[Air-L] CfP: “Changing cultures: cultures of change” - Barcelona, 10-12 December 2009

Richard Rogers rogers at govcom.org
Mon Mar 30 10:39:17 PDT 2009

“Changing cultures: cultures of change”

December 10-12, 2009, Barcelona


Across disciplines, topological or intensive approaches to the study  
of culture treat change as normal and
immanent rather than exceptional and externally determined.  In these  
approaches, cultures are defined by
the possibilities they offer for change rather than by their size,  
location or essence. These approaches thus
provide a set of tools and concepts to think about different levels  
and kinds of change – learning,
transmission, innovation, adaptation, self-organisation and  
evolution.  This conference asks: what is the
potential of topological and other intensive approaches to culture and  
space for thinking about change? It
explores the value of thinking about culture as a privileged site or  
mechanism for change, but it also asks
how and why the question of change is being posed in relation to  
culture today. This question is especially
important at a time when calculation and complex technical systems  
have become ubiquitous elements of
human life, in specialised sites of scientific enquiry and in everyday  
life. In contemporary society, numbers
do not just describe but they construct and – in topological thinking  
- take on virtual properties, building
abstract spaces of calculation and opening up the possibility of new  
perspectives on the questions of cultural
predictability and innovation.

What are the tools, techniques and artifacts of thinking topologically  
about cultural change? What spaces do
they make? How can the current development of a material culture of  
topological thinking be taken into
account, reflexively, as a research topic? What are the cultural  
implications of the growth of technical
systems, quantitative calculation and ideas and procedures concerned  
with number, counting, and logic, the
increase in lists and registers, and the rise of logistics, of  
innovations in thinking about linkages and
technologies of address, and the combination and organization of these  
operations into systems in everyday
life? What kinds of engagement are adequate to the task of thinking  
and acting in response?

Finally, the conference will also address issues of method, and in  
particular examine the current interest in
the use of quantitative methods to investigate and understand  
qualitative change. Can anything – or
everything – be measured in numbers? What role do modeling, simulation  
and experimentation have in the
study of culture? How can we understand cultures of quantification?  
What are the implications of studying
culture for the uses and meanings of numbers?

Speakers will be drawn from across the humanities and the social and  
natural sciences, from architecture,
design, mathematics, physics, biology, medicine and AI, with plenary  
presentations from Rosi Braidotti,
Manuel DeLanda, J. Doyne Farmer, Matthew Fuller, Alex Galloway, Penny  
Harvey, Scott Lash, Richard
Rogers, Luc Steels, Eyal Weizmann.

Participants are invited to explore these questions in relation to  
four broad areas of cultural change, though
other domains are not excluded:

Media – networks, digital methods, interface, algorithm, ubiquity,  
emergency, trash and spam,
identification, communication and interaction
Markets – models, probability, crisis, performance, devices, cultures  
of quantification, noise,
Migration – movement, state spaces and spaces of passibility, lines  
and borders, flows, blocks and
Mind – consciousness, language, the human, imitation and evolution.

There will be special events for industry and policymakers, with a  
focus on social and cultural trends,
different ways to think about predictability and the management of  
cultural change, in relation to processes
of innovation.

There will also be special events from graduate students, with an  
opportunity to participate in a training
workshop. Further information about these events will be announced on  
ATACD website

The deadline for paper submissions to the conference is Thursday 28  
May 2009. Abstracts with a max
length of 300 words will need to be submitted online in text only  
format (no diagrams, tables or graphs are
permitted). Full instructions for online submission can be found on  
the Conference home page at:

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