Blog Post

Presentations from the Association for Integrative Studies (AIS) conference.

Last semester, I was on a HASTAC panel at the AIS conference (at the U. of Alabama). The panel was moderated by Julie Klein (a canonical figure in the field of interdisciplinarity studies), and I presented along with two brilliant scholars: Chris Hanson and John Jones. The conference was an incredibly valuable experience that gave me a new appreciation for the field of interdisciplinarity studies.

As someone who's jumped between humanities, social sciences, and the arts, I'd often used the term interdisciplinarity without fully understanding the body of research behind this concept. Likewise, I didn't have a full awareness of the trailblazing work that scholars like Julie and her colleagues performed -- work which laid the groundwork for the institutional acceptance of interdisciplinary scholarship and made cross-fertilized institutional homes, like HASTAC, possible.

For the panel, John Jones spoke about the relationship between code and body (connecting the notion of writing as cyborg-prosthesis to the textual embodiment of status updates in facebook and twitter). His talk integrated (1) Adam Greenfield's ideas about network technologies, (2) Edwin Hutchins's observations about distributed cognition, and (3) Donna Haraway's understanding of the relationship between body and text, to argue for the notion of the status message as a kind of cyborg tracing.

Julie provided us with flipcams to record the event, and Chris shot the video of John's talk (below).

John Jones speaking at AIS conference from Joshua McVeigh-Schultz on Vimeo.

Chris Hanson presented on the central role of repetition in learning and game-play and provided a fascinating close reading of the game Braid by Jonathan Blow. His talk connected the philosophical underpinnings of 'repetition' to its central role in game studies and theories of learning. He talked about how Braid's unique spatiotemporal universes foreground the sort of iterative learning through variation-within-repetition that is at the heart of productive play

Braid trailer from David Hellman on Vimeo.

I spoke about a project called Synaptic Crowd a collaborative interview tool that enables online participants to conduct live interviews remotely. (This project is something that I designed in collaboration with a developer named Brian Alexakis as part of my MFA thesis at UC Santa Cruz.) In my talk, I discussed the role of Joseph Walther's 'hyper-personal effect' as key to understanding the jostling of subject positions that occurs when audiences are mediated as agents in public interviews.

synaptic crowd documentation (shorter edit) from Joshua McVeigh-Schultz on Vimeo.


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