Cornelia Sollfrank on Tue, 28 Sep 2004 18:55:10 +0200 (CEST)

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[oldboys] Call for Paper 'Convergence'

Title: Call for Paper 'Convergence'
Dear Members of OBN,

We invite you to make proposals for submissions to a special issue of 'Convergence' on 'Hybrid Identities' edited by Yvonne Spielmann and Kerstin Mey.

Please find details in the attached document.

best wishes,

Kerstin Mey
Prof. Kerstin Mey
Interface: Centre for Research in Art, Technologies and Design
School of Art and Design
University of Belfast
York Street
Belfast BT15 1ED

Tel: +44(0)28 902 67258

We are currently planning a special issue of Convergence on 'Hybrid Identities in Digital Media' with a publication date scheduled for Winter 2005.
The issue will be guest-edited by Kerstin Mey and Yvonne Spielmann.

What are 'hybrid identities'?

The emergence of hybrid identities in digital media (such as digital bodies, virtual characters, man-machine hybrids, simulated 'humans', androids, cyborgs) highlights the technological progress of a development that begins with the implementation of machines as tools. While analogue and older media such as photography, film, and video have already conceptually tried to fuse human bodies and machine function and have visually displayed prototypes of future bodies and virtual selves, it is with the advent of the Internet and interactive media that the inferfaces of human being and machine/apparatus become less apparent, almost 'natural' and challenge our understanding of the difference between what is real and what is virtual.

The debate

Hybridity is a widely discussed concept in Cultural Studies and Media Studies, amongst others. It is situated within the debates about cultural identity and media specificity and thought about particularly in view of a globalised flow of information and of cultural exchanges. New forms of mediatisation through digital technologies are a key concern. Digital technologies provide new applications for the endless transformation and fusion of data and identities that emerge hand in hand with increasingly interactive and net-based media. What fosters interactivity and the creation of virtual interrelationships in digital media culture is considered hybrid. The mixing and merging of cultural forms that increase diversity and multiplicity beyond the widely considered 'clash of cultures' is another crucial issue. Hybrid encounters of cultural forms create impure and grey zones that are regarded as 'in-between spaces' where cultures meet or collide, interact and exchange.

The forthcoming special issue of Convergence intents to discuss concepts of identity under the condition of digital media with a particular focus on the resultant examples of hybridity that either include or exclude the 'other', the background culture, the cultural precedents or earlier traditions, the previous (re-mediated) and/or other media. We would like to focus on a discussion of the twofold meaning of the concept of hybridity and the further consequences of either homogeneity or heterogeneity in the hybrid.

The focus of the special issue

While digitally constructed identities have entered the popular media environment through fiction film, television, and computer games, where they have homogenising effects on the viewer/user that do not encourage them to question or critically look at the cultural concept of 'hybridity', we find that in experimental fields of creative practices (arts, youth cultures, and other groups) the challenge lies in the articulation of individual features that are appropriate to specific needs and express - through diversity - reflections on the hybrid, increasingly interactive and virtual production in digital media. The common interest here seems to lie in the expression of virtual selves that abandon the pre-fabricated products of cinema, television, computer games, and so on.

We encourage a discussion of the following: In what way does the construction of hybrid identities in digital media arts and cultural practices have an effect on:
new role models (of behaviour, action)
innovative ways of identification (participation, interaction, communication)
new ways of collaborative experience (through multiple user interfaces, MUD's)
novel ways of self-reflection (of role models, ethic/gender/social patterns)
new ways of self-representation (public/private spaces).

Copy deadline for refereed research articles: 1 April 2005

All proposals, inquiries and submissions for this special issue to:

Yvonne Spielmann, e-mail:
Braunschweig School of Art
Institute of Media Research
Johannes-Selenka-Platz 1
38118 Braunschweig
phone: +49 (0)531 2810728
fax: +49 (0)531 2810713


Kerstin Mey, e-mail:
School of Art and Design
University of Belfast
York Street
Belfast BT15 1ED
Northern Ireland, UK
phone: +44 (0)28 9026 7258
fax: +44 (0)28 9026 7310

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