‘did you feel it?’ ~ A SYMPOSIUM ON DIGITAL INTERFACES AND THEIR AFFECT. Keynotes by Mercedes Bunz, Mark Fisher, Nishant Shah

The symposium approached the concern of how affect manifests through technology, by taking the idea of the interface as a way of understanding the creation and mediation of affective forces and their influence on our social, political and artistic encounters.

Affect can be defined as as “a pre-personal intensity corresponding to the passage from one experiential state of the body to another and implying an augmentation or diminution in that body’s capacity to act.” (Brian Massumi) In our contemporary situation these experiential states and feelings are readily exchanged and traded upon in many areas of life: Your Facebook friends are editing and mediating their lives so that you can engage with them through liking and sharing. News media increasingly appeals to us on an affective register, influencing our reactions from occupation to commodification. With the growth of the service industry, an increasing number of workers no longer merely exchange the labour of their bodies, rather they exchange on an affective spectrum, like the call centre worker who must present a relentless kind and civil demeanor, no matter what.

What we do in the media is enabled and disabled by interfaces. The interface is the ubiquitous and largely hidden layer between human and machine, but its transparency does not make it neutral. It is also an autonomous zone of aesthetic activity, guided by its own logic and its own ends. (Alexander Galloway). The interface permanently shapes our view of the material, the social, the political and the technological.

Through lectures, artworks and performances we will attempt to understand: How do interfaces shape, transform and transmit affect? In what ways does experiencing affect, mediated through an interface, work upon our daily lives? And how can we as artists, designers and ‘users’ engage in the zone of aesthetic activity that the interface opens?


Keynote Lectures:

_Mercedes Bunz

_Mark Fisher

_Nishant Shah

Artist presentations:

_Erica Scourti will present a series of performances exploring gestures of user-device entanglement and commodification of personal experience in always-on, networked life. Adapting a recent body of live work that utilizes everyday affective interfaces of mobile computing, she will respond directly to the symposium context by offering ‘services’ like live-subtitling of keynote speeches, cleaning delegates’ phones in exchange for screenshots and an improvised plenary email summing up the day through the material these micro-interventions garner.

_Veridiana Zurita


_Niels van Doorn

_Ben Burtenshaw


Curated in the context of the year long course:

Affective Images: How Public Images Produce Affect in a Digital Age guided by Jorinde Seijdel and Florian Göttke.

Curators and organizers of the symposium:

Alumni DAI 2015 : Ben Burtenshaw, Eduardo Cachucho, Charlie Dance, Monique Hendriksen, Marie-Andrée Pellerin, Kaste Šeškeviciute, Aarti Sunder and Yung Han Juan.

Amir Avraham (alumnus Werkplaats Typografie).

Students DAI 2014-2016: Sebastian De Line, Chris den Dulk, Jammie Nicholas, Miguel Angel Rego Robles and Hu Wei.

A collaboration between:

DAI and Open!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.