Materiality, Publicness & Digital Media

cropped-headerI look forward to talking at the workshop Materiality, Publicness and Digital Media, at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies. The workshop is part of the Series ‘Trajectories of Publicness and Contestation’ series, (25-26 October 2016). This second workshop in the series focuses on materiality, aiming to explore and theorize how popular protests are articulated through particular technologies and material settings (ranging from face-to-face communication to global social platforms), which ‘mediate’ how these protests take shape.

My session is called (Dis)engagement & Disobedience (Chair: Stefania Milan), with co-speakers Anne Kaun (Södertörn University) who will be talking about ‘Disconnection activism: the slow media movement’, Sebastian Kubitschko & Sigrid Kannengießer, (University of Bremen) who will present on ‘Repairing and hacking as examples of acting on materiality’, and I will be talking about ‘Feminist ‘smart’ publics: Feminism in the era of the Quantified Self’ – work that I have developed in my book and here.

ICA London 2013 and MEDIA@LSE 10 year anniversary

ica2013-aristeaThe photo on the left represents the materiality of ICA London 2013 – a small bag, an umbrella, the book, the identity card and notes, are the things I brought back from the conference on Thursday night last week. Our panel was The materiality of voice, chaired by Nick Couldry, and I talked about online content curation experiments in the Storycircle project – although the printed programme stated otherwise. Sigrid Kannengießer (University of Bremen) talked about Digital storytelling and empowerment of sex workers in South Africa; Richard MacDonald (on behalf of Wilma Clark and the Storycircle project) presented findings from a school-based digital story circle in the North of England, using a digital geomapping platform to save war memorials (Crossing time and space: geohistories and narrative exchange); Cigdem Bozdag (University of Bremen) explored love stories in Sharing Migrant Stories Online: The Case of a Moroccan Discussion Forum in Germany; and finally Hilde Stephansen (Storycircle, Goldsmiths) as respondent, talked about action research as a methdological choiceIt was a good panel and we got some intriguing questions – Sonia Livingstone asked about the ethical and ctritical dimensions of research practices of digital storytelling, in other words, whose stories we choose to talk about. And Knut Lundby asked about the materiality of technologies – which made me think and briefly talk about the mundane everyday reality of  failures and breakdowns, when setting up a digital infrastructure in the project.

Discussions about failures and making mistakes seem to have become popular lately, not only in media studies circles. Mark Deuze (U of Amsterdam) who presented a show/ paper (which I found very disturbing, although most of the audience seemed to have fun, which I found even more disturbing) at the 10th Anniversary event of MEDIA@LSE on Sunday 16th also talked about how ‘making mistakes is OK’ as allegedly people are shifting from homo faber to homo ludens (another idea gaining in popularity in media and cultural studies, or is it actually in marketing?). But there are clearly other more interesting takes on the matter, like Margaret Atwood about sewing yellow coats and falling off horses; and of course the Queer art of failure, by Halberstam. And Richard has just shown me this video by artist Jeremy Deller.

There was a lot of productive stuff that came out of the LSE event, and I’m still writing up my notes, part of which I intend to post here.