The Anthropocene highlights a fundamental fracture in contemporary culture between what we know and how we act. In the public sphere, this contradiction can be summarized by the overwhelming sense of apathy in the face of growing complexity and crisis. In scholarship the Anthropocene has been tied up with the experience of the unthinkable by thinkers including Timothy Morton, Donna Haraway, and Amitav Ghosh. Yet, the current COVID-19 pandemic—which as a crisis also exemplifies the human impact on and a reshaping of environments—challenges the pervasiveness of the key concepts of abstraction and unthinkability. Instead, the pandemic has turned the Anthropocene into a concrete, intensely lived, globally shared experience. In doing so, the pandemic asks us to reflect on and, more importantly, experiment with the borders between material and digital spheres and the shifting experiences they currently render.
Taking place from September 5-7, 2021 in Berlin, the 25th Digital Research in Humanities and Arts conference invites contributions and interventions that focus on such transfers and interactions between digital and natural environments. Digital Matters takes on the challenge to explore new material and multi-species agencies, forms of embodiment, and interactions between the performing arts, the humanities and the natural sciences that engage the sense of relationality and expanded scale that the Anthropocene affords. We welcome contributions that create a sustained encounter between designers, hackers, performers, artists, and philologists to examine how these emerging ways of communicating and creating proximity and solidarity across distance can shape new responses to conceptualising life in and beyond the Anthropocene. We would like to generate new perspectives on any of these three interrelated spheres:
What do we make of the various encounters between digital and embodied materialities across the cultural, creative, and scientific spectrum?
How do we make perceivable the invisible dimension of environments in our cultural practices?
How do we create new forms of agency to match the altered realities of the Anthropocene?
DHRA 2021 offers a creative platform for transdisciplinary exchanges between the digital and environmental humanities in a variety of formats: it will be part academic conference, part a curated programme of digital performances, workshops, and installations that seeks to break new ground in how artists, digital makers and researchers can share knowledge and practice with each other.
Please submit a 300-word abstract together with a short bio (ca. 75 words) and indicate the preferred format (digital or F2F) for your paper or presentation (15min), digital media provocation (up to 15min), workshop (30/60min), or alternate creative interventions (15min) on the theme of the 2021 DRHA conference. All proposals will be reviewed and selected by a peer-review process. Deadline for submissions: May 30, 2021. Currently, we are planning this conference as a hybrid event in Berlin with social distancing measures in place. If the development of the pandemic does not permit any form of gathering, we will shift to a fully online event.