Call for Papers & Creative Works CODE - A Media, Games & Art Conference. 21-23 November 2012

Call for Papers & Creative Works CODE - A Media, Games & Art Conference. 21-23 November 2012



Call for Papers and Creative Works

CODE - A Media, Games & Art Conference

21-23 November 2012

Swinburne University of Technology

Melbourne, Australia



Jussi Parikka ? Reader, Winchester School of Art

Christian McCrea ? Program Director for Games, RMIT University

Anna Munster ? Associate Professor at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW



Code is the invisible force at the heart of contemporary media and

games, routinely obscured by the gadget fetish of breathless tech

marketing and scholarly focus on more visible social and technical

interfaces. With the recent material turn in media studies and the

refinement of new approaches including software studies and platform

politics, which emphasise interrogating the formal characteristics and

underlying technical architecture of contemporary media, the time has

come to bring code out into the open.


Code can be defined in two distinct but related ways: as an underlying

technological process, a set of rules and instructions governing, for

instance, the permutations of all those 0s and 1s obscured behind user

interfaces, but also as a cultural framework navigated and understood

socially and performatively, as is the case with legal, social and

behavioural codes. As an operative principle, code?s significance thus

extends far deeper than its current digital manifestation. For this

conference, we invite submissions of papers and creative works that

consider the role of code as a simultaneously material and semiotic

force that operates across the wider cultural, social and political

field, with particular emphasis on media, games and art.


The conference theme is also an opportunity to reflect on how, as

academics and creative practitioners, we often participate in but can

also challenge the disciplinary and institutional codes that can

arbitrarily separate these domains. CODE will be a transdisciplinary

event that brings media studies, media arts and games studies into

dialogue through individual papers, combined panels, master classes and

an included exhibition.



We welcome submissions related to any aspect of code in all its

diversity. Possible considerations might include, but are not limited



- Code and the in/visible: what are the technical, ideological and

academic aspects that work to obscure codes? And what might be the

strategies for making codes visible again? Topics: ?screen

essentialism? (Kirschenbaum 2008); race and/as technology (Chun 2009);

glitch and error; programming activism; DIY coding; game exploits.


- Code and/as ideology: as something that both carries and obscures

meaning, what is code?s relationship to ideology? Topics:

Black-boxing; the fetish of visualisation (Chun 2011); ?there is no

software? (Kittler 2005); code as social frame; encoding/decoding.


- Coding the disciplines: media and games studies. How do these closely

related disciplinary formations account for their existence? What

epistemological and methodological insights might they share or

contribute to one another, perhaps through emergent fields like software

studies and platform politics? Or should they remain distinct?


- The deeper history of code: as a principle of information exchange,

code?s centrality in media and communications technologies goes beyond

the digital. What is the role of code in the deeper history of media,

and what are the media archaeological resonances or links between

?old? and ?new? forms of code? Can their emergence often be

traced back to the military-industrial complex? Topics: Prehistory of

code; Morse code and semaphore; encryption and cryptography; cybernetics

and early computing; pre- and non-digital games.


- Code and the public/private: What are the historical, legislative,

technological and cultural settings for the emergence of ?public

privacy?, in which public signifying systems are vehicles for highly

personal messages? Topics: public, private and intimate spheres;

epistolary networks; social media; reality programming; celebrity;

geolocating identity, meaning and destination.


- ?Code and other laws of media?: the continuities and

discontinuities of different codes. Just as legal codes embedded in

technical protocols like digital rights management may disastrously

overextend copyright protections (Lessig 1999), how else do different

codes meet, overlap, extend and come into conflict with one another?

Topics: Copyright and intellectual property; distribution; technical,

legal, social and behavioural codes.


- Security codes: Though code often serves to secure and obscure

authority, it remains vulnerable to hacking, raising the spectre of a

whole new form of risk society operating at the level of code and

through its breaches and accidents ? how does this play out across

networked information, communication and entertainment environments?

Topics: phone hacking; Wikileaks; Anonymous and software-based protest;

gaming hacks and cracks; data theft.


- Code and agency: Interactive media, games, art and cultural practice

can all deal with the relationship between the interacting participant

and the coded system. What aesthetics and politics are at work when the

participant?s presumed agency and the coded constraints are in

tension? Topics: aesthetics of code-based media; interface; participant

experience; emergence/counter-play; proceduralism and performativity.


- Bodies in code: how do information and code, not only interfaces and

devices, reconfigure the social, political and corporeal body, and vice

versa? How might we conceptualise the materiality and ontology of code

in relation to phenomenologies of embodiment and new materialism?

Topics: post-humanism (Hayles 1999); new and vital materialism (Bennett

2010); genetics and other codes for the body; disembodiment and



- Failures of code: Much of code?s power lies in its invisibility, a

transparency that allows it to be embedded as the ?common sense? of

everyday life, but what happens when code fails, socially culturally,

politically or technologically, or is exploited? Topics: rules and

disobedience; comedy; subversion; disruption; revolution.


:: For further discussion, please view the conference website:



Code operates, as if by stealth, beneath the materiality of networked

media performances, software art, games, mobile apps, locative and

social media. But code also presents artists, performers and creative

practitioners with opportunities to construct innovative hybrid media

forms that can extend our understanding of contemporary art practice.

interactive media and augmented reality applications, artists have

arguably been at the forefront of innovation, adopting the language of

the computer to forge new creative frontiers. We invite contributions

that examine the creative potential of code, including but not limited

to, the implications of code for contemporary art/ists, code as art

and/or performance, code as avant-garde, virus and anti-art.


The CODE conference will include a thematic exhibition. We are seeking

submissions of screen-based works, pervasive games, and locative media

projects that respond to the conference themes. Projected and

performance works will also be considered.



- Individual 20 minute paper presentations: 300 word abstract.


- Panel submissions: panel submission should include three/four

individual abstracts of 300 words, a panel title, and a 200 words

rationale for the panel as a whole.


- Artists should submit a 250 word outline of the proposed creative

work including links to supporting documentation (10 stills or up to 3

minutes of video).


All submissions are due 31 May 2012 and should be emailed to


Please include your name, affiliation, contact details, and a brief



A special journal issue or edited collection on the conference theme is




- Conference website: registration information, venue, thematic discussion, reading list,



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