Friday, February 22, 2013

The Online Letter Archive

The online letter archive seems to be a popular project for humanities researchers. Such archives offer the correspondences of either a well known individual, or of people who experienced a historical event and wrote letters about it. The online archive is a model for the digital organization of of a collection and a brief survey of a few current online letter archives reveals some interesting tendencies, features and limitations to the present format.

The Darwin Correspondence Project (DCP) "exists to publish the definitive edition of letters to and from Charles Darwin". The site promises; "you can read and search the full texts of more than 7,000 of Charles Darwin’s letters, and find information on 8,000 more. Available here are complete transcripts of all known letters Darwin wrote and received up to the year 1868. More are being added all the time."With such a vast amount of material an efficient search system is essential. The basic search system on DCP is keyword motivated. As such it is an efficient but limited system. For example, in the general search window, by searching for the keyword "Galapagos" it returns 170 entries. More fine-grained search is available, with a) People, b) Places, c) Keyword (with four fields available; 1. All Content, 2. Only Summary, 3. Only Transcript, 4. Only Footnote) and finally d) Time Range. Entering "Galapagos" in the Places field only returns 59 entries; which seems odd. There is no graphical interface available (that I could find anyway) on the site for place correlation, such as a map that imposes time over place, to see some progression in the movements of Darwin, and thus connecting the letters together in another searchable field (i.e. place). There are a number of glossaries in the website for DCP, the most interesting of which is perhaps the Physical Descriptions. Here the original artefacts are coded according to genre and materiality (eg. original, handwritten, condition status etc). The coding of genre and materiality is an efficient way to present something of the objects it is representing, but it would be good to have seen at least some scans. There is however the Darwin Behind the Scenes virtual exhibition, which is linked from the site on the News section, where you can see high resolution images of some of the objects. Searching for Galapagos on the Behind the Scenes website brings 0 returns, but the images are stunning.

The Olive Schreiner Letters Online (OSLO) project "is funded by the ESRC. It will transcribe, analyse and publish the complete extant Olive Schreiner letters presently in archival locations world-wide". There are currently 4800 letters from Schreiner known to be in existence. The letters presently in the archive are organized alphabetically around the surname of the recipient. There is a general search function. Searching in it from the Index page for "Churchill" returns 10 entries, from letters not addressed to anyone by the name of Churchill, but that do contain the name within them. There seems to be an element of virtual portraiture to the OSLO, with the How to Use section stating; "Essential Schreiner' features Schreiner's 'Must Read' letters, letters concerned with transitions and turning points, and those which show the lighter side of her letter-writing practices, as well as an outline chronology of events and happenings in her life." A personality behind an archive always helps with relating to the materials within it. Interestingly, the OSLO contains "two indexes. The first is a list of all the letters in which she mentions or discusses her writing, including both particular publications and also her comments on writing as an activity, her work. The second is a sub-set of this, and it lists those letters which discuss publishers and editors and her dealings - not always very happy - with them." How these are cross-referenced is unclear. These is also an index of letters by topic, and this is an invaluable addition to the system. It is in the Letters by Topic section that we get a good overview of the possible uses for the OSLO. In the Letters by Topic we can see how rich an archive we have here, with a very broad range of possible applications.

We have chosen to include Letters from the American Civil War (LACW) as it is a good example of attention to the artefacts represented in the archive. The archive is actually a portal to a number of other archives. The letters are reproduced both visually and textually; with images of the letters and their envelopes (including addresses and stamps) alongside clear copies of the letters. These is no notation in the archive.The LACW archive is an archive at its most basic in terms of infrastructure, but the use of images of the represented artefacts adds a historical and material dimension that is lacking in many online letter archives.

The final archive in this collection is a recently created one from Sweden. Hjalmar Bergman Korrespondenser (HBK or Hjalmar Bergman Letters) contains hundreds of letters written between 1900 and 1930 by the Swedish writer. What is interesting about the archive is how the material is organized: i. from the date, ii. from the town it was sent from, iii. from the address, iv. from the people who are named in the letter, v. from works that are named in the letter, vi. from the genre of works named in the letter, vii. from where the letter is kept today and viii. from visual reproductions of the letter in the archive. In this way the HBK archive covers many of the possible search combinations in the organizing of the material. Tagging is of utmost importance to the organizing of materials in digital archives. Footnotes are included in each reproduction of text of letters. There is no general search function in the archive website that we could find. We think this is very interesting; instead of relying on a general search, the material is tagged to such a degree that users are directed towards specific themes in the archive.

