Glitches and Ghosts - An Interdisciplinary Conference - 17th April

deadline for submissions: 
February 17, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Lancaster University
contact email: 

Glitches are moments of disruption; they represent the exposure of technical process, moving away from the binaries of input and output to consider what comes in-between. The growing ubiquity of interconnected systems prompts a desire to understand such intangible networks around the user, an attempt to try and engage with these digital phenomena as alternate forms of ‘presence’ that cannot help but recourse to anthropocentric terms – virus, cloud, render ghost. The frequent ethereality of such language attempts to visualise, embody, and comprehend the profusion of technical systems that we share the atmosphere with, their very terming gesturing to their spectral protrusion into, ostensibly, ‘our’ reality. The eruption of pixels, voxels, and glitches haunts our peripheral vision, a deceptive representation of a far more intangible sphere.

‘Glitches and Ghosts’ seeks to diagnose and analyse contemporary cultural fascinations with the emergence of these digital artefacts, and how their spectral presence has come to define our current technological moment. This symposium aims to bring together researchers who are enticed by the prospect of re-conceptualising definitions of digital-based ontologies as a paradigm to engage with an era of technophobic anxieties and technophilic domination.

We are delighted to announce Dr. Will Slocombe as our keynote. Will’s research ranges between various aspects of twentieth and twenty-first century literature, focusing primarily on Science Fiction (particularly representations of Artificial Intelligence), Postmodernism, and metafictions of experimental literature. His upcoming book Emergent Patterns: Artificial Intelligence and the Structural Imagination is due out in 2019.

We welcome abstracts for 20 minute papers which engage with the confluence of glitches and ghosts within any medium or form. Suggested topics include:

• Digital art – glitch aesthetics, pixels, voxels, drone shadows, distortion etc.
• Détournement and system subversion – e.g. hacker ‘heroes’ and neoliberal dissent.
• Technophobia – network alienation and technological anxieties.
• Glitch and/or ghosts in music – synthwave, sampling, remixes, etc.
• Cloud spectrality, unseen network presences and how we visualise them.
• Ghosts in the machine, electronic voice phenomenon, white noise etc.
• Render ghosts, digital advertising and the disruption of imagined ontologies.
• Doppelgangers, sample image databases and the ‘ownership’ of personal data.
• Unshackled virtual consciousness, e.g. A.I. and the breaking of constraints.
• Disruption of the virtual – glitches, bugs, cheats and other subversions.
• Digital spectres - eternal or lingering existence within the network.
• Viral anxieties and data transmission; conceptualisations of network ‘presence’.
• Secular digitalities, virtual ‘gods’ or spirits and ontological transcendence.
• Permanence and/or ephemerality of data, system collapse and user anxiety.
• Creative practice and the deployment of glitches and/or ghosts within media.
• Remixed ontologies, disruption of identity boundaries and bricolage forms.
• Omnipresent networks, ‘invasive’ devices (i.e. Alexa) and disconnection.
• Machine learning and emergent behaviour from algorithmic structures.

Please submit a 300 word abstract to with a 50 word bio-note by 17th February
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