This call invites submissions for a special issue related to and about digital cultures of California. Internationally, California is a phenomenon in terms of its relationship to creating, consuming and reflecting upon the era of digital technologies. From the legendary garage entrepreneurs, to the multi-billion dollar culture of venture capital, to stock back-dating scandals, to the epic exodus of California’s IT teams during the Burning Man festival, this state plays an important role in the cultures of digital technologies.
EXTENDED SUBMISSION DEADLINE: March 31, 2008
All research articles are refereed and should be between 7000 — 10000 words in length.
We also welcome submission of debates (1500 – 3000 words) or Feature Reports (3000 – 4000 words)
The Bay Area of California (often referred to somewhat incorrectly as Northern California) is often perceived as a hot-bed of technology activity. Silicon Valley serves as a marker for the massive funding of enterprises that shape many aspects of digital culture. The new interaction rituals that have come to define what social life has become in many parts of the world can often be traced back to this part of the state. New forms of presence awareness and digital communication such as Twitter and Flickr have found a comfortable home in the Bay Area. Complimenting the Bay Area’s activities in “social software” is Southern California — Los Angeles in particular — where Hollywood sensibilities bring together entertainment with technology through such things as video games and 3D cinema.
California is also the home of several colleges and universities where digital technologies are developed in engineering departments and reflected upon from social science and humanities departments. This curious relationship between production and analysis creates the promise of insightful interdisciplinary approaches to making culture. Many institutions have made efforts to combine engineering and social science practices to bolster technology design. Xerox PARC probably stands as the canonical example of interdisciplinary approaches to digital technology design. Similarly, combining arts practices with technology as a kind of exploratory research and development has important precedent at places like PARC and at the practice-based events such as the San Jose California-based Zero One festival and symposium.
In this special issue we welcome submissions which investigate, provoke and explicate the California digital cultures from a variety of perspectives. We are interested in papers that approach this phenomenon in scholarly and practice-based ways.
* What are the ways that social networks have been shaped by digital techniques?
* How has the phenomenon of the digital entrepreneur evolved in the age of DIY sensibilities?
* What are the ways that “new ideas” succeed or fail based on their dissemination amongst the elite, connected digerati, as opposed to their dissemination amongst less more quotidian communities?
* What is the nature of the matrix of relationships between Hollywood entertainment, the military and digital technology?
* Can the DIY culture explored in the pages of Make magazine produce its own markets?
* How does the Apple Inc. culture of product design and development shape and inform popular culture?
* How have the various interdisciplinary approaches undertaken at corporate research centers connected to universities such as Intel Berkeley Labs shaped digital cultures?
Contact for further information: Julian Bleecker (julian at nearfuturelaboratory com)