CFP: Ordinary Media Symposium:
Always-On Formats, Genres, Aesthetics

Deadline for Abstracts: January 15th, 2017

The Ordinary Media Workshop at Northwestern University is proud to announce a year-end symposium to be held on May 18th and 19th in Evanston, Illinois. We invite abstracts of approximately 300 words on the subject of twenty-first century ordinary media, or art and experience after the smartphone. Keynotes will be delivered by Shaka McGlotten (SUNY Purchase) and Rita Raley (UC Santa Barbara).

How have artists, filmmakers, and writers working across media responded to the advent of always-on computing? No longer new, digital media technologies in the 21st century have become remarkably ordinary. Following Raymond Williams, the word ‘ordinary’ relates to its medieval cousin, ordination, or the process by which the rules of living pass from explicit decree to culture as such. In the digital age ordinariness undergoes a decisive mutation as it originates less and less from cultural superstructures and more and more from technological infrastructures: the often invisible and insensible domains of digital formats (.mp3, .flv, .gif, .mov, .pdf, .docx, etc.). The ubiquity of this condition coincides with three key events: the saturation of culture by smartphones and wireless networks, the emergence of social media, and the explosion of new networked genres of expression and behavior: emoji, animated .gifs, selfies, vaporwave, memes, hashtags, supercuts, gamification, sexting, ghosting, podcasting, commenting, sharing, speed running, searching, glitching, and liking— among many others.

This symposium examines the ways in which artistic expression provides a potent and reflexive means through which to assess the experiential and technological logics of the contemporary media landscape, which so often feels ordinary and so falls below the radar of conscious reflection. We invite papers, demos, and/or workshops addressing specific art projects across media engaging new networked genres and the cultural import of file formats in the context of always-on computing.

Please submit author bios and abstracts of approximately 300 words to by January 15th, 2017.