“Inhuman Screens” is a conference to be held on the 14th of September, hosted by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. The subject includes various aspects of contemporary screen ecologies, including frontier technology, social media, theories of screen culture, contemporary art, and other engagements with digital technology, posthumanism and the cyborg along with digital culture and new narrative forms.
Further details will be announced at a later date.
Abstracts due August 1st, 2018
“Inhuman Screens” is a conference to be held on the 14th of September, hosted by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. The conference calls for papers concerning all aspects of contemporary screen ecologies, including frontier technology, social media, theories of screen culture, contemporary art, and other engagements with digital technology, posthumanism and the cyborg along with digital culture and new narrative forms.
We welcome local and international submissions, and are happy for international authors to present their paper via skype or a recording.
Send abstracts of up 350 words by August 1st , 2018 to firstname.lastname@example.org
with a biography of 150 words and up to six keywords.
Authors of papers selected for the conference will pay a lower rate of admission ($20 to attend and present). Attending this one day conference will provide you with admission to the Sydney Underground Film Festival and catering.
In this symposium, the term inhuman can be understood in a multiplicity of ways, whether it is the posthuman, the subject’s relation to technology, augmented interpersonal relations, prosthetic enhancements, embodiment and disembodiment. We are particularly interested in papers concerning how screens and technology are becoming more human or pose an alternative to the human, or indeed argue that the distinction has never entirely existed.
By transforming agency, digital screen technology offers utopian promises of a more connected and interactive world. One possible difference between mass media and the more recent interactive screens, is that the latter responds to you, catering to your individual wants and preferences. Byung-Chul Han has recently argued that such interactivity has shifted away from bodily politics to more virtual modes of control, where our minds and psyches are already being regimented by neoliberal technologies, what Han calls “psychopolitics.” A question emerges as to how technology reshapes the subject and what it means to be a subject, where technology itself can be viewed as becoming subjective or collapsing the distinction between subject and object. According to psychoanalysts such as Alenka Zupančič and Slavoj Žižek, there never was an organic unity to the subject or the self, the self never being complete.
Instead of merely threatening the human, technology may be becoming more in-sync with the human, even literally inside of the human, whereby the nonhuman becomes in-human. As Sean Cubitt observed in Timeshift, “Machines are often pitched in a binary opposition with the human (occasionally animal) body. The hinterland between human and machine is an abiding image in modern narratives from Frankenstein to Bladerunner, a fearful space where the truly human is lost to the machine, while the machine takes on the terrifying attributes of the darker side of humanity.” Although science fiction and horror films have often depicted technological advances as a threat, where the inhuman threatens the human, such advances can provide new potential reconfigurations and expansions of agency. Contemporary artists such as Janaina Tschäpe and Patricia Piccinini offer more positive explorations of the not-entirely-human subjects.
The conference is connected to Sydney Underground Film Festival and The Journal of Asia-Pacific Pop Culture, published by Penn State University Press. This conference is about rethinking how agency shapes and is shaped by screen technology. Although we welcome all disciplinary enquiries concerning technology and the human, below are just some suggested issues you may wish to submit abstracts on:
.Futurist predictions–Emerging narratives and technology (both narratives about technology but also new narrative formats opened up by technology)
.Digital ecologies and alternate spectator/user modes
.The subject beyond desire
.The Screen in Psychoanalysis or as framed by alternatives to Psychoanalysis –Screen addictions (for example, how might screens function as drugs or how might drugs and screens interact)
.Techno-theology (for example, Google as God or AI as God)
.The New New Flesh: how screens reshape the body.
.Horror and science fiction movies/television (for example, AI, and bio-engineering)