Last week I received a formal invitation to pay $100 and speak in front of others at the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (SLSA) 25th Annual academic conference, which is happening in Kitchener, ON from September 22–25 of this year. I expect the conference to focus largely upon digital media and interdisciplinary studies that blur the line between science and the arts, but until the formal seminar schedule is released, this is all we have to go on:
The theme for 2011 is “PHARMAKON,” that which can both kill and cure. From Socrates’ hemlock to nuclear radiation, the pharmakon offers an opportunity to explore the concept of indeterminacy as it applies to a number of research topics. (SLSA 2011)
I’ll be presenting a paper that I wrote last term on Cybridity, an arcade cabinet 3 classmates and I built for our English 794 “Cyberbodies” course. I also hope to give a live demonstration of the game and field questions from the audience.
While Cybridity may not relate directly to the “PHARMAKON” theme of the conference, I think that by showing how social media both brings people together and isolates them, a correlation between our project and the conference theme can be developed.
Here’s the abstract I submitted to an SLSA program committee made up of professors from the University of Illinois and Penn State:
Information Overload: Cybridity and an Overwhelming, Lonely World
This presentation will examine Cybridity, a digital art arcade cabinet project that my team and I unveiled at the University of Waterloo’s “Cabinets of Curiosity” event, held April 27, 2011. I will describe how Cybridity is intended to provide users with an overwhelming experience, or an “informational overload,” while also isolating users from the outside world. I will explain how the flash video game component of Cybridity questions the ways in which we gather information from new and social media, and our ability as viewers, readers and listeners to absorb this information that we are provided with wherever we go. I will also explain how the unorthodox inside out (or, more specifically, “outside in”) cabinet construction of Cybridity was inspired by the current phenomenon of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, which claim to bring people from around the globe closer together through mediated, digital communication. The reality is that as we become more dependent on technology to communicate with others, we physically isolate ourselves from others and in fact become less “social.” The presentation will consist of a read essay (with possible powerpoint/image display) and a live demonstration of the Cybridity digital art project. It would be best to have a projector available to better display the flash game component.
Click here for more information on the Cybridity arcade cabinet project.