CFP: [Computing-Internet] A Spectatorial Turn of Digital Indexicality (SCMS - 10 Aug 2008; 21-24 May 2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Seung-hoon Jeong
contact email:

Recent demonstrations in Korea against the government’s US beef import
deal have yielded the “Web 2.0” generation. So-called “Broadcasting
Jockey (BJ)s” have connected their camcorders to their laptops on the
spot, so that live events can be immediately transferred to the internet,
interfacing “netizens” with every detail that mainstream media miss,
omit, and distort. Netizens in turn have reproduced and distributed these
images through various interfaces, often prompting other viewers to rush
to the streets. The government has tried in vain to stigmatize these
anonymous, amorphous activists as anti-US leftists, when their concern
over communal life has been less political than ethical.

Such a real-time collective witness to, and bodily engagement in, the
actual and virtual “agoras” urges us to revisit “indexicality.” This
notion has traditionally privileged the celluloid over digital image,
where the latter could be reviewed not in terms of its production
(immateriality; manipulability), but in terms of revamped spectatorship
(optical indication; physical participation). A digital image is, then,
a “digit” that enhances both information and immersion; an “index”
enabled by that higher degree of “interfaciality” to indicate an
object/event with a greater degree of immediacy. Thus, the more digital
images there are, the more digits to index them, to reshuffle and
rearrange image-interfaces, as our fingers touch keyboard and mouse.

With all of this in mind, this panel pursues new approaches to what can
be called “digital indexicality,” by (1) shifting the focus from the
presence/representation of an object to the subject’s indication
to/participation in it, from the ontology of image to the sociology of
interface; and (2) thereby examining how it produces a new (collective)
subjectivity highly dependent on an interfaciality which underlies and
(re)frames subject and object with a rapid turnover. Possible topics are,
but not limited to:

- Theory: reexamining/retracing indexicality and its relation to
subjectivity (modern discourse on photography, phenomenology of
embodiment, interface aesthetics, etc); readdressing (collective)
subjectivity and its relationship to “societies of discipline”
vs. “societies of control” (Foucault, Deleuze); “the political vs. the
ethical” (Lyotard, Agamben, Rancière, Žižek, etc)

- Cinema: video hand-works that invoke the digital (Godard, Farocki,
etc); contemporary films that depict the use of digital indices as a key
act for organizing subjectivity (e.g. Minority Report); installation arts
based on the cinematic (digital) apparatus (with issues of interactivity,
information, immersion, etc)

- Society: digital identification systems (fingerprinting, touch screen,
surveillance camera, etc); “collective intelligence” and its activation
through internet-based new media; a new journalism conflating actual and
virtual public spheres

Please submit 300-400 word proposals (with short bios) by August 10 to
Seung-hoon Jeong (

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Received on Wed Jul 09 2008 - 20:21:59 EDT

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