• the embodied materiality of digital cultures

    “Visible and mobile, my body is a thing among things; it is caught in the fabric of the world” –Merleau-Ponty

    My body is “visible, and mobile;” it also hears, tastes, touches, interacts, and can be sedentary and blind at times. It is “a thing among things,” one object among many, “caught in fabric of the world.”  To be caught is to be contained; the world is always already in motion, ready to enfold, envelope, enframe; always already producing, doing, learning, reconfiguring, erasing, removing, unbecoming; filled with potentiality and change.

    The ‘fabric of the world’ invites texture and color, rhythm and weaving, resistance and movement; the haptic senses are fully incorporated in the body’s interactions within space and time.

    How then can this texture, this materiality, this haptic fabric of space and our very physical bodies be rendered in a digital space? How do raced and gendered and sexualized inequities get carried over wholesale to digital spaces? What are the possibilities for an inclusive digitally embodied materiality that allows and embraces self-expression at the margins while also allowing information about bodies to be useful at meta-levels? How can this be defined at a systems level in order to create an inclusive practice for digital culture creation?

    I’m interested in a discursive digitally embodied materiality- how can we think about information differently when designing databases? What current best practices might be tweaked to enable meaning at the level of personal meaning for the user, while still providing meaningful data at other levels of granularity? What standards do we take for granted, and what would the center look like if we designed for the margins?

    keywords: systems, categories, classifications, standards, best practices, database design, discursive materiality, queerness, marginality

2 Comments


  1. Profile photo of wendyhsu wendyhsu says:

    Totally psyched to discuss this with you in person. I’m happy to see a session proposal that addresses the question of power (along race, gender, sexuality axes) at THATcamp as I study the formation of a digital social terrain of a raced (and in some respect, the liberation from that which racializes) community.

  2. Profile photo of Jason Farman Jason Farman says:

    I agree with Wendy. This is a great idea, Jarah, and I’d love to have a session around these ideas!

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