ICS Seminar Series

Next Seminar

Date: Thursday 7 June 2018
Time: 11.30am–1pm
Venue: EZ.G.23, Conference Room 1 (Female Orphan School), Western Sydney University Parramatta South campus

Thinking in Common Panel – What are Digital Media?

Panellists: Ned Rossiter, Tsvetelina Hristova, Helen Barcham and Liam Magee

Respondent: Luke Munn


This panel is interested in the operational logic and materiality of media cultures in post-media conditions. The panel questions the analytical status and possibilities of media theory when the digital is thoroughly integrated with economy and society, labour and life.

Ned Rossiter outlines the general environment in which ubiquitous media take command. He revisits concepts of power to discern the distinction of media theory from adjacent disciplines and fields in the jostle to claim authority in an age of disappearance.

Tsvetelina Hristova examines the role of digital media in healthcare as a conduit of mobility, circulation and control, focusing on the standards for transferring digital data. Their development speaks to the continuities and ruptures from a long-standing genealogy of communicative and logistical organisation of the hospital as an institutional architecture, which operates through an economy of circulation of bodies, liquids and data.

Helen Barcham examines the proliferation of #PlasticPositive cultures of cosmetic surgery as performed on and through Instagram. She considers the entanglements of mediatisation, therapy culture and post-feminist sensibilities in the mobilisation of new forms of aesthetic and affective labour, and gendered subjectivities.

Neural networks work their magic of media classification by reshaping image pixels, audio frequencies and textual characters into the common format of the matrix. Examining the procedural transformations wrought by the ‘deepfakes’ algorithm, Liam Magee outlines a strange new media condition characterised by ground truths and fake news, mathematical abstraction and sensory overload, and a futurological imaginary at once ironic, polemical, whimsical, newly enchanted and deeply agonised.

With reference to two recent artworks, Luke Munn in his response to the panel examines the ways in which the optical is today subsumed into the operational. Rather than representation, could we posit a media theory of calculation, a media theory without ‘media’?


Helen Barcham is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Culture and Society. Her research sits at the intersections of feminist theory and digital sociology. She is assistant editor of Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics and co-editor of The Occasional Papers, Institute for Culture and Society.

Tsvetelina Hristova is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Culture and Society. In her project she studies the process of digitalisation and outsourcing of medical diagnostics.

Liam Magee is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society and, with Ned Rossiter, he co-convenes the Digital Life Research Program. His current work examines machine learning, markets, knowledge and standards of evidence, and media and communications.

Luke Munn uses both practice-based and theoretical approaches to explore the intersections of technology and capital, body and code. He is a Studio Supervisor at Whitecliffe College of Art & Design and a current PhD Candidate at the Institute for Culture & Society, Western Sydney University. He is author of Ferocious Logics: Unmaking the Algorithm (Meson Press, 2018).

Ned Rossiter is Professor of Communication in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts with a joint appointment as Institute Fellow in ICS. His next book, Organization after Social Media (with Geert Lovink), is currently in press with Minor Compositions/Autonomedia.

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Past 2018 Seminars

ICS Seminar Series - Christopher Lamb

Date: Thursday 31 May ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Mary Hawkins and Helena Onnudottir

Date: Thursday 24 May ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Tim Winter

Date: Thursday 17 May ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Jasbeer Musthafa Mamalipurath

Date: Thursday 10 May ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Australian Cultural Fields panel

Date: Thursday 3 May, ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Malini Sur

Date: Thursday 26 April ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Andrew McWilliam

Date: Thursday 19 April ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Amanda Third

Date: Thursday 12 April ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Devleena Ghosh and Professor Linda Connor

Date: Thursday 22 March ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Jian Lin and Karen Sy de Jesus

Date: Thursday 15 March ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Kiu-wai Chu

Date: Thursday 8 March ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Anna Yeatman

Date: Thursday 1 March ...Read more.

ICS Seminar Series - Paul Irish

Date: Thursday 22 February ...Read more.

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Three students listening to a seminar presentation.Seminar audience listening to a seminar presentation.

Handel Wright presenting at the ICS Seminar Series.

Handel Wright presents at the ICS Seminar Series. The photo shows attendees sitting around table.