[ISEA2011] Panel: Donna Leish­man (moderator) – Without Sin: Taboo and Freedom within Digital Media

Panel Statement

Chair Per­son: Donna Leish­man
Pre­sen­ters: Gor­don Hush, Sue Gold­ing, Don Rit­ter, Kriss Ravetto-Bi­a­gi­oli & Sheena Calvert

Framed by a con­text of in­creas­ing media anx­i­ety over the vol­ume of usage and the na­ture of so­cial net­work­ing web­sites (Green­field 2009), this panel will broadly ex­plore the roots of this fear and the role of dig­i­tal media and so­cial de­vel­op­ment, specif­i­cally in­ter­ro­gat­ing prac­tices of so­cial iden­tity and con­tem­po­rary ex­pe­ri­ences of re­al­ity/fic­tion. Fol­low­ing as­so­ci­ated fears there has been an in­creased pres­sure from the Amer­i­can Med­ical As­so­ci­a­tion (AMA) for the Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric As­so­ci­a­tion (APA) to in­clude video game ad­dic­tion as a sub-type of in­ter­net ad­dic­tion, along with sex­ual pre­oc­cu­pa­tions and e-mail/text mes­sag­ing in the up­com­ing 2012 Di­ag­nos­tic and Sta­tis­ti­cal Man­ual of Men­tal Dis­or­ders (DSM-V), the stan­dard di­ag­nos­tic text used by psy­chi­a­trists world­wide. The re­al­ity of an un-chartable (dark) In­ter­net, the ac­knowl­edged rate of change and the sig­nif­i­cantly prob­lem­atic lack of any so­ci­etal sanc­tion or pro­hi­bi­tion (when surf­ing the In­ter­net) gives ‘us’ more space and op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore taboo and re­pres­sion.
Panel pa­pers will ex­plore the no­tion of the moral econ­omy of human ac­tiv­ity and how this is re­flected in “moral pan­ics” and the space be­tween sub­jec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence (con­scious­ness) and the con­tem­po­rary en­vi­ron­ment (Hush), styl­is­tics of (sex­ual) dif­fer­ence (Gold­ing), ma­nip­u­la­tion within dig­i­tal iden­tity con­struc­tion (Rit­ter), re-ex­plor­ing The More Knowl­edge­able Other and so­cial de­vel­op­ment (Leish­man), and role of tac­ti­cal anonymity within con­tem­po­rary Net ac­tivism (Ravetto-Bi­a­gi­oli).
Ques­tions the panel will raise:

  1. When con­sid­er­ing dig­i­tal media and so­cial de­vel­op­ment: what are the un­der­ly­ing causes of this new sense of fear?
  2. How is so­cial iden­tity con­structed today / Has our ex­pe­ri­ence of re­al­ity/ fic­tion changed?
  3. How does the in­trin­sic vari­abil­ity of media usage af­fect our sense of self/ con­scious­ness?
  4. What is au­then­tic and what con­sti­tutes healthy when en­gag­ing with dig­i­tal media and the In­ter­net?
  • Dr. Donna Leish­man is a media artist and re­searcher and is based in Scot­land.  Her crit­i­cal writ­ings and pre­sen­ta­tions cover the so­cial re­cep­tion of dig­i­tal media and the in­ter­sec­tion of nar­ra­tive with in­ter­ac­tiv­ity. Themes in the re­search in­clude de­vel­op­ing and ex­plor­ing the role of the par­tic­i­pant, is­sues around iden­tity and clo­sure and in­ter­ro­gat­ing the aes­thetic con­se­quences of dif­fi­cult in­ter­ac­tions and dis­so­nance. Leish­man has pre­sented for: ISEA2010 (Ruhr Area, Ger­many), Dig­i­tal Art Weeks Xi’an (China), CRUMB/Cul­ture Lab (New­cas­tle), Cul­tureNet/Capi­lanou Uni­ver­sity (Canada), IOCT De Mont­fort Uni­ver­sity (Leices­ter) FITC (Toronto), CHI 2011 (Van­cou­ver) and ISEA2011 (Is­tan­bul). Her works have been fea­tured in The New York Times, The List, The Her­ald, Cre­ate On­line, Com­puter Arts, The Scots­man, The Guardian, Desk­top Mag­a­zine (AUS), TIR­WEB and De­sign Week. Since 1999 her web­site   6amhoover.com   has been the plat­form to ex­pe­ri­ence her in­ter­ac­tive pro­jects. Her art­works have been pre­sented in mu­se­ums, gal­leries, con­fer­ences and fes­ti­vals around the world in­clud­ing: UkinNY fes­ti­val (NYC), Re­sis­tor Gallery (Toronto), Cen­tre for Con­tem­po­rary Art (Glas­gow), TechnoPo­etry Fes­ti­val (Geor­gia Tech) DeCor­dova Mu­seum (Boston) OFFF (Barcelona). Dig­i­tal Arts & Cul­ture con­fer­ence (Mel­bourne), M.I.T (Boston), The Six Cities Fes­ti­val (Glas­gow) De­sign­ers­block – The Scot­tish Show (Milan/Lon­don) ELO Vi­sion­ary Land­scapes (Van­cou­ver USA) and the Elec­tronic Lit­er­a­ture Col­lec­tion Vol­ume One. She lec­tur­ers in Com­mu­ni­ca­tion De­sign at Dun­can of Jor­dan­stone Col­lege of Art and De­sign in Dundee. Leish­man is the cur­rently ex­ter­nal ex­am­iner for the MRes in Dig­i­tal Media at New­cas­tle Uni­ver­sity’s Cul­ture Lab. 6amhoover.com