Sunday, December 19, 2004

Three days ago, it was (I was) 100F (38C). Now I'm in Chicago and this morning it is 5F (-15C) with a thin crust of icy snow on the ground. Now that's supermodernity. The seasons reverse.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The airport in Perth. It doesn't feel supermodern to me. A woman cries into a phone to my right. Straight ahead, the rows and rows of cheap booze look maudlin. And already I'm missing the intensity of sun, the intensity of collaboration here in Australia. It all feels kind of sentimental, actually.


Friday, December 10, 2004

My mini-tour of Australia continues. I'm now in Perth, Western Australia, at the CSAA conference at Murdoch University. It's about 35 degrees today, so relatively cool. No clouds. Animals named quokkas. Snake alerts in the campus hallways. Strangeness everywhere. For example, there are papers on sweat, the politics of male body hair, and blogging (but its a cultural studies conference; we expect nothing less strange). Jean, Jane, Melissa and I gave our papers yesterday and our panel went really well. A lot of people especially appreciated the ways in which our papers were engaged with each other, which is gratifying, as we prepared this panel via email for the better part of 9 months. It's a nice model, we think, especially compared to panels which get organised by the conference under general rubrics like "Queer" or "Gender," where the papers are sometimes not only non relevant to one another, but sometimes un-usefully interfere with one another. It made the question session afterwards feel cohesive--productive for us and the audience. We're hoping, as a next stage of work together, to publish our papers as a collection of some sort.

For INCITE's interests, Ben Highmore gave a really nice keynote address this morning on design, where he highlighted the ways in which the designed world acts upon bodies, homes, and cultural practices generally. He took carpet, radio and teapots as case studies, and in historicising their emergence (which has resonances with my paper, w/r/t points of emergence for new technologies), produced interesting observations like, for example: the introduction of carpets to homes contributed to furniture being made which sat closer to the floor (which was now softer and nicer to sit on). He follows this trajectory of analysis in looking at the designed world, tracing the effects of design. Nice work, and historical, which always makes me a bit weak in the knees, especially in relation to new media and technology, where the historical is so ofter preterit.

Another day of conference to go. Then a few days of rest in Perth, and I begin the journey home on the 15th.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

INCITE is hosting the event: Postgraduate Research Conference Technologies: Studies and Strategies tomorrow (9 Dec), organised by Kate Orton-Johnson and Steve Smith (both are members of INCITE. Kate has recently been granted her PhD and Steve is currently writing up his thesis.) Targeted at postgraduate students of sociology, cultural anthropology and related disciplines the conference will provide a forum to engage in discussions relating to research in and of online spaces. Here are the timetable and abstracts. We hope to place papers online over the next week or so.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Hello from Australia. I gave a talk yesterday at Queensland University of Technology, and met with people from ACID and CIRAC. Lots of interest all around in collaboration and in extra-academic collaborations specifically.

Oh, and Melissa and Jean would like me to remind everyone of how great they are.

I'm in Syndey now with Jane Simon, so I've now met all of the panelists and I'm even more excited about the four of us working together.