The ECREA section of Digital Culture and Communication has organized the DGPuK ‘Digital Media Technologies Revisited’ Conference that took place in the University of the Arts (Universität der Künste – UdK) in Hardenbergstraße 33, Berlin. The conference was an opportunity to rethink the theoretical perspectives we use to study different objects of research regarding digital media in a very distended and creative way. We also presented three papers about our current ongoing research projects. Here there is a short summary of them:
Invisible networks and location‐based projects suggesting the return of the “place”
Gemma San Cornelio talked about how in recent years there has been a vast increase of information flows: mobile phones, wireless networks or Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technologies have made it possible for us to instantly connect location dependent information with physical spaces. These technologies have provided new forms of representation of space as much as new forms of perception of space through tools and techniques used in land surveying, remote sensing, etc. In terms of appropriation, pervasive computing, location-based applications, or in other words, “Locative Media”, could provide an interesting framework to understand these appropriations with artistic or social purposes. This framework has been controversial precisely because of the implications of using surveillance networks such as GPS, but at the same time provide a critical view to these networks thus suggesting a stimulating approach on how these technologies shape and affect our everyday life.
Where mass media and social production meet: change and continuity in collaborative audiovisual projects.
Antoni Roig presented his paper about the conclusions drawn from a research on collaborative media production, regarding the interrelations between these emergent forms and traditional mass media industries. Even if the debate around the phenomena of complex self-production (like fan movies or webseries and open source or participatory media) tend to reproduce some old stereotypes in media studies –in terms of revolutionary changes or mere assimilation and complicity with new industry strategies-, he stands for a different approach: the analysis of continuity and change –as expressed by Hesmondhalgh (2007)- precisely through emergent practices, hybrid models and incipient ways of collaboration between different cultural circuits.
The fractures of photography: following the relationship between technology practices, sociality and identity formation in digital culture
Edgar Gomez presented a reflection about digital photography practices from an ethnographic standpoint. Photography as technology, object and practice is being transformed in its digital feature. As a cultural form conveying a set of practices, material devices and narratives, it can be related with the emergence of a “digital culture” that links cultural production to new forms of sociality and identity formation through technology mediated practices. In his paper -done in collaboration with Elisenda Ardevol-, he presented some preliminary results of an ethnography among a group of photographers most of them located in Catalonia and all of them users and organized through the photo-sharing site flickr.com. By describing some of the practices of these photographers, he discussed how this amalgam of technologies, practices and discourses have blurred some of the former dichotomies such as amateur and professional or private versus public use of photography. He showed through his ethnographic data how this distinctions are not necessarily “disappearing” but negotiated and transformed through collective practices.
(Photo of a Research in Medicine building near Postdamer Platz)