Wednesday 31 October / DAI Public lecture by NISHANT SHAH: ‘I heart my computer because all my friends live in it: affect, technology and social relationships in a networked society’ / DAI-auditorium

Address: ArtEZ masters; DAI auditorium, Kortestraat 27, Arnhem

Time: 19:30-21:00

I heart my computer because all my friends live in it: affect, technology and social relationships in a networked society

For many users of digital technologies, sometimes referred to as Digital Natives, the interface is more than just a point of access into cyberspaces. For those who are constantly connected, everyday life is mediated by a range of interfaces as various personal, portable and mobile computing devices facilitate seamless interaction and access to various social networking systems. Especially with the rise of digital social networks like Facebook and MySpace, there is a new paradigm of being 'alone together' as these digital interfaces 'connect people apart'. The growing anxiety around the digital interface becoming the site where affects, emotions, desires and intimacies are created and expressed in different vocabularies of safety against the predatory and the unknown. Despite cautionary tales that have achieved cult-like status, reminding us of the danger of the stranger online, there is a resilient use of online networks to find new friends, connect with the unknown and interact with the person behind the screen. This talk seeks to question the interface, dig deeper into its depthless depth and examine the ways in which we form intimate, perverse, and affective relationships with these interfaces, that make invisible the labour that goes into the sustenance of social relationships within the network paradigm. Examining the ways in which affective interactions with the interface and the care that is required to maintain this networked life, Nishant Shah proposes to see how the notions of labour and social relations have intertwined and changed in our connected lives online.

Nishant Shah is Director-Research at the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore in India and a Visiting fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences, The Hague, the Netherlands. His doctoral work examines everyday practices of technologies at the intersections of culture and law in India, looking at the figures of the pirate, the pornographer and the terrorist in the digital realms. He has been the chief knowledge partner for a knowledge exploration with HIVOS, Netherlands, on 'Digital Natives with a Cause?' and editor for the 4-volume books 'Digital AlterNatives with a Cause?' which look at young peoples' use of technologies in the Global South and the potentials for radical change therein. His current focus is on affect, citizenship, and technology in emerging Information Societies

Nishant Shah was invited by Renée Ridgway in the context of Roaming Academy: edition 2012-2013