To summarize, we thought it was interesting that none of the archives offered downloadable content. The result is materials cannot be extracted from the archives and worked with 'off site'. In this sense the archives as they appear online function more as interfaces than spaces to work in. However, as they are online and accessible, they do allow controlled access to materials and the opportunity to work from outside institutions for anyone interested in the subjects they cover. We would have liked to have seen more Creative Commons or Open Access statements attached to these archives. A design that allows linking and uploading to research that reference the archives, and feedback from users would have also been useful. The organization of digital artefacts is an important element in the management of events and the archives discussed here provide inspiration for the possibilities for storage, access (include searchability) and distribution for any materials stored online. In our discussions in the workshops next week the concept of 'The Archive' will feature, and we hope this short post inspires some consideration of the role of the archive in event management and the dissemination of research.

Monday, February 18, 2013

STELARC: meat, metal & code: the cadaver, the comatose & the chimera

Tuesday 19 February 2013
Alison Richard Building
West Road

The Cambridge Screen Media Group at CRASSH welcomes the performance artist, STELARC, famous for exploring the capacities and limits of the human body through art. A unique opportunity to experience his work in person!

All welcome; followed by what promises to be a truly unique Q&A.

ABSTRACT: We are increasingly expected to perform in Mixed and Augmented Realities. We are no longer merely biological bodies but increasingly accelerated by our machines and enhanced by our instruments. And we have to manage data in virtual systems. We have become extended operational systems, performing beyond the boundaries of our skin and beyond the local space we inhabit. As well as Circulating Flesh it is now an age of Fractal and Phantom Flesh.
Cost: free

Stelarc: Psycho Cyber (1996)


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Event Management in Real-Time Collaborations Across Mixed and Transmedia Realities

Presentation for AHRC Social Media Knowledge Exchange (SMKE) at University of Cambridge on "Managing Real-Time Event Collaborations Across Mixed and Transmedial Realities". This presentation is for the first of two workshops.

Two half-day workshops on using shared digital media for cultural and academic professionals

Social media is more than a Facebook account or a blog. Today there are many social media platforms that can be used as effective and inexpensive tools for event management and/or for participation and work in the knowledge economy. These two workshops, conducted by a social media professional with more than 10 years of international experience, will develop and share effective practices, experiences, tools and platforms on managing real-time events across a range of social media in professional contexts related to culture, arts and the humanities.

Workshop 1 – Event Management (20 February 2013, Wednesday, 9am – 12 noon, CRASSH)

1.     Identifying practical digital tools for using in event management – a list of 20
2.     The boundaries of space in mediating events; the virtual present and the presence virtual
3.     The ethics of crowd contributions, or, “Watch out, I am behind you!”
4.     Archiving the event; tagging, storing, streaming and collating
5.     Designing an event with digital infrastructure

Thursday, February 14, 2013

TOPOPHONIA: Four Realizations in Sound


Yoshikaze "Up-In-The-Air" Second Life Residency presents TOPOPHONIA

Date: 2013-02-18—2013-02-22
Time: 13.00  CET
Place: Samhällsvetarhuset, HUMlab is located below the University library, in the Social Sciences building

Nine Rooms by Oberon Onmura
Listen ... by Alpha Auer
Bank Job by Maya Paris
Jazz on Bones by Eupalinos Ugajin
18 - 22 February 2012 @ HUMlab, Umeå University, Sweden
Opening Hours: 8am - 4pm
Opening: 18 February between 1pm- 4pm

"You will find four completely different pieces, four totally different visions of what that initial concept suggested. To me, the fact that our four versions are so different is tremendously exciting. It is further proof that the artist's mind is unlimited in its ability to make sense of the world, and to convey that sense to others."- Review of "Topophonia" by Quan Lavende
YO=shi-kA+Ze is a Second Life (SL) artist studio run by Goodwind Seiling (aka Sachiko Hayashi) together with Didge Burroughs (aka James Barrett) with support from Umeå University in Sweden. Its main activity is to provide SL artist-in-residency "Up-in-the-Air" residency. Between 15 October 2012 - 31 January 2013, Oberon Onmura held the residency at Yoshikaze as our artist-in-residence on HUMlab Island in Second Life, during which time he has completed a unique project entitled "Topophonia," involving three other SL artists in addition to completing his own artworks.

