Morten Soby on Wed, 22 Jan 1997 15:17:01 +0100

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6CYBERCONF - themes

[we were faster ...; NEW: with extra themes! -a]

Call for Papers:
Sixth International Conference on Cyberspace
June 5th to 8th, 1996. University of Oslo


We already live part-time in cyberspace, and that time is increasing as
fast as the quality of the experience is radically changing.  The Sixth
International Conference on Cyberspace addresses the social, political and
cultural implications of cyberspace from a critical standpoint as well as
practical standpoint. In the nets, there is a growing society that ranges
from researchers to Silicon Valley sophisticates to neocyberpunks.
6CYBERCONF offers the opportunity for exchange within and between these
confluent and diverse interests and encourages discussion between
theoreticians and practitioners. Hosted for the second time in Europe, this
sixth edition of CYBERCONF considers: cyborgs looking for a home, the
future body, interface/interaction breakthroughs, and the importance of
collaboration in virtual environments.


The official opening of 6CYBERCONF is scheduled for Thursday afternoon,
June 5th. The conference will take place over three and a half days. There
will be 6 keynote speakers, 15 plenary sessions, electronic art
installations, special events, a pre- conference workshop on immersive
environment design, and a banquet dinner on Saturday June 7th.  All
sessions are designed to foster discussion. Presentations will be in
English. The themes are:

The cyberspace metaphor is a means of effecting instantaneous fusion of two
separate realms of experience (man/machine, good/bad, self/world) into one
illuminating, iconic, encapsulating image. Is the metaphor still a way to
proceed from the known to the unknown in cyberspace? Is the metaphor a
critical synthesis of complex communications technologies, bio-sociality or
techno-sociality? Is cyberspace a new metanarrative of progress, or a story
of paradise lost?  Which language for the virtual age?

A cyborg is a double articulation in which we find both the end of the
subject and a new dispersed and refracted subjectivity constructed in
cyberspace. The fabric of cyberspace dresses us in the cloth of
possibilities -the virtual subject as a switchboard of souls?  Can we
really construct and reconstruct any identities and personalities?  Will
not the "real" subject implode in its multiplicity?  Or is it a question of
mastering ones avatar puppets on a global playground?  Do we need
psychiatrists for avatars?  Logged off, where does the will of the
cyberpersonality go?

McLuhan argued that electronic media reintegrated the senses. How are
bodies represented through information technology? How can cyberspace give
priority to the lower senses?  How is desire constructed through virtual
worlds?  Are there darker domains of e-motional interference beyond the
emoticons? Is there a "violence of connectivity"? What about cybersex?  Are
we masturbating our way into the year 2000?  Will sexuality become a post-
biological phenomenon? Is the future body a recombinant structure of flesh
or schizoid realities?

i) INTER-FACE is the sensitive boundary zone of negotiation between human
and machine, allowing seamless crossings between the worlds:  Facilitating
the disappearance of the difference between them - emerging new set of
human/machine relations - interweaving calculation, simulation and
post-modern culture. How can we design for tacit knowledge and bricolage?
How can we account for differing incentive structures between designers and
users?  Which concealed design codes promote or dissemble functionality?
How to extend the interface into social/material space, transforming it
into an environmental power? Away from the daily prayer at the desktop,
when technology becomes transparent and disappears, where will it take us?
ii) The rapid development of Internet and WWW have limited the definition
of INTER-ACTION as the click of the mouse.  How can interaction become a
mutual and simultaneous activity on the part of the participants
(man-machine-man interaction) in art and education?  If the computer adds
an interference to communication, how can it be used creatively?  What is
interaction beyond the Web?

Many of us are today involved in group interaction through
telecommunication networks.  In the future the 2D interface of the web will
shift to 3D interactive interfaces. How will this affect the way we
perceive our collaborators and our usage of information?  Will it be a
preferred medium to social interaction - opening up new possibilities
within a group, organisation or community?

What about the politics of networks? Which impact will commerce have on the
the internet community?  How will the powerstructures of the internet
affect the behaviour of netizens?  What about the diversity of cyberspace
cultures?  What is "freedom of speech" in a global context?