Gary Hall mail at garyhall.info
Fri May 17 10:22:37 CEST 2024


A series of events presented by the Postdigital Intimacies research
cluster in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University

JUNE 3-6, 2024

Register now!


Join us for a week-long series of online events (3rd-6th June) exploring
what is uncanny, strange, and ‘other’ in relation to today’s digital,
and postdigital, intimacies. The talks in this event take as their
starting point the current context of our seemingly ‘post’-Covid-19
reintegration and disintegration, and the apparent return to ‘normal’
after a prolonged period of deep digitalisation, not to mention the ways
in which the digital has come to mediate and, at times, regulate, our
most intimate lives, with regard to work, health, relationships,
domestic space, and more. We explore, in this context, the expansion of
technological surveillance capitalism, disinformation and misinformation
shaping how we feel and engage in the world, how make sense of our
bodies, and (dis)connect with others, and the ways in which these
encounters are simultaneously strange and familiar. Indeed, current
questions over notions of truth, agency, and authenticity are, in
today’s postdigital cultures, just as likely to lead to violence,
polarisation, and the annihilation of marginalised people.

Following both Lauren Berlant and Shaka McGlotten then, we use
“intimacies” in a (post)digital context to denote “contacts and
encounters, from the ephemeral to the enduring, made possible by digital
and networked means” and as a “vast assemblage of ideologies,
institutional sites, and diverse sets of material and semiotic practices
that exerts normative pressures on large and small bodies, lives, and
worlds” (McGlotten, 2013; 7).

The speakers in this series reflect on the uncanny and familiar in such
postdigital intimacies. Collectively, we ask how these contexts generate
and, at times, unravel intimacies, as relationalities, connectivities,
and networks, that emerge in and through humans, events, technologies,
animals, objects, and emotions. In doing so, we start from the
assumption that intimacy itself must be thought about differently to
take account of the messiness and ambiguities of these connections.

Digital intimacies and the Queer Geographies of Encounter

Dr Regan Koch, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Director of the City
Centre, Queen Mary University of London, UK

3rd June, 4-5.30pm BST

Intimacy often refers to deeply personal desires and attachments. It is
generally understood to be a private matter that is nonetheless governed
by social conventions and heterosexual norms. However, as Lauren Berlant
(1998, 282) highlighted, the ‘inwardness’ of intimacy comes with a
corresponding publicness – an aspiration for something shared, even if
largely unspoken: “Intimacy builds worlds; it creates spaces and usurps
places meant for other kinds of relation.” Queer theory emerged, in
part, as an orientation towards this kind of world-building. It
identifies and affirms relationships and spaces that break with
convention, foregrounding LGBTQ+ experiences in an aspiration to create
wider publics where desires and sexualities are emancipated from
oppressive norms and structures. Berlant’s work did this in part by
extending the very notion of intimacy, understanding it not simply as
romance or sex, but as a wider epistemology for thinking about social
connection. Over the past decade, the ways intimacy is pursued and
practised have been radically reshaped by digital technologies. New
kinds of devices, software and platforms have brought novel forms of
encounter for sex, dating, friendship, entertainment and sharing
resources (Koch & Miles, 2021). LBGTQ+ communities are often at the
forefront of such changes, driven by the necessity of being marginalised
or excluded from the typical spaces of intimacy, and in pursuit of the
pleasures and affordances it can bring. In this talk, I will reflect
critically reflect upon these new technologically mediated worlds to
examine new, queer geographies of encounter which deserve exploration
given their far-reaching implications for LGBTQ+ lives and wider society.

“Under Cover of Niceness: Deepening White Supremacy through Wellness,
Crypto & Hyper Segregation”

Dr Jessie Daniels, Professor of Sociology, Hunter College, USA

4th June, 4-5.30pm BST

The conventional way of understanding white supremacy is one that relies
on a lens of Othering extremists as incomprehensible miscreants to
ordinary, “nice” people. Contrary to this, I explore the way the very
idea of “niceness” serves as a kind of cover, a Trojan Horse if you
will, for the political and social goals of white supremacy often in
very gendered ways. In wellness culture, often dominated by white women,
there are repeated efforts to eliminate social inequality from view by
focusing on “light and love” inside often all-white spaces like yoga
studios and retreat centers. In the world of cryptocurrencies, often
dominated by white men, there are repeated claims that moving away from
central banking (controlled by “globalists” an antisemitic dog whistle)
will solve the world’s problems from a supposedly colorblind vantage
point that relies only on math, configured here as “nice” rather than
overtly political. The endpoint of both wellness and crypto is hyper
segregation in geographic space, whether through gated communities or
apartheid states.

