Communications: The European Journal of Communication Research
Volume 36, Number 3, Pages 283-394,

Special Issue on Revisiting Digital Media Technologies? Understanding


Kate O’Riordan
Revisiting digital technologies: envisioning biodigital bodies

In this paper the contemporary practices of human genomics in the 21st
century are placed alongside the digital bodies of the 1990s. The
primary aim is to provide a trajectory of the biodigital as follows:
First, digital bodies and biodigital bodies were both part of the
spectacular imaginaries of early cybercultures. Second, these
spectacular digital bodies were supplemented in the mid-1990s by digital
bodywork practices that have become an important dimension of everyday
communication. Third, the spectacle of biodigital bodies is in the
process of being supplemented by biodigital bodywork practices, through
personal or direct-to-consumer genomics. This shift moves a form of
biodigital communication into the everyday. Finally, what can be learned
from putting the trajectories of digital and biodigital bodies together
is that the degree of this communicative shift may be obscured through
the doubled attachment of personal genomics to everyday digital culture
and high-tech spectacle.

Gemma San Cornelio and Elisenda Ardévol
Practices of place-making through locative media artworks

In recent years, the vast increase in information flows have made it
possible to instantly connect location dependent information with
physical spaces. These technologies have provided new forms of the
representation of space as much as new forms of perception through tools
and techniques used in land surveying, remote sensing, etc. From a
critical point of view, pervasive computing, location-based
applications, or in other words, “locative media”, provide an
interesting framework to understand how these technologies relate to our
understanding of space and place. Concretely, we want to examine how the
uses of locative media in social-oriented artworks interact with
people’s sense of place. This article therefore discusses contemporary
theories on space related to media and technology with a specific focus
on the conceptualization of the notion of place. It also relates these
theories to the study of different locative media artworks: Canal
Accessible (2006), Bio Mapping (2004), Disappearing Places (2007), and
Coffee Deposits (2010). We contend that locative media artworks act upon
distinctive ways to understand the mediation of technology in current
place-making practices.

Susanna Paasonen
Revisiting cyberfeminism

In the early 1990s, cyberfeminism surfaced as an arena for critical
analyses of the inter-connections of gender and new technology –
especially so in the context of the internet, which was then emerging as
something of a “mass-medium”. Scholars, activists and artists interested
in media technology and its gendered underpinnings formed networks and
groups. Consequently, they attached altering sets of meaning to the term
cyberfeminism that ranged in their take on, and identifications with
feminism. Cyberfeminist activities began to fade in the early 2000s and
the term has since been used by some as synonymous with feminist studies
of new media – yet much is also lost in such a conflation. This article
investigates the histories of cyberfeminism from two interconnecting
perspectives. First, it addresses the meanings of the prefix “cyber” in
cyberfeminism. Second, it asks what kinds of critical and analytical
positions cyberfeminist networks, events, projects and publications have
entailed. Through these two perspectives, the articles addresses the
appeal and attraction of cyberfeminism and poses some tentative
explanations for its appeal fading and for cyberfeminist activities
being channelled into other networks and practiced under different names.

CarrieLynn D. Reinhard
Studying the interpretive and physical aspects of interactivity:
Revisiting interactivity as a situated interplay of structure and agencies

The concept of “interactivity” has routinely been used to differentiate
older analogue media and newer digital media. In this usage,
interactivity has come to be defined as primarily a physical behavior
from the person, as dictated by the media product, which has
technological and/or content features that enable, promote, and require
specific types and amounts of such activity. However, physical
behaviours are only part of the processes involved in engaging with a
media product. These also involve cognitive, affective and interpretive
behaviours. Additionally, what are considered the most important
behaviors may vary in any given media reception situation. This paper
reports on a study that considered interactivity as involving
interpretive and physical behaviours together. In interviews about
people’s engaging with new and old media products, the processes of
interactivity were mapped for their interconnected components. The
results help illustrate the complexity of the concept.

Phil Ellis <>: re-working the site(s) of new
television: participants, contemporary and historical television, and
the archive

This article investigates the potential for new television as arts
practice. It explores this potential by revisiting acts and sites of
television’s history through processes of enactment, specifically the
reenactment of The Man with the Flower in his Mouth, the first drama
broadcast by John Logie Baird (with the BBC) in 1930. This took place in
Baird’s studio at 133 Long Acre, London. The article outlines key
features of various possibilities for a “new” television and a new
television arts practice and considers how reenactment as an arts
process might address the “trace” of historical television’s archive,
and in doing so also give it a particular contemporary relevance.
Theorists of memory and storage (Ricoeur and Derrida) are drawn upon to
develop forms of thinking about television and performance as archive
which are then drawn on to consider the prospects for
<>. <> is an art
and television history project which will reenact The Man with the
Flower in His Mouth in the summer of 2011.