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Materiality Matters: Struggles with Digital Technology and the (em)body/i(ed)

[W]e too would endorse the necessity for the theoretically inclined to develop diverse new ways of foregrounding materialities and ontologies of immanence [and] … radically question modern–postmodern splits or the academic division of labour according to which ‘raw material’ nature is the task of science and existential speculation is for the humanities…Yet we cannot help but wonder what happened to connectivity, power-imbued codependencies …and other similar concepts for the formative topologies of force and power that cause us to materialise
—Asberg, Thiele & Van der Tuin 2015, 147, 148-149)

From big data to digital games, social media to online activism, digital media to e-commerce, evolving digital technologies have gained prominence over the last two decades in humanities, arts and social science research. The Critical Methods in Technoculture Seminars bring together an international collaboration of emerging scholars to activate a research agenda mobilizing critical communications scholarship and to develop a nuanced approach to incipient digital research methods across academic and professional disciplines. 

In this seminar, we ask the question: what is materiality in the digital era? Today, terms such as artifact, object, sculpture, clothing, found material and monument are newly brought into question. How do we think about the way in which ‘cutting edge' technologies today shape the methods we use for artistic and academic inquiry? The relationship between materialism and artificiality, digital technologies and the body, are constantly renegotiated, not just by genre but also by gender. So are relations of force and power, including those engendered by intersections of race, sexuality, positionality and class with gender. What do we mean by artificial, virtual or real, anyway? And what happens to the relationship between aesthetics and method in this context? 

During this roundtable, NSCAD faculty and graduate students talk about what it means—or could mean—to take up new understandings of materiality and the new explorations of methods that these require. Featuring: Bruce Barber, David Clark, Gary Markle, Kim Morgan and [graduate students to be confirmed]. 

Presented by The Fourchettes and hosted by NSCAD University, this seminar is one of a series on Critical Methods in Technoculture funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The seminars take place between September 2016 and March 2017 in Berlin (DE), Calgary, Halifax, Hamilton, Leicester (UK), London (UK), Los Angeles (US), Ottawa, Toronto. 

NSCAD Art Bar |1873 Granville Street | Monday, March 6, 2017 | 1:30 – 4 p.m. | Food and refreshments will be provided; to ensure we have enough, RSVP to


Earlier Event: February 23