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Theorizing the Web Presents: Age Against the Machine

Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020 at 2:00 pm

This episode of Theorizing the Web Presents centers on the misfits and outliers who are disrupting dominant ways of being and doing on the internet. In the first segment, Sonja Solomun and Victoria Simon use queer theory to problematize algorithms and algorithmic power. Then, Jack Webster considers why vinyl records are experiencing a new heyday in an age of ubiquitous music streaming services. And, finally, Heather Fenby asks what it means to be older on the Internet, where accessibility is an unglamorous afterthought, and personalization means incessant reminders of mortality, decay, infirmity, accident, painful illness, and utter irrelevance. This episode is moderated by TtW Presents Producer Whitney Erin Boesel (@weboesel).

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Panelist Bios:

Heather Fenby (@_cynar) has choreographed and performed in dance and experimental theater pieces for 30 years. She has a parallel career as a UX strategy consultant.

Victoria Simon (@vickiisimon) is a Professorial Lecturer in the School of Communication at American University. Simon examines the history and cultural politics of technological interfaces and software industries, drawing lines between the practices of developers, identity, disability, and democracy. She has a special focus on music and sound, and is currently working on her first book manuscript, From Difficulty to Delight: An Archaeology of Musical Screens.

Sonja Solomun (@SonjaSolomun) is the Research Director of the Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy at McGill University and a co-founder of the Coalition for Critical Technology. She is currently completing her PhD in the Department of Communication Studies at McGill. Sonja works on the histories and politics of platforms and the social implications of AI.

Jack Webster is a graduate of the Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) at the University of Southampton, UK. He is interested in how platformization is shaping the production and consumption of cultural goods.