[email protected] International Colloquium:
#PCond | The Participatory Condition

[email protected] International Colloquium:
#PCond | The Participatory Condition


Keynote Speakers, The Participatory Condition: N. Katherine Hayles (Duke University), Bernard Stiegler (Institut de Recherche et d’Innovation, Centre Pompidou), Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Antimodular Research). Photographs: Creative/Wikimedia Commons. Design by Conor Prendergast.
October 21, 2013
[email protected]/* */ International Colloquium: #PCond | The Participatory Condition

November 15–16, 2013

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
185, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest
Montreal (Qc) Canada



Speakers: Bart Cammaerts, Nico Carpentier, Julie Cohen, Mia Consalvo, Kate Crawford, Christina Dunbar-Hester, Rudolf Frieling, N. Katherine Hayles, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Jason E. Lewis and Skawennati, Geert Lovink, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Graham Pullin, Trebor Scholz, Christopher Soghoian, Bernard Stiegler, T.L. Taylor, Jillian York

Contemporary societies have been increasingly mobilized by the relational principle of “participation.” Although expectations about participation in matters of citizenship can be traced back to Aristotle, and while participation is certainly not exclusive to digital media, its generalization is concomitant with the development of new media from the 1990s until today. The expansion of participation as a relational principle has become manifest in the variety of fields that participation embraces, including: participatory democracy (from representative to direct democracies); citizen journalism; social media communication; networking; open sourcing; hacktivism; the development of online communities; videogaming and the elaboration of virtual game worlds; intelligent design and architecture; and collaborative art. Participation is not only a notion and a set of practices, but mostly the promise and expectation that one can be actively involved with others in decision-making processes that affect the evolution of social bonds, communities, systems of knowledge and organizations, as well as politics and culture. Tied to this promise and belief, as well as to the structures of the media technologies that appear to increasingly facilitate participation (Internet forums, blogs, wikis, podcasts, intelligent phones, etc.), is the possibility of communication and social change, but also the impossibility of their ultimate realization, insofar as participation is as much a desire as it is a rhetoric, a habit and a preprogrammed behaviour. This tension—between the promises and impasses of participation, its hopes and disappointments, illusions and recuperation—is at the forefront of recent social, cultural and political assessments of participation in relation to new media.

Drawing from research in the fields of social sciences, communication and media studies, law, ethnography, philosophy, education, game studies, cognitive sciences, literature, art, design and curatorship, The Participatory Condition critically probes the inherent participatory nature attributed to media, and unearths other forms of participation that might be obscured by excessive promises of digital utopia. Regrouping key contributors of interdisciplinary scholarship on participation and new media, the colloquium seeks to assess the role of new media in the development of a principle—participation—whose expansion has become so large as to represent the very condition of our contemporaneity. It also proposes to disclose its “in-between” status—a relational practice that is potentially meaningful in its production of connectedness, democratization and open access, yet which remains vulnerable to problematic processes of commodification, disconnectedness, over-expectations from its users, as well as passivity, privacy theft, and even violence.

Colloquium Committee: Darin Barney, Gabriella Coleman, Christine Ross, Jonathan Sterne, Tamar Tembeck

Information, registration and livestream: www.pcond.ca

To complement colloquium activities, [email protected] is hosting a free, non-credited Participatory Open Online Course (POOC) from October 15 to December 6. Registration: www.pcond.ca/pooc

[email protected] is a hub of research, scholarship and public outreach on issues and controversies in media, technology and culture, housed within the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University: www.media.mcgill.ca

[email protected] Colloquium Partners: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; Dean of Arts Development Fund, Department of Art History and Communication Studies Speaker Series, Canada Research Chair in Technology and Citizenship, James McGill Chair in Contemporary Art History, Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy, Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, McGill University; Hexagram-Concordia, Concordia University

RSVP for [email protected]/* */ International Colloquium: #PCond |…
October 21, 2013

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