MiT8 Reflections/ End of Semester

I should have written this post a few days ago, but I seem to be in a state of semi-exhaustion the past week. I’m finishing up my finals and looking forward to a few days off, but as with the end of every semester, I seem to have forgotten how to jump and am stumbling through the final hurdles.

Media In Transition 8 was a very enjoyable conference – I took the train up last Friday, dropped my bag off at the hotel and went immediately to the opening proceedings. I was really impressed with the way the organizers had stacked so many compelling sessions throughout the day, which really made it difficult to choose where to go and what to attend. There were a lot of familiar themes, if you’re paying attention to the current trends in media research and work – surveillance, algorithms, big data, “spreadability” and “oversharing.” I personally enjoyed the more “transgressive” concepts discussed in panels on activism, pirate politics and counterpublics. Some of the presenters I was really impressed with include Christobal Garcia’s network analysis of the Chilean Student Movement, Thomas Poell’s work on media activism and representation, and Patrick Burkart and Martin Fredriksson work on pirate politics and what someone termed “liquid democracy.” I have so many notes to yet dig through…

I was also very happy to present along with Luis BohorquezCarlotta Cossutta & Arianna Mainardi, and Tom Pettitt, in a session the organizers dubbed “Media Spheres” which wound up having a great deal more to do with a reconstituted sense of self via our relationships in network society than public sphere stuff. Cossutta and Mainardi were talking about subverting surveillance and reconstructing alternative expressions of the self, Bohorquez talked about finding a sense of home and belonging in a highly mediated community, and Pettitt (a medievalist at a media studies conference) gave us a historical context for the changing perception of self and what he calls the “Gutenberg Parenthesis,” something that really interested me and I am still processing mentally – I feel it somehow relates to ecology and anti-androcentrism, two things I am very interested in.

Unfortunately I seem to have lost my business card holder where I was storing all the contacts I made at the conference… very frustrating, since there were a great deal of very insightful people I met! So if we bumped into each other, feel free to reach out.

I would write more about my own work, but I’ll save that for when I’ve collected my thoughts – several weeks ago I finalized my thesis proposal which was accepted (far as I know!) and I’ll be working on it over the summer and this fall. My earlier post on the Yackathon Hackathon shows how I was able to complete a PAR-styled event or exercise and was incredibly useful for my research… but also needs to be fully processed still!

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