Donatella Della Ratta on Mon, 13 Feb 2017 17:15:20 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Call for Participation: Fear and Loathing of the Online Self (Rome,

   Fear and Loathing of the Online Self--A Savage Journey into the Heart
   of Digital Cultures

   Call for Participation
   Conference, Rome, May 22-23, 2017

   We would like to invite artists and researchers to submit proposals to
   join this event hosted by  John Cabot University and Universit�   degli Studi RomaTre in Rome, and organized in collaboration with the
   Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam.


   The conference aims at exploring the state of the online self by
   raising questions about its status as a focal point of contemporary
   power/networks. Is the online self merely a product of software
   predictability and viral marketing? Is there any space left for
   self-determination? Or should we search elsewhere for new forms
   resistance by changing our political categories and
   perspectives? Which contradictions are at play? How and where can we
   locate the spaces of performativity of the online self?


   Critical political-economic readings of platform capitalism do not
   explain nor grasp new forms of (visual) online subjectivity. There is a
   growing gap between the obsessive quest for measurability, big data and
   algorithmic regimes (such as AI/bots),and critical investigations of
   an emerging variety of compulsive forms taken by the online self. We
   need to fill this gap and bring them back together. If a humanities
   approach of Internet studies nurtured by artistic and activist
   practices aims to survive the �g data�nslaught from the social
   sciences, then it is vital to ask what the citizen-as-user wants. To
   portray the population as (innocent or guilty) victims of the data
   monopolies is, politically speaking, a dead-end street.
   The cynical condition rules: we know we� under surveillance, yet we
   continue to click, like, love and share ourselves online as
   usual. We are told by concerned experts and libertarians that our
   privacy "matters" and we want to believe it; yet it silently confers a
   guilty stigma upon another vital need, to engage socially and
   culturally with others. While some preach the offline escape as a way
   out, most of us are so deeply invested in the everyday social media
   life that it is inconceivable for most of us to  leave Facebook and
   the like. And this not only out of desire but necessity: networking
   and self-sharing has become imperative for succesfully managing the
   double binds of the immaterial labour economy. Instead, we'd rather
   deal with peculiar pathologies, such as addiction, depression and
   solitude generated by hyper-connection and lack of connections.

   Abstracts and proposals are welcome to contribute to the following


   How much free room do we have to design new identities? What aesthetic
   and philosophic paths and patterns does meme distribution hint at? What
   is the role of theory and criticism, if any, in the ever changing yet
   endless production of the latest user affordances, from dating sites,
   Tinder swipes and Snapchat lenses, to Pokemon-Go? Can we still attempt
   to design new modes of subjectivity, or has our role withdrawn to a
   mere Cassandra-like gloom and doom prediction of digital catastrophes,
   while start-ups (read: future monopolies) have all taken over the cool
   business of designing and shaping the online self?


   It is easy to diagnose the selfie as a symptom of a growing narcissism
   of our daily digital obsessions. But how do we get beyond the
   predictable split between the politically correct assessment of
   empowerment (of young girls) against the nihilist reading of
   self-promotion and despair? Does criticism of today�photography of
   the everyday life always have to end up giving medical prescriptions
   and recipes of wellbeing? What could a materialist reading of large
   databases and facial recognition techniques (including protection) that
   goes beyond media archaeology (the historical approach) and the
   ever-changing pop gestures involve and say? Can we still talk about the
   liberation of the self in the age of digital self-generation of the


   Artists play an important role in the anticipation, and critique, of
   new modes of the self. What role does the artistic imagination play
   beyond the creative industries paradigm? How can artistic and creative
   avant garde practices help disrupt the trite quantitative approach and
   the dogma of the algorithm in defining modes and moods of the onlife
   self? What separates a (properly) artistic imagination and the
   aesthetic imagination of the online curators of selfie-constructed
   personas and are contemporary critical paradigms merely reproducing an
   understanding of online practices that are aligned with the
   requirements of corporation?

   Masks and selfies should not be seen as opposites as they both
   represent different modes (and moods) of being of the self. Masks
   create spaces of performance; they are playful and seductive (or scary)
   forms of self-representation that ultimately do not protect us against
   the computational repression of the security apparatus. What are the
   lessons learned from the Anonymous movement? We should come to a new
   social contract between the individuals, groups and the cybernetic
   machine. In the meanwhile, how can we make sure to protect us, and what
   premises are hidden in the numerous crypto-design projects that

   Confirmed speakers: Wendy Chun, Ana Peraica, Jodi Dean, Marco Deseriis,
   Gabriella Coleman, Daniel de Zeeuw, Rebecca Stein, Vito Campanelli,
   Franco Berardi.


   Editorial Team: Donatella Della Ratta (John Cabot University), Geert
   Lovink (Institute of Network Cultures/HvA), Teresa Numerico
   (Universit� degli Studi RomaTre), Peter Sarram (John Cabot


   Please send your proposal (max 500 words in word/pdf format), a short
   bio and any other material that could support your idea visually
   (artwork, film links, etc) to  selfieconference@  Deadline: March 1, 2017.

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