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Friday, October 12 • 9:00am - 10:30am
Media Archaeologies of Intimacy

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This panel explores the connections between our own technological moment and media of the past to analyze the ways that we conceive of — and practice — notions of intimacy. Across eras, we have used technologies to stay in touch with those who are distant from us. In each age, we have used these media to foster a sense of connection and enable distant practices of touch, fantasy, and other modes of embodied linking. Each paper in this panel uses a specific example from a technological moment in the past to discuss how these media, like our own, shape ideas of embodied entanglement with distant others, bridging geographies in order to expand the scale of the sensory links with other bodies.

Each presentation employs a media archaeology methodology by identifying the genealogical link between contemporary media (email, instant message platforms, text messages, haptic interfaces, and online sex) and media of the past (love letters, pneumatic tube mailing systems, WWII-era tactile systems, and phone sex hotlines of the 1980s). By situating each technology discussed within their specific cultural and historical moment — noting the contours and infrastructures that contextualized these mediated connections — the presentations are able to utilizes media-specific analyses while at the same time thinking “intercontextually” to make links between media of the past and our own technologies. As such, we work to create genealogical traces from these examples to the digital age of mobile devices, haptic interfaces, email, and online sex platforms.

Friday October 12, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am EDT
Sheraton - Drummond West