Feeling Facts and Fakes: Digital Ecologies II: Fiction Machines keynote

My keynote at Digital Ecologies II: Fiction Machines in Bath next month will draw on material from a forthcoming book (working title) A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media (due with Polity Press, 2020). For those attending it needs to be read in conjunction with the other keynote Simon O’Sullivan’s work on fictioning. e.g. Mythopoesis or Fiction as Mode of Existence: Three Case Studies from Contemporary Arthttps://www.simonosullivan.net/articles/Mythopoesis_or_Fiction_as_Mode_of_Existence.pdf

The below abstract should soon appear on the Digital Ecologies II: Fiction Machines symposium website alongside full details on the event. https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/digital-ecologies-ii/

I’ll also be taking a similar approach to the SSASS summer schools in Lancaster PA in late July with artist Mikey Georgeson whose Kemi Peckpo and the Deadends offer a comparable mixture of aesthetic, fiction machinics. The SSASS early bird registration has just been extended to mid June, so do take a look at the full line up.

Feeling Facts and Fakes in the Speculative Contagion of Shock Events


Politics is caught in a moment when strategic Big Lies bring big rewards, experts are marked as untrustworthy and factuality acquiesces to so-called post-truthiness. So where is theory in all this? Indeed, at a time when political impasses are all the rage, we find theory has itself gone down a comparable conceptual cul-de-sac. Despite much conjecturing about post-truth, we find a forced distinction between facts that are either brutally rational or decoupled from reality. This talk will draw attention to different ways of grasping the experience of fact. It aims to rethink political fabrication through Whiteheadian aesthetics, micro-shocks, SEO strategies, information voids and speculative contagion. The aim is to bring together feelings and thinking, aesthetics and politics, and consider the perhaps awkward facts about a people yet-to-come, but already on their way.

About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. He has a PhD in social-cultural-digital contagion theory from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. He is a former art student who re-entered higher education in the UK as a mature student in the mid-1990s after a long stint as a gigging musician. His career in education has moved through various disciplines and departments, including a maths and computing faculty, sociology department and school of digital media and design His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018) and The Sleepwalker's Guide to Social Media (due 2020 with Polity Press). Tony is the organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK (see archive on this blog). As a co-founder and co-director of the public engagement initiatives, Club Critical Theory (CCT) and the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG), Tony has been project lead on a number of funded projects that bring impactful critical theories into the community and local political sphere to approach. These activities have included large conferences, symposia and informal lectures/workshops in pubs and community centres, co-organized with community groups and local authorities. Tony occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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