"The principal concept of "Topophonia" is the notion of bringing together a group of artists' to create artworks around a common concept. ….I was less interested in any sort of collaboration than in seeing how (or whether) other artists could understand and work from an artistic framework that I personally found interesting in creating a new piece….whether their resulting artworks in any way mirrored or complemented my own. So not a collaboration; rather, an experiment to test whether an artistic idea is share-able, and to see the result of each artist independently operating on that idea in his or her unique fashion."

By basing its starting point on sound to guide the visitors, his chosen artists, Alpha Auer, Maya Paris and Eupalinos Ugajin, have each created an independent installation. Together with Oberon's own work they comprise "Topophonia: Four Realization in Sound."
Yoshikaze is very pleased to present "Topophonia" at RL HUMlab, Umeå University, between 18-22 February 2012. Four machinimas filmed beautifully by Marx Catteneo will be shown on our screens alongside with four computer stations with avatars who will take the visitors to their inworld installations.

In conjunction to this RL show, Yoshikaze Studio will be open to the public. We welcome you at to experience "Topophonia" from your own location.

Oberon's artist statement of the project can be read on our blog at; about Oberon's artists at ; reviews at

Curated by Goodwind Seiling/Sachiko Hayashi in collaboration with HUMlab. The poster design by Carl-Erik Engqvist from HUMlab.

Yoshikaze "Up-in-the-Air" Residency ( is a Second Life residency programme run by Sachiko Hayashi together with RL HUMlab art director Carl-Erik Engqvist, Umeå University, Sweden.

For inquiries, please contact:

Yoshikaze is funded and hosted by HUMlab, Umeå University, Sweden.
Yoshikaze blog:
Yoshikaze vimeo:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Great Moments in Broadcast Signal Intrusion

Broadcast Signal Intrusion is a term given to the act of hijacking broadcast signals of radio and television stations. Hijacking incidents have involved local TV and radio stations as well as cable and national networks.

Yesterday Montana TV station KRTV reported that someone hacked into their Emergency Broadcast System and broadcast of an impending emergency in several Montana counties. According to Great Falls Tribune, regular programming was interrupted with a voice-over that warned that bodies were rising from their graves and attacking humans (video 1, 2).
“Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are extremely dangerous…”
This is not the first time a Broadcast Signal Intrusion has happened. Here are some of my favorites:

The so-called 'Max Headroom Pirate Incident' from 1987. The first incident occurred during the sports segment of the WGN 9:00 p.m. news broadcast; During the sports section of the 9pm news broadcast on Americas WGN network, an unauthorised signal over powered the sations transmitters and was broadcast for over a minute. The signal had no audio, but the video was of someone in a Max Headroom mask gesturing at the camera.

The second of these incidents occured during the evening broadcast of Dr Who on WTTW. This time the signal had audio and viewers were witness to a unintelligble rant from the 'fake' Max Headroom character.

East Enders interrupted by techno music and geometric shapes.

In May 2012 viewers of UK terrestrial TV were suddenly faced with this alarming yet intriguing break in normal transmission. The perpetrators are still being hunted by OfCom for a violation of UK broadcasting law. If caught, the individuals could face hefty fines or even imprisonment. Quite how they managed to break into the network is still unknown. OfCom and broadcast industry experts are keeping a tight lid on how it may have happened. The only information released is that the broadcast may have been inserted somewhere in the North of England, possibly near the Emley Moor or Winter Hill Transmitter sites

On a late-December evening in 1989, a Los Angeles television station was victim of a broadcast signal takeover.

A broadcast of the Reagan/Bush gavel passing was interrupted by a man wearing a tin foil mask. The crazed person uttered mostly gibberish and becomes flustered when a piece of his "set" falls apart. 30-seconds later, the program returned to normal.

This broadcast of the popular PBS cooking show, "The Frugal Gourmet," was interrupted by a video pirate.

Deep into the night during an HBO broadcast of The Falcon and the Snowman in April 1986, subscribers were startled to see the start of the action interrupted by a four-and-a-half-minute transmission from a certain “Captain Midnight.” Over a test pattern, the message from Captain Midnight ran as follows:

$12.95/MONTH ?

Captain Midnight turned out to be a John MacDougall, an engineer at a satellite transmission facility in Ocala, Florida. MacDougall’s hacker attack was motivated by frustration at HBO, who he felt was overcharging satellite customers and hurting his satellite dish business. MacDougall was sentenced to one year’s probation and a $5,000 fine.

You can read more about the Max Headroom broadcast intrusion here.

Keep watching the skies.

