The Digital Face: Transformed Interactions

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Academy of Finland, address: Hakaniemenranta 6, 00531 Helsinki


Academy of Finland programme Digital Humanities /Digital Face DIFA

A seminar on negotiation and transformations of face in digital environments

The seminar is aimed at all scholars interested in visual and digital cultures, mediated interactions, and the multitude of roles that faces take.

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Computing technology used in social interaction relies increasingly on translations and transformations of human faces for capture, archival in databases, and being rendered visible in computer-mediated social interaction. These faces, when visualised on screens, grab and direct our attention, often making it difficult not to pay attention to a digital face.

The research project on the digital face, supported by Academy of Finland funding, asks
1)    how are our physical faces increasingly transformed for situating in digital environments – for example, by being photographed, uploaded to computing systems, and rendered visible on a variety of platforms
and, at the same time,
2)    how do people negotiate their face in social interaction, whether choosing which communication media to use with whom or deciding when, and in which ways, to do so for ‘maintaining face’ (rather than, for example, risking ‘loss of face’)?

We cordially invite you to a public seminar to discuss the formation of the digital face in flows of networked interactions. The enactment of digital faces is also a political matter, one that leads to questions about the kinds of interactions with which we become attached and involved. Flows of interaction beg us to consider their quality, direction, and control. By focusing on the face, we aim to evoke reflection on a fundamental medium of human interaction and to spark debate on people’s social role and agency in digital environments.

We have invited distinguished colleagues to discuss questions pertaining to digital face, addressing these from perspectives afforded by media studies, cultural anthropology, work on human–computer inter¬action, and science and technology studies. The purpose of the seminar is to identify questions, suggestions, and paths that can enrich understanding of how the face plays a role in digital environments.


Speakers and Abstracts

10.00     Welcome and introduction
Risto Vilkko, Academy of Finland
Janne Seppänen, University of Tampere

10.15     ‘Transformed Faces in Digital Environments’
Asko Lehmuskallio, University of Tampere

10.45     ‘The Data Citizen: New Ways of Being in the World’
Geoffrey C. Bowker, University of California at Irvine

11.45     ‘Trends in Virtual and Augmented Reality’
Kirsi Louhelainen, Futurice


13.30     ‘What Do We See in a Digital Face?’
Tapio Takala, Aalto University

14.00     ‘What Comes Along for the Ride: The Artificial in Digital Faces’
Caroline Bassett, University of Sussex

Coffee break

15.30     ‘The Politics of Self-tracking Reconsidered’
Minna Ruckenstein, University of Helsinki

16.30     ‘Negotiating Values in Design’
Risto Sarvas, Aalto University and Futurice

17.00     Concluding remarks

Additional information

Dr. Asko Lehmuskallio,
Senior University Researcher, Chair