"Paying Attention" concerns the politics, ethics and aesthetics of the attention economy. This is the social and technical milieu in which web native generations live much of their lives. It will address key questions like: What architectures of power are at work in the attention economy? How is it building new structures of experience? What kinds of value does this architecture produce? "Paying Attention" encourages dialogue between researchers from the fields of Cultural and New Media Studies, Education, Communications, Economics, Internet studies, Human Computer Interface Studies, Art and Design. It also seeks the input and insights of creative practitioners exploring critical and alternative uses of new media forms and technologies.
Through an ever-burgeoning technical apparatus of surveying, data mining and internet search-tailoring the attention of individual minds is estimated, costed, marketed, bought and sold. The "attention economy" is enabled by technologies like Google’s web-crawler and search algorithms and agents and all kinds of metadata production. The dominance of this mode of conceiving and calculating attention, above all that of the young, can be seen to be bearing fruit in many national, regional and global phenomena. The traditional values of the public sphere are unmistakably reshaped though these processes.
"Paying Attention" is also interested in how practices such as videogaming, P2P Filesharing, pervasive media experimentation, and mobile phone activism create detours, reinventions and reimaginings of the cultural program to which younger generations are recruited. While there is a concerted effort to commercialise and exploit these spaces according to the demands of the global media industries, web 2.0’s reorientation of social communication practices remains charged with an indeterminate techno-cultural potential which the conference seeks to explore.
Applications are invited for research paper contributions on any subject relevant to the conference’s aims. These may include the areas listed below to indicate the broad scope of relevant topics or subjects. The conference also seeks through its poster section contributions of an experimental kind from digital media artists and developers that engage with the conference theme of attention and experiential design in critical and/or creative ways. These may take the form of demos, animatics, ethical or critical design projects, installation treatments or concepts in progress. These will form a major part of the program as key elements in the articulation of viable technocultural futures. We will be seeking submissions that can engage and develop the themes of the event through the summer of 2010 through the online community of conference delegates. Practice based researchers should apply under the poster programme using the 400 word abstract to describe their plans for the event.
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