Keynote presentations from Digital Humanities Australasia 2012

The inaugural conference of the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities was held on 28-30 March 2012 at the Australian National University and the Australian Academy of Science. Convened by Paul Arthur and Katherine Bode, over 250 delegates attended from Australia and New Zealand, as well as the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and North America, to discuss digital humanities research.

The event was made possible with the major sponsorship of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences and Research School of Humanities and the Arts. The Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London, provided generous support for workshop and conference presenters and a workshop grant was also received from the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing.

The Australasian Association for Digital Humanities was formed in March 2011 to strengthen the digital humanities research community in the region and to work with other international associations within the field. The professional association acts to support and extend links between digital humanities researchers, improve professional development opportunities and provide international leverage for local projects and initiatives, and is a member of the international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO).

This video is a compilation of three keynote sessions from the conference:

1. Dr Julia Flanders, Brown University, 'Rethinking Collections'
(Chair: Paul Arthur, Australian National University)

2. Professor Alan Liu, University of California, 'Close, Distant and Unexpected Writing'
(Chair: Katherine Bode, Australian National University)

3. 'Panel: Big Digital Humanities?'

Professor Peter Robinson, University of Saskatchewan
Professor Harold Short, King's College London
Professor John Unsworth, Brandeis University
(Chair: Hugh Craig, University of Newcastle)

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The War We Live In: Hacking Capitalism and Data as the Steampower of the Digital Age

We are at war, yes, but this is not an economic war. It is a world war against the economy. Against the economy that for thousands of years has been based on the exploitation of nature and man. And against a patched-up capitalism that will try to save its skin by investing in natural power and making us pay the high price for that which—once the new means of production are created—will be free as the wind, the sun, and the energy of plants and soil. If we do not exit economic reality and create a human reality in its place, we will once again allow market barbarism to live on. - Raoul Vaneigem (2009)

The War we live in is waged via virtual and violent means. People are dying in Syria as they are supported by the digital infrastructure provided by the Telecomix network. People are going to jail in Europe and North America, and dying in the process for what they believe should be the future for humanity. Massive cyber-attacks are probably happening right now on large institutions of power in the powerful nations of the world. The United States government is using drone devices, an extremely high level technology, to kill its own citizens. This is a war with technology and information at its center; with access, distribution and ownership defining the battles. Surveillance is an important part of this conflict, with one company combining all popular social software into a search engine, RIOT, which gives not only GIS information but links it to time and visual images for individuals. A subject can be surveilled and intercepted from the information they provide online. 

"Hacktivist cluster Telecomix released 54 gigabytes of Syrian censorship log data. The anonymized log data was collected from seven of 15 Bluecoat SG-9000 HTTP proxies used by Syrian government telco and ISP STE. Preliminary analysis revealed such keywords as proxy and Israel were blocked. And of course, much porn. The data set provides a unique look at Internet censorship from the inside. Internauts who enjoy regexes and charts are invited to help make a pretty infographic. Telecomix's #opsyria has been fighting censorship and facilitating communications [note: French language link] in Syria for the past few weeks, providing TOR, VPNs and technical advice and support via IRC. They've also been providing DNS service for The Pirate Bay."

Swartz had his principles, and he held to them forcefully. “Aaron generally felt like being a stickler about that stuff made the world better, because it actually pushed people to do the right thing,” says Wikler. He wouldn’t sign any contracts that might encourage patent trolling. He was finicky about his wardrobe, wearing T-shirts whenever possible. “Suits,” he wrote on his blog, “are the physical evidence of power distance, the entrenchment of a particular form of inequality.”
He wasn’t dogmatic about everything. He’d always been opposed to marriage, but he was starting to think he’d gotten that wrong. On Friday, Jan. 11, Stinebrickner-Kauffman stopped over at Wikler’s house. She and Swartz were coming over for dinner later that night, but she came by herself beforehand. As she played with Wikler’s new baby, she mentioned that Swartz had told her that, after the case was resolved, he might consider getting married. If that was possible, anything was possible.
But less than two miles away, in a small and dark studio apartment, Aaron Swartz was already dead." The Idealist: Aaron Swatz wanted to save the world why couldn't he save himself.

