CALL for ABSTRACT: How materiality matters in digital worlds: Artefacts, media, and discourses

The 5th STS Italia Conference will be held in Milan, Italy, June 12 through 14, 2014, by the Italian Society of Science and Technology Studies, in collaboration with the Politecnico di Milano Doctoral School in Design. 
The conference is articulated in 24 autonomous thematic sessions (tracks), each one focussing on a different topic and organized in 6 main areas of interest. Abstracts with a maximum length of 500 words, unless otherwise indicated in the specific track. They must include title, author'€™s name, affiliation, e-mail address and should be sent in the language of the track in which you wish to participate. In the case of bilingual sessions, the abstract should be written in the language (Italian or English) in which you want to present your paper.

CALL for ABSTRACT Track nr. 7

How materiality matters in digital worlds: Artefacts, media, and discourses

One of the key ideas that embedded in the spread of digital media has been the “dematerialization” of practices and media, apparently caused by digital streams of data (coded in sequences of 0 and 1) travelling from one medium to another. However, investigations on the uses of new digital media have shown a different view. Not only media practices are still literally crowded of material objects, but also the role of artefacts, technologies and media seems to take on a new centrality. Furthermore, we also assisted to a renewed role of corporality in the use of the media, a proliferation of new interfaces, an increasing focus on aesthetics and tactility of these new media and a flourishing presence of digital devices in everyday life.

There is no doubt, however, that the presence of objects and materiality in the digital lives has profoundly transformed, and it has challenged old practices and paradigms of use and consumption of the media. For example, with digital media, old communication technologies are changed assuming now a different nature. The digitization of photography, cinema, radio, television and telecommunications has generated a socio-cultural and aesthetic change of these means. On the other hand, the ease of transferring data streams, the increasing relevance of the apps, and the ease of transmigration between different media apparently highlighted the role of the “message over the medium” itself in the digital world.

All this can be described as an on-going process of “re-materialization” of digital culture, an entire recombination and reconfiguration of the relationship between materiality, practices and cultural meanings in contemporary digital life.

Based on these reflections, the track invites contributions that address the relationship between materiality and digital worlds from different theoretical and empirical points of view. Examples of thematic topics may include:

• The role of material objects in digital practices

• The design and aesthetics of both new digital media and digitized old media

• The situated uses of new media and digital technologies

• The historical evolution of shapes of media technologies

• The transformation of cultural media: books, music, photography, moving pictures, broadcasting

• The role of materiality in the change of digital practices

• Discourses and rhetorics on dematerialization of digital media

• The relationship between the use of the body and new media

Convenors: Gabriele Balbi (University of Lugano, gabriele.balbi[ at ]; Paolo Magaudda (University of Padova, paolo.magaudda[ at ]

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Abstracts must be submitted through the conference website form by February 15, 2014. Communications of acceptance or rejection to authors will be sent by March 15, 2014.
In order to submit abstracts, author(s) need to have their own account at the conference website. If you do not have the account yet, please create it.
Conference proceedings: Authors who have been scheduled for a presentation are eligible for inclusion in the conference proceedings by submitting the final version of their paper (excepting any changes requested by the editors) by May 10, 2014. PhD students who are presenting in the poster session can also submit their contribution as a paper for inclusion in the conference proceedings by the same deadline.
Further information on the conference on: and | Twitter : @stsitalia
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