“Who am I without the things that are familiar to me?"

Zea Asis, artist and author of “Strange Intimacies”

5th June, 11am-12.30pm BST

In this talk, Asis reflects on her own process writing the zine Strange
Intimacies during the pandemic, which she collaborated on with two other
artists.  As Asis’ first book of essays, Strange Intimacies is about a
young woman's coming-of-age in the Philippines as bound to the necessity
of movement, physical, emotional and intellectual, which becomes the
impetus for the constant discovery of selves, past and present.
Subtitled “Essays on dressing up and consumption,” Asis writes “this is
what it means to be ontologically insecure: To live life as if already
dead, or in the cusp of it. It is a time we’re forced to evaluate, ‘Who
am I without the things that are familiar to me?’ and grapple with the
unsteadiness that comes from the drudging perpetual reconciliation of
things that once were and how they ought to be now.” Through acts of
consumption and romantic interludes, across thrift spaces, office
spaces, and streets, Asis captures a womanhood that refuses romanticism,
and instead revels in the interweaving of grit and grace necessary for
contemporary survival.

Asis will speak also to her own experience we as a zine maker in the
Philippines, thinking through the 'strange' as it applies to how writers
and publishers have created their own paths, outside of mainstream
avenues of publishing, to reach their audience and create a circular
community of readers, artists, and writers.

Vanishing Act - An Ethnography of Digitalization and the Disappearance
of Printed News

Dr Anne Kaun, Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Department
of Media and Communication Studies, Södertörn University, Sweden

6th June, 10-11.30am BST

This presentation  engages with digitalization through the lens of
disappearance, challenging the prevailing narrative of digital emergence
and transformation. Guided by Jean Baudrillard's idea that concepts
emerge when things begin to vanish, the study focuses on the
disappearance of printed newspapers as a case study. There are two main
aims: first, to ethnographically document the decade-long shift in news
delivery from the perspectives of readers and producers; second, to
theoretically understand the role of disappearance in the digitalization
process, exploring how experiences of loss shape the emerging media
landscape. The research questions delve into the experiences of
newspaper distributors, producers, and readers in the face of
disappearing print media, as well as the influence of this disappearance
on new distribution formats and media practices. The presentation
contributes to journalism studies by addressing the overlooked aspect of
newspapers’ materiality and distribution shifts. Additionally, it adds
to the literature on the role of technology for social and cultural
change by exploring loss and disappearance alongside emergence.
Methodologically, the presentation builds on material gathered through
ethnographic methods to study industry shifts and audience experiences.
The aim is to nuance the understanding of the interplay between
disappearance and emergence in the digitalization process.

Register now!


Gary Hall
Professor of Media
Director of the Centre for Postdigital Cultures, Coventry University:

Follow on Mastodon here: @garyhall at hcommons.social


Blog: 30-Second Book Review No.3: Matteo Pasquinelli, The Eye of the Master: A Social History of Artificial Intelligence (2023):http://garyhall.squarespace.com/journal/2024/4/17/30-second-book-review-no3-matteo-pasquinelli-the-eye-of-the.html

30-Second Book Review No.4: Why Have Book Reviews Become So Hypercritical?:http://garyhall.squarespace.com/journal/2024/4/25/30-second-book-review-no4-why-have-book-reviews-become-so-hy.html

Interview: (open access) ‘How To Be A Pirate: An Interview with Alexandra Elbakyan and Gary Hall by Holger Briel’:https://www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/pb-assets/OA%20chapters/Briel_9781802076622_ch5_OA-1687267442.pdf

Book series (open access): Combinatorial Books: Gathering Flowers series, edited by Janneke Adema, Simon Bowie, Gary Hall and Rebekka Kiesewetter:http://www.openhumanitiespress.org/books/series/liquid-books/

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