MicroLab open call for student contributions
MICROLAB is an experimental space dedicated to literary and artistic innovation, new
practices, and perspectives. It is designed for students and other young researchers to test out their ideas, receive feedback, and present their research to an international audience.
MICROLAB is looking for students to present their research on literature, art
and digital technologies, the possibility of new discourses and poetics, and
the interplay of political and poetical in the digital age.
Digital space has allowed humans to communicate at staggering speed, while at the same time allowing for virtually instant reappropriation by the respective rightsholders. Service providers trawl and sift through Big Data in order to sell them to the highest bidder, making information one of the most prized commodities on the market. This allows the standing power structures to interface with the polis on their own terms. As the future
blockchains itself into existence, informational monopoly constitutes a new type of threat for the global semiosphere. With great computational power however comes great responsibility.
In the words of McKenzie Wark, “Information wants to be free but is everywhere in chains.” This is a maxim
which applies double to endlessly reproducible and readily transferable digitized content which truly has
nothing but its chains to lose. Powers formerly associated with the traditional Right and Left camps, from
multinational corporations to self-styled social justice warriors, have their informers and their agents
provocateurs as much as they have their discontents: Aaron Swartz, Jordan B. Peterson, Alexandra Elbakyan,
Edward Snowden, Julian Assange – these are some of the unlikely dissidents of the digital age. In standard
parlance, ‘the hack’ has become ubiquitous as a gesture of resistance, but how to give it the cutting edge in the
realm of natural language?
This year’s edition of MICROLAB will aim to address the following questions:
How to chart out and navigate new registers of public discourse which would not be complicit in
neither censorship nor utilitarian sophistry, and would open the sphere of the political in ways
How to transcode language beyond its normative register, and carve out an
alien poetics which would not be cowed and herded back within the confines of a ready-made,
prefabricated political discourse?
Who arbiters what is and is not acceptable to say, and what are
How do digital technologies, with their Likes, emoticons, and encoded frameworks
of gates and passcodes, condition the understanding of politics and an individual’s relationship to
Send abstracts (cca 300 words) of your topic by the end of April to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If chosen, please be prepared for a 15 minute presentation of your research. Supporting material (powerpoint etc.) is of course possible and encouraged; however keep in mind that MicroLab aims for fruitful discussion rather than a traditional frontal lecture. Contributions are required in English language. In case you have any additional questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us.