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Saturday, October 13 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Transnational Intimacies And Invasions

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It is almost a cliché to describe digital technology’s impact of on everyday life as one that collapses borders of time and space, or blurs the distinction between public and private. This boundary-crossing is attributed to technologies as diverse as mobile phones, pacemakers, social networking systems, and global communications networks. As processing and storage power increases, devices and systems can produce collections of all kinds of data hitherto unavailable. This provides new possibilities for tracking, inferring and generalizing about humans based on more fine-grained detail than has ever been available-- at such a distance-- before. This should challenge how we understand the significance, especially, of knowledge that has historically been intimate: about bodies, tastes, feelings and relationships. Under what conditions do technologies produce the capacity for intimacy, and when do they invade our intimate selves? The papers on this panel address, in various ways, the difference between intimacy and data, which in a sense are opposites. One connecting theme is attention to information that people hold in their bodies: for *Intimacy with Fashion Tech: Navigating Creepiness versus Cool* and *Intimacy On The Air: How The Need For Cultural Intimacy Shapes Technology Adoption And Innovation In Audible Media* this involved analyzing how bodily experiences of feeling and listening generate or reinforce relationships between people, but also between people and technologies. In *Intimacy with Fashion Tech*, these relationships can lead to a kind of betrayal of the embodied intimacy since the technological object (device or article of clothing) may be sharing its knowledge with entities unknown to the wearer. The intimate knowledge is valuable, but for the wrong reasons: commodified and alienated it invades the intimate relationship. For *Intimacy on the Air*, people who listen to the same music or understand the same language in a shared auditory experience, whether in a restaurant kitchen, a front porch or a car, are simultaneously intimate with fellow listeners who respond the same way, but also may be negotiating their relationship with a larger world where those sounds are read as ‘foreign’ ‘disruptive’ or even ‘threatening.’ This concern is heightened for people in diasporic communities such as immigrants in cities. Intimate knowledge in this context is not necessarily read as valuable by non-intimates, and that very fact preserves intimacy with the people who share the knowledge. By contrast, *Love in the Time of Surveillance Capitalism* addresses how personal expressions of human connection become valuable as they becomes technologically visible to economic actors, who benefit from encouraging people to still believe in the social value of engaging in these intimate but trackable behaviors. The value of that knowledge for capital depends on preserving people’s faith in exactly what information’s alienation has destroyed; the embeddedness in social relations of particular kinds of knowledge. These intimate connections are often already transnational, especially for, as *Intimacy on the Air* and *C’est Pas L’temps De Niaiser: Beyond Interculturalism, Online And In Montreal* address, marginalized mobile communities such as immigrants who may be culturally unwelcome in their host country. Intimate connections of marginalized identities can become newly visible in the digital era and can lose some of their capacity to connect, or they may circulate on terms that allow some intimacy to be retained. *C’est Pas L’temps De Niaiser* examines how a Montreal identity as a city can be forged from intimate connections to self, community and the intertwinings of "mother tongues.” Through analyzing a viral Youtube’s video online and offline life, this work reveals the viability of diasporic cultural language play in forging an identity (through Quebecois French, Moroccan French, Kreyol and Montreal slang) more intimately connected with the life of the city than the more staid and hierarchical official Quebec “interculturalism.”

This panel provides of range of analysis on the implications of technology’s increasing intertwinement with our bodies and relationships. It focuses especially on vulnerability and desire, both of which are necessary for a flourishing emotional and cultural life but also increasingly commodified and weaponized by corporate capitalist logics. The interplay between them also reveals some possible affordances for communities’ and individuals’ resistance and escape, which require that we look beyond unidirectional understandings of innovation and exploitation.

Moderators
avatar for Katrin Tiidenberg

Katrin Tiidenberg

Associate Professor, Tallinn University

Speakers
avatar for Elizabeth Wissinger

Elizabeth Wissinger

Professor, City University of New York
I would love to talk with you about your research into biological computing, biodata, biodigitization, wearable biotech, biodesign, and technology and embodiment more generally.


Saturday October 13, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Sheraton - Ballroom East

Attendees (23)