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‘did you feel it?’ A SYMPOSIUM ON DIGITAL INTERFACES AND THEIR AFFECT

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The Premise of the symposium

 

The symposium “did you feel it ?” will approach the concern of how affect manifests through technology, by taking the idea of the interface as a way of understanding the creation and mediation of affective forces and their influence on our social, political and artistic encounters.

Affect can be defined as as “a pre-personal intensity corresponding to the passage from one experiential state of the body to another and implying an augmentation or diminution in that body’s capacity to act.” (Brian Massumi) In our contemporary situation these experiential states and feelings are readily exchanged and traded upon in many areas of life: Your Facebook friends are editing and mediating their lives so that you can engage with them through liking and sharing. News media increasingly appeals to us on an affective register, influencing our reactions from occupation to commodification. With the growth of the service industry, an increasing number of workers no longer merely exchange the labour of their bodies, rather they exchange on an affective spectrum, like the call centre worker who must present a relentless kind and civil demeanor, no matter what.

What we do in the media is enabled and disabled by interfaces. The interface is the ubiquitous and largely hidden layer between human and machine, but its transparency does not make it neutral. It is also an autonomous zone of aesthetic activity, guided by its own logic and its own ends. (Alexander Galloway). The interface permanently shapes our view of the material, the social, the political and the technological.

This premise was written in May by myself, Jammie Nicholas and Miguel Ángel Rego Robles . Through writing this and developing the whole symposium, we were supported by Jorinde Seijdel, the editor for Open, and artist Florian Göttke.

The symposium was organised by student from The Dutch Art Institute, that I studied with as part of the project, Affective Images: How Public Images Produce Affect in a Digital Age.

Eduardo Cachucho, Charlie Dance, Monique Hendriksen, Marie-Andrée Pellerin, Kaste Šeškeviciute, Aarti SunderYung Han JuanSebastian De Line, Chris den Dulk,  Jammie NicholasMiguel Angel Rego Robles and Hu Wei.

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