Digital Violence: a Symposium
Time & Location
About the Event
Digital Violence: a one-day symposium on digital violence, with keynotes by:
Professor Caetlin Benson-Allott, 'Whose Horror? Digital Violence and White Spectatorship'
Dr Debbie Ging & Dr Eugenia Siapera, 'The Politics of Digital Violence: Conceptual Paradoxes and Material Realities'
We live in an age where images of violence and violent exchanges proliferate and spread with unprecedented speed across multiple platforms. Graphic and disturbing images of violence—from viral videos of rape exchanged on Whatsapp, to the live streaming of fatal shootings on Facebook and Periscope—have become a staple of our digital condition. Similarly, resurgent forms of racialized, misogynistic, and homophobic violence are routinely documented, decried, or simply shrugged off as the ‘new normal’ of contemporary media culture.
While much attention is paid to the content of such encounters, and alarms sounded about the nature of our access and exposure to them, less concerted critical effort has been directed towards thinking specifically about how the technological affordances of networked media feed into and amplify this culture of violence. And yet, as Lisa Nakamura reminds us in relation to the viral racism that abounds on post-digital platforms, digital violence is always both ‘a product and a process’: the very real impact of violence in a digital age needs therefore to be traced through the often obscure, invisible, or simply mundane operations that both produce and sustain it (Nakamura 2014: 260). Following on from Wendy Chun’s more recent contention that ‘our media matter most when they seem not to matter at all,’ how might we re-frame our understanding of violence as inhering in (banal and often unconscious) habits, in contrast to more common-sense notions of violence as a spectacular affective disruption of the status quo (Chun 2016: 1; 13)?
This one-day symposium on Digital Violence seeks to theorize both the concrete forms of violence that proliferate and spread through our networked screens, and the complex processes that structure violence in a post-digital attention ecology. What are the social and cultural logics that underpin everyday instances of violence? In what specific ways have these cultural understandings been shaped by technological processes of mediation? Similarly, there is a vital need for scholars to identify uses of media, which might expose, critique, or appropriate violence in its various forms. What critical or creative practices of archiving, excavation, and uncovering are needed to unearth and engage violence in a digital age?