• The Theorizing the Web conference offers academic thrills and chills this weekend
03.01.13

The Theorizing the Web conference offers academic thrills and chills this weekend

Since you’re reading Kill Screen, your conference-going mind is surely tuned in to Twofivesix. However, if you’re in NYC and interested in the art and science of theorizing the web, the aptly named Theorizing The Web conference is going on Friday and Saturday (March 1st and 2nd, 2013), at the CUNY Graduate Center.

The conference description reads like catnip to art/tech/culture geeks:

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Society has been infiltrated by new digital technologies with potentially profound consequences. It makes sense to ask what’s changed? How has it changed? How much? Researchers and companies have gathered enormous amounts of data to ostensibly answer these questions, but the full implications of this data too often go unexplored. The Web is not a new, separate sphere, but part of the same social reality about which critical social theorists have produced several centuries worth of insight. These theories may be profitably used, tweaked, or even abandoned in light of contemporary realities. What previous theoretical tools help us understand these changes? What new theories should be created?

They’re also refreshingly concerned about diversity (particularly for a tech conference):

[the conference] seeks to bring together an inter/non-disciplinary group of scholars, journalists, artists, and commentators to theorize the Web. As in the past, we encourage interrogations of power, social inequality, and social justice; intersections of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, and disability will be woven throughout the conference.

Getting smart about the seriously geeky/trashy aspects of Internet culture has got to be one of the finest guilty pleasures of the over-educated nerd, and the Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction session promises not to disappoint. The panelists include Star Trek and Subjectivity: Fan Videos as Sexual Textual Critiques’ Andrea Marshall and Internet as Pussy/Pussy as Internet’s Faith Holland; how could it possibly not be fascinating?

As with all things theory and web, a key component to several panels is identity – and the curious mashup of identity, identity politics and the complexities of those ideas in a massive shared space. Programming including"You Are What You Post, The New Politics of Participation & Persuasion, IRL in the URL: Digital Dualism of the "Real" & "Virtual" and "Bodies and Bits" all pertain heavily.

If you’re the sort of Internet citizen who enjoys a good helping of academia to go with your web habits, you pretty much can’t go wrong here.