Taking a Pass on Unstable Platforms at MiT7

Logo for Media in Transition 7 conference at MIT

I didn’t make a proposal, as is my want, so I won’t be presenting at Media in Transition 7 conference in May. The ambitious side of my inner voice said go for it, but the realist in me said no. My new med student course reaches its crescendo a week later, and I know I can’t pull off both feats. We plan to go to Cambridge, though, and it should be relaxing just to listen, think, and respond at MiT7.

Here, for the record, is the Call for Proposals:

Has the digital age confirmed and exponentially increased the cultural instability and creative destruction that are often said to define advanced capitalism? Does living in a digital age mean we may live and die in what the novelist Thomas Pynchon has called “a ceaseless spectacle of transition”? The nearly limitless range of design options and communication choices available now and in the future is both exhilarating and challenging, inciting innovation and creativity but also false starts, incompatible systems, planned obsolescence.

For this seventh Media in Transition conference we want to focus directly on our core topic – the experience of transition. Our first conference in 1999 considered this subject, of course.  But that was before Facebook, iPhones, BitTorrent, IPTV and many other changes.

How are we coping with the instability of platforms? How are the classroom, the newsroom, the corporate office exploiting digital systems and responding to the imperative for constant upgrades. Our libraries and archives? Our public entertainments? Are new technologies changing the experience of reading? The experience of watching movies or television programs? How stable, how durable are current or emerging systems? How relevant are earlier periods of media change to our current experience of ongoing instability and transformation?

We welcome submissions from scholars and teachers in all fields as well as media-makers, producers, designers
and industry professionals.

Possible topics include:
• Technologies of reading
• The future and fate of media studies
• Narrative across media
• Analog media in the connected era
• Emerging forms of journalism and community engagement
• New questions, new paradigms for media history
• Reappraising divides, digital, generational, and gendered
• Television: a medium of constant change?
• Rethinking access and restriction in the digital age
• The migration of print culture to digital form: promises and problems
• Oral cultures and digital cultures
• The advent of the book
• Corporate strategies for the digital age

For consolation, here are my talks at MiT5 and MiT6.

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