What does it mean to speak about digital culture today, and what are the implications of the term post-digital? The conference takes afterglow as a metaphor for the present condition of digital culture, examining the geopolitical, infrastructural and bodily consequences of the excessive digitisation that has taken place over the course of the last three decades. These topics have been divided into three streams that each reflect a different aspect of digital culture in the afterglow: An Afterglow of the Mediatic, chaired by Jussi Parikka and Ryan Bishop of the Winchester School of Art, focuses on the materiality of the digital from a geopolitical and geophysical perspective; Hashes to Ashes, chaired by Tatiana Bazzichelli, reflects on the strategic infrastructure of the digital and the backdoors behind the glossy surface of connectivity; Will you be my TRASHURE?, chaired by Francesco Warbear Macarone Palmieri and Katrien Jacobs, speaks about the body of the digital, and its implication on identity, sexuality and pleasure as a way to reflect on politics and culture.
Following afterglow as a deep twilight moment of the digital, the conference identifies the ‘dust’ that is suspended inside its slowly fading glossy surface as the waste product from which we can begin to understand the relations between technology and society in new ways. The digital has always been a classic case where what is central to existence, waste, is being pushed out to the margins. In the waking up from the ‘digital hangover’ we find ourselves in the midst of critical issues such as the corrupt ecology of technological resources (minerals, metals and e-waste), mass surveillance, excessive big data schemes and the post-digital lives that these phenomena impacts on a daily basis. By dealing with these intersecting issues, the conference programme attempts to catch some of the burning topics inside the afterglow of the digital as a moment of transition where what was once thought to be treasure is turning into trash. In this way, afterglow becomes a post-digital moment of reflection from which it is possible to develop new transversal critiques and practices that cut across different cultural fields.
The streams have been developed by Tatiana Bazzichelli and Kristoffer Gansing in close cooperation with the chairs of each particular section.
*We are grateful for the generous support of the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung) for our conference programme as well as to our conference partner institution, Winchester School of Art (WSA), for the stream An Afterglow of the Mediatic.