Digital Bodies, Virtual Characters, Man-Machine Hybrids, Simulated ‘Humans’, Androids, and Cyborgs

My friend Andy Miah is helping to promote an upcoming conference he will likely be presenting at on the topics of digital bodies, virtual characters, man-machine hybrids, simulated ‘humans’, androids, and cyborgs. That makes it sound more like a SciFi convention that an academic symposium, but I assure you that these guys don’t take this stuff lightly. The conference is being put on by the University of Belfast School of Art and Design and the Braunschweig School of Art Institute of Media Research. One question I had after reading over the call for papers below is, why are these guys talking about and studying MUDs instead of MMPORPGs?

Call For Papers
Hybrid Identities in Digital Media
Vol 11, no 4, Winter 2005
Digital bodies, virtual characters, man-machine hybrids, simulated ‘humans’, androids, and cyborgs
Guest-edited by Kerstin Mey and Yvonne Spielmann

The focus of the special issue:

While digitally constructed identities have entered the popular media environment through fiction film, television, and computer games, where they have homogenising effects on the viewer/user that do not encourage them to question or critically look at the cultural concept of ‘hybridity’, we find that in experimental fields of creative practices (arts, youth cultures, and other groups) the challenge lies in the articulation of individual features that are appropriate to specific needs and express – through diversity – reflections on the hybrid, increasingly interactive and virtual production in digital media. The common interest here seems to lie in the expression of virtual selves that abandon the pre-fabricated products of cinema, television, computer games, and so on.

We encourage a discussion of the following: In what way does the construction of hybrid identities in digital media arts and cultural practices have an effect on:

* new role models (of behaviour, action)
* innovative ways of identification (participation, interaction, communication)
* new ways of collaborative experience (through multiple user interfaces, MUDs)
* novel ways of self-reflection (of role models, ethic/gender/social patterns)
* new ways of self-representation (public/private spaces).

Copy deadline for refereed research articles: 1 April 2005

All proposals, inquiries and submissions for this special issue to:

Yvonne Spielmann
Braunschweig School of Art
Institute of Media Research
Johannes-Selenka-Platz 1
38118 Braunschweig
tel: +49 (0)531 2810728
fax: +49 (0)531 2810713

Kerstin Mey
School of Art and Design
University of Belfast
York Street
Belfast BT15 1ED
Northern Ireland, UK
tel: +44 (0)28 9026 7258
fax: +44 (0)28 9026 7310

Submission details: Two hard copies and one electronic copy (Macintosh Word compatible) of all articles should be sent to the guest editors with the following information attached separately: name, institution and address for correspondence, telephone, fax and email address. Papers should be typed on one side of the sheet with endnotes in accordance with the MLA style sheet. Authors should also enclose a 50 word biography and an abstract.