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Affective Experiences - media art, design & research




Speakers: Professor Ernest Edmonds: Professor of Computation and Creative Media at the University of Technology, Sydney and Professor of Computational Art at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK, Dr Lisa Blackman: Reader in Media and Communications, Goldsmiths College

The conference is funded by the AHRC and will be held on Monday 9th of December 2013 at Parasol Unit, London, UK. It is a collaboration by City University London, Kings College London, Middlesex University, New London Graduate School (NLGS) and University College London in the academic fields of Creative Industries and Practice, Art and Design and Digital Humanities.

Conference Venue: Parasol Unit, 14 Wharf Road, London, N1 7RW, UK

Keynote speakers

  • Professor Ernest Edmonds: Professor of Computation and Creative Media at the University of Technology, Sydney and Professor of Computational Art at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK.
  • Dr Lisa Blackman: Reader in Media and Communications, Goldsmiths College.

The various uses of technological innovation in the social sphere have shaken our engagement with events, histories, art and culture and brought the question of emotional and physical encounters to the foreground. We are witnessing encounters that impact largely the understanding of previously established dichotomies of mind-body, social-natural, human-nonhuman, cognitive-affective. They seem to amalgamate in concepts as 'assemblage', 'flow', 'becoming', 'relationality' and 'heterogeneity' (Blackman, 2012). The experience of the digital era is today often argued to move beyond forms of representation involving corporeality of perception with artists, practitioners and designers to explore the many intersections between affect, emotion, sensation and action.

The analysis of affect is emerging significantly in a number of disciplines including social and cultural theory. Computing, design and usability are also part of 'the affective turn' with the emergence and development of affective computing, emotional usability and emotional design (Picard, 2003). The experience of emotions involves bodily movements, movements on feelings and thoughts, allowing the potential to occur. Affects are transitions (Massumi, 2002) and these movements of affects and emotions are encaptured in-between one experiential state of the body to another. The ability to affect and be affected is intrinsic to the category of emotion as well as the body. To have a body is to learn to be affected… put into motion by other entities, humans or nonhumans (Latour, 2004). Emotions are part of the change in the relation between affect and cognition, argued to be a necessary part of evaluation, interpretation, expression, evaluations of circumstances that provide information about relations to other, objects and events.

Audience participation is a familiar and arguably essential feature in these practices, as it is integral to the new forms of relationship that are developing in the intersections of art, technology and the social. This brings to the fore a questioning of participation and interactivity, particularly as a source of affective and emotional experiences in relation to technology. Investigating the notion of audiences, visitors and users also seem valuable in this context.

The conference aims to offer a multi-disciplinary space to discuss challenges in theorizing and researching emotional and affective experiences across disciplines and practices that centre on the use of interactive and digital technologies. How do we explore affective encounters in relation to interactivity, audience participation and interactive experiences? How do artists' work and engagement with audiences experience reveal affective qualities? What is the stake of galleries and cultural institutions in these challenges? What is the role of affect and emotion when researching audience's experience? How should we formulate research questions, research methods, and research dissemination? What methods researchers use and how affective encounters can be captured? The symposium will specifically discuss audience experiences and interaction with new media interventions in art galleries, museums and institutions invoking affect.

Submissions may address (but are not limited to) the following themes:

  • Experiencing mediated digital environments
  • The in-betweenness of digital experiences; affective dynamics; art and technology
  • Audiences, visitors and users; new audience relationships
  • Institutional engagement in affective encounters
  • Phenomenological understanding  of the interactions of audiences, media and other forms of media
  • Theorisation of affective encounters
  • Audience participation;  performing histories and events
  • The aesthetics and 'politics' of interactivity, participation and engagement in the digital age
  • Art, cultural heritage and changing relationships between affect, cognition and perception
  • Audience research and new media: new methodological horizons
  • Research methodologies; users' experience and involvement

The time for presentations is limited to maximum 20 minutes, followed by a 10 minute debate.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 2nd September 2013

We will notify you about the acceptance of your proposals by: Monday 16th September 2013

Submission of proposals: please send an email attachment to Irida Ntalla.

Submission notes: Abstract from 200-300 words. Innovative forms of presentation will be considered such as dialogues between several presenters or artistic interventions such as video or participatory practice sessions.The papers based on the conference presentations will be published in English in a Special Issue in a peer reviewed journal. Details will be revealed in due time.

Conference fee: £15 (£10 concessions)


Hashtag: #affectexp

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When & where

6.00am - 6.00pmMonday 9th December 2013

Contact Details

Postgraduate Programme Administrator


College Building
City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7040 8202

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