our selves shape up in their confrontation to code, and create a hybrid condition. For instance codework, the attempt to fuse digital code and natural languages, leads to the creation of poetical texts that may ideally cross over the frontier between language and code, read by man and executed by the machine. Augmented reality, in games or in war, is another case in point, reframing our experience of the world.

The dissemination of code through pretty much all aspects of our lives _ in writing, in social interaction, through scientific theories and collective fantasies _ is such a momentous shift that the need to investigate its forms, assess its influence and question its prevalence is pressing indeed.

This international conference welcomes proposals addressing the issue of code from a wide variety of academic fields and art practices.

We welcome contributions from the following fields : philosophy, literature, arts, archivistics, neuroscience, and the history of science and technology.

Contributors will be informed of the scientific committee’s decision over July 2015.

A selection of papers will be considered for publication in the peer-reviewed online journal Miranda: http://miranda.revues.org/?lang=en

Please submit your abstracts via EasyChair (link below) as well as a brief bio-bibliographical note.
https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=digital_subject4_codes

Do not forget to upload your document in PDF format (no more than 3000 characters spaces included).


The working languages of the symposium will be French and English. Contributions may be submitted in either language and should not exceed 3000 characters.

For further information, you may write to codes@univ-paris8.fr

Organizers: 
Pierre Cassou-Noguès (Department of philosophy, LLCP, SPHERE, EA 4008)
, Claire Larsonneur (Department of anglophone studies, Penser la traduction, EA1569), 
Arnaud Regnauld (Department of anglophone studies, EA1569 "Transferts critiques et dynamique des savoirs") with the help of Sara Touiza Ambroggiani (EA 4008).

Watch out for our activities and more info on our website: http://www.labex-arts-h2h.fr/fr/le-sujet-digital-57.html

Check out the Labex Arts-H2H's latest publications: http://www.labex-arts-h2h.fr/fr/-editions-59r-.html



EVENT

International symposium: “The Digital Subject#3: Temporalities” - University of Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis / Archives nationales, November 12-14, 2014


Dates:
Wed Nov 12, 2014 09:30 - Fri Nov 14, 2014

Location:
Saint-Denis, France

Call for papers (new extended deadline): International symposium: “The Digital Subject#3: Temporalities” - University of Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis / Archives nationales, November 12-14, 2014




Organizers:

Pierre Cassou-Noguès (Department of philosophy, LLCP, SPHERE, EA 4008)

Claire Larsonneur (Department of anglophone studies, Le Texte Étranger, EA1569)
Arnaud Regnauld (Department of anglophone studies, CRLC – Research Center on Literature and Cognition, EA1569)

This symposium is part of a long-term project, “The Digital Subject,” endorsed by the LABEX Arts-H2H (http://www.labex-arts-h2h.fr/). It follows two symposiums (Hypermnesia held in 2012 and Scriptions in 2013). We are exploring the ways in which digital tools, be they real or fictional, from Babbage to Internet, have altered our conception of the subject and its representations, affecting both its status and its attributes. We welcome contributions from the following fields : philosophy, literature, arts, archivistics, neuroscience, and the history of science and technology.


The working languages will be French and English. Contributions may be submitted in either language and should not exceed 3000 characters. Please enclose a brief bio-bibliographical note.


Please submit your abstracts via EasyChair as well as a brief bio-biographical note : www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=thedigitalsubject3

Do not forget to upload your documents in PDF format

For further information, you may write to temporalites@univ-paris8.fr.

Deadline for submissions: July 15, 2014.

Contributors will be informed of the scientific committee’s decision by Sept. 15, 2014.

Keynote speakers:

Timothy Barker, School of Culture and Creative Art, University of Glasgow
Gregory Chatonsky, independent artist and researcher
Milad Doueihi, Université de Laval, Québec (to be confirmed)
Elie During, Université Paris Ouest-Nanterre, France
Eric Mechoulan, Université de Montréal, Québec

Call for papers: "The Digital Subject#3: Temporalities

Speed playing against retention, instantaneous access to information playing against the hypermnesiac (or hypomnesiac) inflation of data storage. Time is lost, time is gained. Time may be lost through forgetfulness or in time-consuming technological processes; time may appear to have been won through the greater efficiency these technologies advocate. Time spans the so-called interior musings, always being modified by technology, but also the specific timings of our evolving technological environment and the time frame of our geological environment where we leave traces, marks and waste that may outlive us.

