Seminar: The Social Life of Digital and Non-digital Surfaces?
|Dates:||11 November 2016|
|Times:||14:00 - 16:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Social Sciences|
|Speaker:||Dr Eduardo de la Fuente|
Speaker: Eduardo de La Fuente (James Cook University)
My paper takes as its starting point a throwaway comment made by Friedrich Nietzsche in The Gay Science: namely, that when we are thinking about the world we should ‘stop bravely at the surface, the fold, the skin’ and have the courage to ‘worship appearance, to believe in shapes, tones, words’.
My own proposition is that apparently superficial things like surfaces and textures matter a great deal in the context of non-superficial things like the associations embedded in consumer goods, how landscape shapes perceptions of places and whether an organisation or institution feels good about itself. Everyday aesthetic dualities like ‘glossy and patinated’, ‘lush and arid’, and ‘cluttered and uncluttered’, can be mobilized in the service of economic, organizational and infrastructural projects. While such aesthetic constructs may piggyback on other socio-cultural resources such as glamour and charisma, my contention is that surfaces are also very capable of doing their very own socio-technical and cultural-economic work.
I conclude by reflecting on why, as we see advent of ‘intelligent things’ and the production of artifacts comes to rely more heavily on technologies such as 3-D printing, we may be moving towards a situation where – as geographer Nigel thrift proposes – ‘a new set of surfaces are gradually covering the world, a kind of second skin of new forms of attention’. An interesting paradox: as the world starts to feel light and immaterial (or, in Zygmunt Bauman’s terms, more ‘liquid’), material surfaces – as well as their crafting and curating – seem all the more important.
This is a Critical Investigations of Digital Culture Seminar, organised by the Digital Work and Living Research Group.
Dr Eduardo de la Fuente
Role: Senior Lecturer in Creativity and Innovation; Associate Dean, Research Education
Organisation: James Cook University
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