New Public Thinking #1: Reflections on 2011
(Ed. Dougald Hine & Keith Kahn-Harris)

Order your copy from PediaPress.
Our first book began as an invitation to reflect on the events of 2011: to make sense of the changes going on in the world and in our own lives, and to voice the questions the year had left us with.
From Wikileaks to the UK riots, Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park, the headline events of the year all make their appearance, often from the perspective of those involved in or touched by them. Smári McCarthy writes about his experience as a Telecomix activist providing tech support to revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. Keri Facer examines her responses after riots come to the street she has just moved into. But these images sit alongside the less dramatic events that make up the fabric of our lives, and between the two a pattern begins to emerge.

Then there is register for a free copy of The Open Book global movement for open knowledge. From makerspaces to data wrangling schools to archives, the digital is being remixed by the open – and it is changing society as we know it. New concepts about public information, transparency and the Commons are combining in unprecedented ways, resulting in a breadth of transformative collaborations across the globe.

The Open Book explores the social and technological manifestations of this emergent movement for the first time. It features 25 in-depth thought pieces written by pioneers of openness around the world from London to São Paulo, including the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Rufus Pollock, the Free Software Foundation’s Karsten Gerloff, the Centre for Sustainable Communications’ Jorge Luis Zapico, The Guardian’s Simon Rogers, the Open Hardware Summit’s Catarina Mota, IBM’s Ville Peltola, Open Design Now‘s Peter Troxler and the Harvard Berkman Centre for Internet & Society’s Mayo Fuster Morell.

Each of these contributions explore a unique aspect of the open knowledge movement and how it has affected work, society and culture across paradigms, from government to business to design to education. Also included is “The Evolution of Open Knowledge”, the world’s first crowdsourced timeline of openness and transparency from 1425 to the current day.

The Open Book is an essential reference point for those interested in the culmination of a global movement for change in a time of rapid social progress. The book is a free PDF.

Hacking is nothing new. Some do it for profit, others for secrets. Self-styled "hacktivist" groups such as Anonymous do it for causes they believe in. But what if the target is a newspaper and the hackers have a grudge?

On January 30, the New York Times revealed that hackers based in China had waged a four-month-long cyber onslaught against the paper soon after it published an article exposing the fortune amassed by the family of outgoing premier Wen Jiabao, a fortune that for the Chinese Communist Party has turned out to be – quite literally – an embarrassment of riches.

Soon after the Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post admitted that they too had been attacked. Bloomberg News and Associated Press are also on the list of media outlets targeted by China-based hackers, raising the spectre of a new front in the global cyber war – one that puts journalists and their sources in the firing line.

The documentary about the founders of the Pirate Bay. Share it with the world! Support the filmmakers of this free film here A film by Simon Klose

Simon Klose, the Swedish documentary and music video maker, wants you to pirate his film, TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard, and he’s not even kidding. His documentary about file-sharing website The Pirate Bay is available for sale, on YouTube (free), or via Pirate Bay torrent (also free).

The documentary covers the stories of Pirate Bay administrators Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, and Peter Sunde as they handle their 2009 Sweden court case about civil and criminal copyright laws. After being convicted, they are then forced to handle life “away from keyboard”.

Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been in police custody since 1 September 2012, when he was arrested and later extradited to Sweden from Cambodia. Upon arrival back to Sweden he was immediately arrested for suspicion of hacking Logica, a Swedish IT company that works with the local tax authorities. He was kept in solitary for up to 23 hours a day until December 7, 2012 while serving his one year sentence. The prosecution kept extending custody and later implicated him in a second hacking case along with accusations of four instances of serious fraud and four attempted frauds. Again, no official charges were filed. He remains in custody today.

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google (Right) with with the Iranian Foreign Minister (Left).

The Google boss hit the headlines last week when it was revealed he had co-authored a book criticizing the Chinese authorities. Google has clashed repeatedly with Beijing over censorship and alleged hacking. Schmidt called China the world's "most sophisticated and prolific" hacker of foreign companies, in a book called The New Digital Age, which will be published in April. The book, co-written with Jared Cohen, a former state department official who now runs a Google thinktank, brands China as the world's most dangerous superpower.

Eric Schmidt goes on to sign a 60 million euros deal with the French President Francoise Hollande to be able to link to French publications without having to pay tax on the advertising revenue it earns. 

Eric Schmidt spoke recently at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at Cambridge University. He gave a convincing and intelligent account of what life could be like in a globalized society where connectivity is the steam of a new industrial revolution. During the series of talks Schmidt claimed that open networks will prevent genocide.

Anonymous' 'Operation Last Resort' has published a new document revealing that the hacking collective has had an astonishing amount of access to The Fed's internal files and servers.

