Thomas Conner, Univ. of California-San Diego; Jason Archer, Michigan Technological University;
Sea, sky, and land are not just materials and metaphors - they are networked media. Amid current technological innovation and environmental crisis, humanity's future is intertwined with other living organisms, nonliving machines, and organic-machine hybrids. The concept of cyborg ecologies frames these 'endless but always contingent networks' in ways that blend the natural and social/humanistic sciences, exploring how humans operate alongside our nonhuman cousins, in order to 'pay both empirical and theoretical attention to the connections among the biophysical, social, discursive, and technical elements of any given event, object, subject, idea, or thing' (Rutherford). Considering Donna Haraway's idea of 'making kin' between 'organic species and abiotic actors,' how are communication and digital technologies participating beyond the needs of human users?
This panel invites scholars working with and within cyberspace, virtual reality, and augmented reality technologies that attempt to represent, mediate, archive, or rewrite relationships between human and nonhuman actors. We seek projects that engage with the natural world in ways that de-center human experience and logocentric perspectives, afford nonhuman agencies, and offer ways of thinking and being guided by wisdom. What constitutes land in VR? Where is the sky in AR design? How is oceanic communication represented and mediated? We seek to report on the status of digital engagement with these infinite networks and the positioning of human technological creation within the world's cyborg ecology.
Haraway, Donna. 2015. 'Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin,' Environmental Humanities, 6, pp. 159-165.
Rutherford, Stephanie. 2010. 'Cyborg Ecologies.' In Encyclopedia of Geography, SAGE.