Mirko Tobias Schäfer / Assistant Professor
University of Utrecht Department for Media and Culture Studies

Book launch: Digital Material

Teaching new media studies and digital culture at Utrecht University started in 1998 and immediately attracted an enthusiastic crowd of students who were glad to finally have an academic program for analyzing and theorizing the emerging media culture they were actually living. Together with a small group of equally enthusiastic teachers, among others Chiel Kattenbelt, Joost Raessens and William Uricchio, the major new media  started to develop into a serious MA degree program. Apart from the courses the Utrecht New Media Studies program provides, extensive research is done in computer games, mobile technologies, participatory culture, and visual culture to step beyond the mere description of the "newness" of new media, and analyze and theorize the role of computer technology and global computer networks in society and everyday life. This research is presented in the forthcoming book publication Digital Material. Tracing New Media in Everday Life and Technology (published at Amsterdam University Press).


14.00-17.00 hours, Book Launch, StudioT
Moderator: Ann-Sophie Lehmann

11.00-13.00 hours, Professional perspectives, StudioT (Kromme Nieuwegracht 20, Utrecht)

  • 10:30  Coffee
  • 11:00-13.00 Alumni talk about their careers, amongst others:
  • Stan van Engelen, VPRO
  • Keimpe de Heer, De Zwijger/Creative Learning Lab
  • Naomi van Stelten, Ijsfontijn
  • Sabine Niederer, Institute for Network Cultures
  • Lotte Vergouwen, Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (NPO)

14:00-14:30 Official opening and presentation of first copy to Wiljan van den Akker (Dean of the Faculty of Humanities)

  • 14:30-15.15 Presentations by contributing authors
  • 15:15 - 15:30 Break

15:30- 17:00 Presentations

  • 15:30-16.15 Geert Lovink & Florian Cramer
  • 16:15-17.00 Walter Langelaar & Audrey Samson
  • 17:00 - 18:00 Drinks


audrey samson: threads/

threads/ is a tool for the growing collection of women's stories; talking about their use of the computer, and feelings towards it. The installation combines an antiquated sewing machine table, its original pedal, and a keyboard in place of the sewing machine. Each letter on the keyboard is mapped to audio samples of weaving and sewing machines, interwoven with voices of women telling about their relationship to technology and what using it means in their lives.

Walter Langelaar: nOtbOt

nOtbOt is an automated game-player which is controlled and deranged by reactions to it's own virtual environment, caught in a vicious force-feedback loop. Human interaction with the game/controller becomes obsolete, resulting in a completely erratic form of [art]ificial intelligence. The observer of the installation, however, can literally try to 'get a grip' on taking control of the system...

About the Book

Digital Material. Tracing New Media in Everyday Life and Technology
by Marianne van den Boomen, Sybille Lammes, Ann-Sophie Lehmann, Joost Raessens, Mirko Tobias Schaeefer
Amsterdam University Press

Three decades of societal and cultural alignment of new media yielded to a host of innovations, trials, and problems, accompanied by versatile popular and academic discourse. New Media Studies crystallized internationally into an established academic discipline, and this begs the question: where do we stand now? Which new questions emerge now new media are taken for granted, and which riddles are still unsolved? Is contemporary digital culture indeed all about ‘you’, the participating user, or do we still not really understand the digital machinery and how this constitutes us as ‘you’?

The contributors of the present book, all teaching and researching new media and digital culture, assembled their ‘digital material’ into an anthology, covering issues ranging from desktop metaphors to Web 2.0 ecosystems, from touch screens to blogging and e-learning, from role-playing games and Cybergoth music to wireless dreams. Together the contributions provide a showcase of current research in the field, from what may be called a ‘digitalmaterialist’ perspective.

About the editors:

The editors are all teaching and researching in the program New Media and Digital Culture at the Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Date April 2009 Category News

On May 15th 2009 the Utrecht New Media Studies program will celebrate its 10th something anniversay.
The book launch takes place on May 15th 2009 at Studio T, Kromme Nieuwegracht 20, Utrecht (NL). On this day we want to reflect on what we have achieved in the last ten years and how we have developed into a full-fledged and indispensable field of study. The day will be kicked off with a series of presentations of former student who will tell us about their professional careers after their study. In the afternoon our book Digital Material: Tracing New Media in Everyday Life and Technology will be launched (AUP, eds. M. van den Boomen, S. Lammes, A.-S. Lehmann, J. Raessens and M.T. Schäfer). Lectures will be held by Geert Lovink (Institute for Network Cultures) and Florian Cramer (Piet Zwart Institute). During the day Studio T exhibits two installations: nOtbOt by Walter Langelaar and threads/ by audrey samson. Both artists will also give talks on their approach to working with 'digital material'.

Tags Book Event

2000 - 2022 Mirko Tobias Schäfer

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