The new attack is Anonymous' response to the information security community's anger at the Federal Reserve ("The Fed") for its dismissive attitude and lack of transparency around Sunday's emergency contact system hack.

Anonymous has compromised the Grand Banks Yachts Web site to host this new file—Grand Banks Yachts, Ltd.—which manufactures and sells luxury yachts worldwide. The URL filename ominously reads, "dorner-is-a-symptom-not-the-syndrome."

The Anonymous 'Operation Last Resort' action last Sunday exposed over 4,600 bank executive credentials for The Fed's expanding nationwide program, the Emergency Communications System. The FBI has now begin to respond—at least to the bank hack—by opening a fresh criminal investigation into Anonymous 'Operation Last Resort.'

It was announced on Wednesday morning that Barrett Brown (pictured), a man who became a very public talking head for AnonOps (the brain trust that is arguably the cortex of the hacktivist group Anonymous, even though there technically isn’t one) is facing up to 100 years in jail for three separate indictments. - 'Why is Barrett Brown Facing 100 Years in Prison?'

A multinational security firm has secretly developed software capable of tracking people's movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites.
A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an "extreme-scale analytics" system created by Raytheon, the world's fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.
Raytheon says it has not sold the software – named Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology – to any clients.
But the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analyzing "trillions of entities" from cyberspace. (Guardian)

More from the war for information and access here.

Society has been infiltrated by new digital technologies with potentially profound consequences. It makes sense to ask what’s changed? How has it changed? How much? Researchers and companies have gathered enormous amounts of data to ostensibly answer these questions, but the full implications of this data too often go unexplored. The Web is not a new, separate sphere, but part of the same social reality about which critical social theorists have produced several centuries worth of insight. These theories may be profitably used, tweaked, or even abandoned in light of contemporary realities. What previous theoretical tools help us understand these changes? What new theories should be created?

The Theorizing the Web conference seeks to bring together an inter/non-disciplinary group of scholars, journalists, artists, and commentators to theorize the Web. As in the past, we encourage interrogations of power, social inequality, and social justice; intersections of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, and disability will be woven throughout the conference.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

CFP: There and Back Again: Cultural Perspectives on Time and Space

Welcome to the international conference There and Back Again... Cultural Perspectives on Time and Space. The conference is organized by the doctoral student council, Department of Culture and Media Studies. More information will be available shortly on this website.

Call for Papers is now open - please submit your abstracts by February 15, 2013. Hope to see you in Umeå this spring!

The concepts of time and space are intrinsic parts of the factual and fictional experience. No matter where (or when) we look at the humanities temporality and spatiality form the basis of our research; implicitly or explicitly. However, questions regarding space and time are often overlooked as potential points of theoretical departure or a basis for methodological tools. The aim of this conference is to explore the possibilities of time and space within the diverse fields of the humanities.
We invite paper proposals from doctoral students from all disciplines of the humanities that address (but are not limited to) the following aspects:
  • Identity and (inter)subjectivity.
  • Narratives and narrativity.
  • Representation/-s and creation of space and time.
  • Theoretical perspectives on temporality and/or spatiality.
  • The future and the fantastic.
  • Transgressing bodies.
  • Geography and migration.
  • History and politics.
    Papers on all other topics pertinent to the conference’s scope of interest are also welcome.
Jack Halberstam, University of Southern California.
James Barrett, Umeå University.

INFORMATION: Send electronic submissions to the organizers, Tamara Andersson, Märit Simonsson and Josefine Wälivaara:
Abstract, maximum 300 words should be submitted by February 15, 2013. Please state whether you would like to make an 8 or 20 minute presentation. Specify any technical requirements. Note that we only accept papers in English.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Eric Schmidt: The Next 5 Billion - Life in Our New Connected Age

Eric Schmidt Executive Chairman of Google sketches out a future world in which cyberterrorists are targeted by government drone strikes, online identities are taken hostage and held for ransom, and parents explain online privacy to their children long before the subject of sex.

Eric Schmidt also said that his recent trip to North Korea had shown that the population there lives in an "utter information blackout" – but that change was certain to come, as well as for the 5 billion people worldwide not yet connected to the internet, for whom connectivity would bring enormous benefits and transform their lives.

Speaking to an audience at Cambridge University, in the first of a number of speeches outlining his view of the technological future, Schmidt said that he thought change would come "slowly and incrementally" to North Korea as the use of mobile phones spread, and with it information. Google has already updated its maps of the country since Schmidt's visit using "citizen mappers" inputting information to its Mapmaker software.