What kind of time, or rather regimes of time, time(s) do digital technologies foster? How do these new experiences of time relate to each other? How do they relate to the whole gamut of subjective time(s) outlined by fiction, philosophy, social sciences ? How do they relate to the specific time(s) of the living, geologic environment?

These questions suggest a number of issues, some of which are delineated further down the text.

A multi-timed subject.
Online games, e-literature or “learning machines” often create a loop of interaction between man and machine: the machine regulates the flux it produces according to the subject’s reactions, as if what appears on screen could represent the subject’s thoughts. New forms of technological environments, cloud or crowd computing for instance, implement and rely on a complex temporal milieu, which is based on “multiple simultaneities”. We may even speak of “multineity” when the time required by the subject to inscribe and decipher meaning coincides with, overlays or jars with the specific timings of other connected users, as is the case in collaborative online writing. It is now possible to have the intimate experience of a shared temporality, to be distributed both in immediate time and asynchronously. From which we may ponder the intrinsic polyphonous nature of our new digital selves.

Political control.
The constant, continuous broadcast of flux could be viewed as imprisoning the user in a memory-less present, in a form of pure immediacy that bars global overview of date and only allows sampling. Such limitations imposed on the subject reversely mirror the illimitation of hypermnesiac machines (Internet, databases), whose unknown technical possibilities raise the issue of the political monitoring of information, especially of private data, the digital traces left by the subject. For instance, what can we make of Facebook movies, footage automatically generated from a member’s posts on his “timeline” ? Is this an adequate retention or should we consider it superfluous, even abusive?

Environments.
Could the emergence of multiple subjective time(s) help us describe those ecotechnical milieus in which the subject stands? Do they put into question the eternal present of natural cycles? What is the specific time-experience for ecotechnics (Nancy)? Digital technology is usually viewed in connection with speed, as opposed to nature which would be slower. Does that assumption stand?

Drawing from these examples, together with all manners of literary, philosophical, artistic digital experiences, we will study the evolution of digital time setups under their technical, social, political aspects. What mediations of time(s) do they enact ? What rewritings of the subject, polyphonous, multi-temporal, do they suggest?


Keywords :
speed, retention, recursitivity, accumulation, multiple simultaneities, shared temporalities, ecotechnics, environment, illimitation, mediations, control.



OPPORTUNITY

CFP -International symposium: “The digital subject: In-scription, Ex-scription, Tele-scription” University of Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis, Archives nationales, November 18-21, 2013


Deadline:
Wed Sep 25, 2013 23:59

Location:
Saint-Denis (Paris area), France

CFP - International symposium: “The digital subject: In-scription, Ex-scription, Tele-scription”
University of Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis & Archives nationales, November 18-21, 2013


Extended deadline for submissions: September 25, 2013.



Opening keynote by Mark Amerika: Nov. 18th, 8-10:30 PM at Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique
Confirmed keynote speakers : philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, Bertrand Gervais (UQAM, Montréal), Wendy Chun (Brown University), Laurent Cohen (Salpêtrière INSERM), James Williams (University of Dundee)


Tags: subject, self, brain, mind, digital technologies, writing, signature, annotation, graphics, imagery.

This symposium is part of a long-term project, “The digital subject,” endorsed by the LABEX Arts-H2H and follows a first symposium on Hypermnesia held in 2012. We are exploring the ways in which digital tools, be they real or fictional, from Babbage to Internet, have altered our conception of the subject and its representations, affecting both its status and its attributes. We welcome contributions from the following fields : philosophy, literature, arts, archivistics, neurosciences, and the history of science and technology.

The working languages will be French and English. Contributions may be submitted in either language and should not exceed 3000 characters. Please enclose a brief bio-bibliographical note.

Please submit your abstracts via EasyChair: https://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=digitalsubject2013
Do not forget to upload your document in PDF format.


For further information (or should you encounter technical difficulties), you may write to scriptions@univ-paris8.fr.
Extended deadline for submissions: September 25, 2013.
Contributors will be informed of the scientific committee’s decision by October 1, 2013.

A selection of the most representative papers will also be published with the support of Labex Arts-H2H.

