[SIGCIS-Members] Digital Matters: free online conference Dec 1-3 @ Siegen University

thomas.haigh at gmail.com thomas.haigh at gmail.com
Wed Nov 24 13:02:07 PST 2021



For anyone out there somewhere looking forward to spending more time in
front of their computers staring at Zoom, I am pleased to bring word of the
Digital Matters conference taking place at Siegen University next week. I
organized it with Valérie Schafer (University of Luxembourg), Axel Volmar
(Siegen University) & Sebastian Giessmann (Siegen University).


Details at https://www.socialstudiesof.info/digitalmatters/. Free
registration by email is required to get the Zoom links. When we had to make
the call earlier this month to go from primarily in person to primarily
online a lot of things got changed around, and one of those was that we went
to a three day format with start times each day of 13:00 or later. So that
means that North Americans can attend without having to get up absurdly
early. The timeslots are budgeted for 50 minutes per talk, with the idea
that this will allow some genuine interactivity and discussion. (Subtract 6
hours for Eastern time, 7 for Central, 9 for Pacific).


We can offer you a wonderful and eclectic lineup of speakers. The blurb is
as follows “In popular discussion digitality is increasingly equated with
networked immateriality: disembodied algorithms float rhetorically in an
ethereal cloud of big data. Think, for example, of the “digital edition” of
the PlayStation 5 console, so called because it has no optical drive to read
games, which must instead be downloaded. The implication is that the regular
PS5 console is somehow not digital because its storage medium is visible to
the unaided human eye. This presupposition of digital immateriality is not
just a misconception to be corrected, but a productive site for
interdisciplinary scholarly inquiry into media and data practices. In
Digital Matters, historians, media theorists and information scholars come
together for three days to examine the socio-material constituents of
digital systems and artifacts. How and why did people come to deny the
materiality of the digital? What can we learn by recovering it? What if we
rethink digital materialities as ongoing cooperative accomplishments?”


The current lineup is as follows, but _please rely on the online program in
case of any last minute changes_. Most speakers will be online, but as of
the last tally three of the four organizers and three speakers plan to brave
Germany’s biggest ever Covid wave to be there in person. If any of you
happen to be close by and would like to risk being in the same room as other
humans then let me know and I’ll pass on the physical details. 


December 1:

13:45: Conference introduction and welcome


Moderator:  Valérie Schafer (C2DH, University of Luxembourg)
14:00-14:50: “Travelling machines,” Camille Paloque-Bergès (CNAM, Paris).
15:00-15:50: “Dimensions of Materiality,” Kyle Stine (Johns Hopkins

15:50-16:30: Break for virtual coffee.


Moderator: Miglè Bareikytè (Siegen University)
16:30-17:20: “Dance Notation: Grammars for Understanding and Controlling the
Body,” Quinn DuPont (University College, Dublin).
17:30-18:20: “Modularity, Materiality, and the Political Order of the
Stacks,” Jean-François Blanchette (University of California at Los Angeles).


December 2: 

Moderator: Susanne Förster (Siegen University)
13:30-14:20. “Looking for Oil (and Finding It) in the History of Computing,”
Cyrus Mody (Maastricht University).
14:30-15:20. “Digital and Nature in the Anthropocene,” Felix Stalder (Zurich
University of the Arts).


15:20-16:00: Break for virtual coffee.


Moderator: Sebastian Giessmann (Siegen University)
16:00-16:50: “The Great eBook Conspiracy: eReaders, Publishers, and Price
Competition in the Early 2000s,” Gerardo Con Diaz (University of California
at Davis).
17:00-17:50: “Rematerializing Money: Payment as Palimpsest,” Lana Swartz
(University of Virginia) 17:50-18:30.


Break for virtual coffee or, for the adventurous, virtual cocktails.


18:30: Keynote lecture, “Some Species of Materiality.” Jonathan Sterne
(McGill University). Moderated by Axel Volmar (Siegen University).


December 3:

Moderator: Thomas Haigh (University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee & Siegen
13:00-13:50. “The Politics of Technical Systems,” Bernhard Rieder
(University of Amsterdam).
14:00-14:50. “Digital Materiality and Historical Innovation,” Ulf Hashagen
(Deutsches Museum).


14:50-15:15. Break for virtual coffee.


Moderator: Tatjana Seitz (Siegen University)
15:15-16:15. “Web Materialities,” Valérie Schafer (C2DH, University of
16:20-17:00. Closing roundtable featuring the organizers pondering lessons


Please feel free to forward this far and wide.


Best wishes,



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