[Update] SCMS Panel Proposal: Communal Interactions with Cyber Connectivity Outside the Home

full name / name of organization: 
Brandon Arroyo | Concordia University

This is a proposal for a panel that is to take place at:
Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference
March 6-10, 2013
Chicago, IL

Regarding the academic discourse on what particular space the internet inhabits in our everyday lives, there seems to be two divergent camps which continually widen an increasingly difficult to bridge chasm. On one side there is the idea that the websites, blogs and forums that make up the web produce their own unique kind of "social space, one that fruitfully confounds the ordering conventions of our physical space" (Saco, 2002. Also see Nakamura, 2007). While another perspective claims that the internet and new media technologies we consume within a physical space are only experienced as a redundant "translation of all existing media into numerical data accessible through computers" (Manovich, 20, 2001. Also see Hilderbrand 2007). While each is an intriguingly perceptive observation, the first line of thinking struggles to articulate how cyber culture becomes particularly manifested within our physical realm, and the latter does not account for the unique way in which watching 'old' media on a new media device can radically change our attentiveness based on the physical locale where we choose to watch it. This panel's aim is to situate itself directly within the chasm created by these two formations of internet space and reception by contemplating the multitude of ways in which internet images are negotiated within the physical spaces we inhabit in our everyday lives.

We no longer use the internet while chained to a desktop in our bed room. Moving image internet culture is utilized in a multitude of venues, including our communal work space, bars, clubs, stores, wifi-enabled transportation, public libraries and anywhere a smartphone receives mobile internet service. And even if we use the internet in these public venues to watch movies or television not created specifically for internet consumption, it is important to remember Wendy Chun's assertion that film scholars too readily assume that the internet and new media moving images "[have] an all-engrossing visual impact": "Fiber-optic networks, however, both enable and frustrate this all-pervasive visuality: visuality, the camera, and the gaze are effects" (2006, 124). This is why the panel invites papers dealing with the multitude of moving image effects related to communal interactions with cyber connectivity outside the home. A healthy engagement with both the image text, and its contextualization within its environment are appreciated.

Dr. Sharif Mowlabocus has already agreed to be a part of the panel. He is going to be presenting a paper on sex offender apps and how information about such offenders shifts once it moves from desktop webpage information to a mobile app.

Other potential paper topics include, but are not limited to:

-How are social gatherings of racial minorities effected by smartphone apps and social networking sites which have been created and developed mostly by white males? Especially since data shows that teenage racial minorities, percentagewise, consume more smartphone data than their white counterparts.

-Analyzing legislation related to public internet use in places like the library or internet cafes.

-The different ways that light emitting from smartphone apps changes the social dynamics of dark spaces like clubs and movie theaters.

-How does internet culture market itself to, and for, public venues? For instance: within a pornographic context, internet company Channel 1 Releasing marketing tapes to club and bar owners to show on their television sets: http://www.c1r.com/clubchannel1#order. Or a gay hook-up website, Bear411, installing computer stations in gay bars around Montreal.

-Negotiating the accessibility of pornographic viewing in formally imagined non-sexual locales, like church, work and public transport.

-Spaces within spaces. What new sub spaces or communities are created by public internet use within already established spaces or communities?

-What happens when public institutions co-opt internet aesthetics? For instance: http://www.artsjournal.com/aestheticgrounds/2007/02/public_art_of_momas_...

-What effect does mapping our own spaces through FourSquare, Facebook and Google Maps change our notions of cartography and crowd sourced knowledge?

Please send up to a 500 word abstract with at least 3 bibliographic references and a brief biographical note to Brandon Arroyo at, barroyo@alcor.concordia.ca by August 1, 2012. Selections for the panel will be made by August 7, 2012. Also, be aware that sending an abstract, and especially having an abstract accepted, indicates that you wholeheartedly intend to attend the 2013 SCMS conference in Chicago in April.

Good luck, and thanks in advance for your submissions. They are greatly appreciated!