Summer 2021: Conferences Update
Hello folks, after an intense year of remote working, back straining, and quite a bit of beer drinking, I finally have time to post some updates on research developments. Nothing major (I’ve mostly been teaching this year), but a couple research strands spinning off my PhD work have developed into conference presentations that happened within the past 2–3 months. See a short summary below.
My presentation at the 2021 Media Sociology Symposium in Chicago was part of a panel organized by Julie B. Wiest, who is also the editor of a great volume that came out for Emerald earlier this year. My chapter contribution to the collection is an adaptation of my PhD work on the figure of the Gangsta, something I’ve discussed on this blog before (an earlier draft is also available here on Academia). The panel featured a range of presentations offering interesting perspectives on crime, violence, and policing in the digital age, and the conversation that followed was also very stimulating.
On a similar note, a couple months earlier I also had the chance to present some work me and Stefano Brilli are doing around the figure of the “Bandito Influencer”, a type of crime celebrity we discuss through two Italian case studies. Our main focus is the cross-platform performance and framing of deviance, in relation to both media discourses and platform affordances. The topic combines a few recurring research interests of Stefano’s (liveness and public derision) with my ongoing research into the public making of the criminal on social media (see above, but also this take on the “dissing economy” if you can read Italian).
Another cool thing I did was presenting the early phases of a new research project (paper? papers? more?) I started developing this year at Art Machines 2, an international conference about AI and art. The main outline builds on my PhD work about tagging aesthetics, but it focuses on AR face filters as platform art and whether there can be any critical artistic reclamation of the ideologically determined, platformed environment delineated by Facebook, Instagram and Spark AR Studio (where this format has most notably found a corporate home). While my PhD thesis focused on social media tagging as a process of collective identity labelling, here the idea is to reconnect the performance of social media identities to the tradition of critical media arts more directly and explicitly (as suggested by Facebook’s own emphasis on AR as a tool for art and the increasingly artistic language used around it). The presentation reflected the very initial stage of my research, but I got some useful feedback and very much enjoyed the other speakers. If you are interested and/or want to give me more feedback, you can find an outline of my intervention in the event’s proceedings.