AIE | 2018

Affects, Interfaces, Effects


We are witnessing a need within the humanities to rethink existing theoretical and analytic frameworks based primarily on representation, narration and linguistics to better accommodate the affective forms of sensation, intensified with the proliferation of digital technologies, social media and global media events. This conference proposes a frame for exploring the affective modulations effectuated by electronic and digital interfaces on a cultural, aesthetic and political level.

In a contemporary culture, interfacial relations on social media (Skype calls, chats etc.) are indeed felt as a new form of apparatus (dispositif, Foucualt) aiming to mold discourses and patterns of the everyday by way of feed-back and -forward procedures of data. Data tracing and archiving give access to dividual patterns of behaviour, taste and preferences in everything including sexual and political orientation – even mediatized in real time. We have no easy access to understanding numerical coding and archiving processes of data, and our approach to the question ‘what generates meaning in data' is even more inferior. Representational meaning in systems of signification connected to the decoding of texts, images and culturally coded signs are no longer sufficient. Data feed procedures have replaced representational and rational (cause-effect related) access to how meaning is generated, that once enabled classical forms of critique. Meanwhile physical and mental data of the body’s pulse, metabolism, cerebration etc. – hitherto out of reach for a critical stance – have become applicable and accessible to a bio-political governmentality. Standing at the threshold between two systems of discourse – on the one hand a representational sign system and on the other, a signaletic material of networked data – this conference is framed to take a closer look at interfaces as a ‘folding between looking from the outside and a feeling from the inside’ (cf. Munster). In this context, studying the interface as an apparatus should also positively include the forms of affects and events that are produced, distributed and encountered by way of interfaces. Power relations can twist and turn, bifurcate and draw unforeseen lines of affinity, attunements and crowding – to make change possible.    

Conference information

  • Conference date
    August 29th - 30th 2018

  • PhD seminar
    August 28th 2018

  • Venue
    Aarhus, Denmark