Organizers:
Pierre Cassou-Noguès (Department of philosophy, LLCP, SPHERE, EA 4008)
Claire Larsonneur (Department of anglophone studies, Le Texte Étranger, EA1569)
Arnaud Regnauld (Department of anglophone studies, CRLC – Research Center on Literature and Cognition, EA1569)

Call for papers



How is writing revisited by digital media? In what ways does the digital turn affect the three dimensions embedded in writing: the production of an artefact, the crafting of meaning and the advent of the subject? We aim at investigating this new field of research from a variety of points of view such as philosophy, arts, neurosciences and archiving and welcome contributions from researchers in all those fields.

With digital technologies writing shifts from paper to a screen or a network of screens. But this is no move into a virtual world: writing is still a gesture, the body is still at writing, still acting under a set of constraints, just different ones. And that shift goes much further than a rewriting of rules. It entails transcribing, usually through digital duplicates or reencoding. It paves the way for what we might call tele-scription, writing at a remove via a technical device, exposing the fallacy of immediacy and introducing another strata of mediation in the process of writing.

“Exscription passes through writing — and certainly not through the ecstasies of flesh or meaning. And so we have to write from a body that we neither have nor are, but where being is exscribed. If I write, this strange hand has already slipped into my writing hand.” (Jean-Luc Nancy, /Corpus/, Richard A. Rand trans., New York, NY: Fordham UP, 2008, p.19). Writing ex-scribes. Works from another edge. Of course writing is about describing things or states of affairs but it also points to another dimension, that of exscription. Can digital tele-scription be viewed as a form of exscription, spacing out the subject as posited by Nancy or Derrida? Or is digital tele-scription to be understood in the light of the changes it introduces in our relationship to time, and from there on, explored as an entirely novel phenomenon? Will it bring about a radical upheaval of the relations between such notions as writing, technology, the body, the subject?

Digital writing is a brand new world we are barely beginning to explore. See for instance all the second-thoughts of writing, the words crossed out, erased and overwritten, all the editing process which we now keep track of: our traces and drafts are no longer set in their ways but potentially continuously evolving. Will such an instability affect how the subject relates to the traces she leaves, the meanings she construes, her own definition of self? Digital media also revisits our distinction between the original and the copy: once digitized, the trace we inscribe may be reproduced ad libitum, much like a manuscript fans out through the production of fac-similes. That trace may also be augmented through tagging, commentaries and linking. Inscription is no longer the one-off act of a single author but a process entailing various forms of reencoding, transposing, adding, categorising, a whole array of human and technological interventions. Or take this emblematic sign of personal identity, the signature, and see how it is now interfaced and multiform. What used to be the most intimate, chosen mark of our self is now devolved to sets of electronic sequences, usually encoded, sometimes automatically generated, at times delegated, occasionally even produced without our prior knowledge. This is no trifling matter: will the subject, through these new technologies of self-inscription, turn into an avatar? What new interplay between the individual and the institutions (libraries, archives, universities) arises through this collective writing process? One may also consider the legal consequences for the atomised self, who finds herself encoded into binary data within the cloud, and whose history is archived and exposed publicly to an extent she may not control.

How is tele-scription played out in fiction, in arts or in our daily activities (such as email)? Where does it come from? How and why was it established? What are its uses? And crucially, what does it change —if indeed it changes anything— in the relation of the subject and her body to writing? Could tele-scription renew our understanding of what constitutes a subject?
In-scription then. Or re-inscription. While writing shifts to the screen, another major contemporary trend, fuelled by the advances of neuroscience and medical imagery, re-ascribes the advent of meaning to the body, more specifically to the brain which is to be made legible. Reading the mind by reading the brain, drawing from what we can now access in terms of neuronal activity, this is largely today's scientific agenda. A number of recent experiments in neuroscience focus on imagination and on how humans craft fiction. Some may try to catch what we do as we dream, or as we let our thoughts roam free; some intend to detect lie; some strive to build a “brain reading machine” which would ideally display on screen all that goes on inside our minds. It all rests upon the assumption that who the person really is, her intentions, the images she likes, her biases, even that part of her she may not be aware of, are inscribed in her brain, set into patterns we do not have direct access to but that a machine may read and decipher. What is happening in the field of neuroscience and how is it echoed in fiction? For fiction — literature, the cinema, philosophical thought experiments, all these traditions that largely pre-date neuroscience — provide us with the tools to explore the workings of the mind through the body of the subject. How can we make sense of this re-inscription, being contemporary to digital tele-scription?

Tags: subject, self, brain, mind, digital technologies, writing, signature, annotation, graphics, imagery.