CFP: Issue 2

CFP Issue 2: Media, Materiality and Emergency

the deadline for full submissions is extended to 31st July 2020 (for publication in Nov 2020)

Guest editor: Timothy Barker (University of Glasgow)

In what ways do questions of materiality matter in a time of crisis? What does it mean to explore the matter of things at a time when we are threatened with the annihilation of that matter, its disappearance, or its disintegration? The second issue of MAST journal seeks to answer and further explore these questions through essays from arts practitioners and theorists.

Questions of materiality have been central to both media arts practice and media and communication theory. In most accounts, media is situated as the ‘inbetween’ of bodies. A sender and a receiver, one and an other, stand at either side of a divide and communicate via a medium. In this sense, media might, following Sybille Krämer’s (2015) reading of Habermas, be considered erotic, connecting material bodies, providing the conditions for the emergence of material assemblages. Of course, media may undertake the opposite role, as Krämer also points out, dividing matter into separate bodies, keeping the sender and receiver at a distance. Media arts practice in the most general sense has been about asking questions about these functions of mediation, which connect, divide and express materialities.

Another approach to questions of materiality and media focuses on the matter of media, particularly with respect to the way it may provide the framing for discourse, social relationships and experience in general. Friedrich Kittler (1999) perhaps most famously said that ‘media determine our situation’, pointing to the impact of technical media on the conditions for discourse in the 20th century. Or as Daniel Miller argues, it is often the invisibility of material objects that give them their power. Miller writes, “objects are important not because they are evident and physically constrain or enable, but often precisely because we do not ‘see’ them. The less we are aware of them, the more powerfully they can determine our expectations by setting the scene and ensuring normative behaviour, without being open to challenge” (Miller 5). The field has been grappling with these questions since its inception, and we feel that now, due to intense changes in the political and ecological systems of our planet, the time has come to try and see how we might further these modes of inquiry to address times of crisis. For this second issue, MAST journal is looking for essays from media arts practitioners that theorize, reflect on or otherwise explore their own practice in relation to these themes, as well as essays from media theorists, media philosophers and media archaeologists that address materiality and media art practice.

In this issue, we invite essays that address the topic of materiality in relation to our contemporary political, environmental, social or economic state of emergency. We want authors to build on the work already done in the field to see how the materiality of media is implicated in or impacted by the emergence (as etymologically related to emergency) of these conditions. Furthermore, we are interested in receiving essays that address strategies of resistance to dominant paradigms or that offer alternative futures through the lens of materiality. We also welcome essays that conduct a rear-view analysis, exploring the relationship between the materiality of media at other times of crisis.

We would welcome diverse responses to the topic of materiality, media and emergency. Topics of interest may include, but are not limited to:

  • materiality and ecological crisis
  • materiality and media art responses to the climate emergency
  • materiality and miscommunications
  • materiality and waste, pollution and noise
  • the disappearance/extinction of material things
  • media and materiality in times of conflict
  • materiality and displacement
  • the concept of emergency/emergence
  • media archaeology of/in times of crisis

We encourage submissions in the below categories:

  • full papers (4000-6000 words)
  • interviews (2000-4000 words)
  • exhibition/book reviews (1000-1500 words)
  • video articles (5-10 min)
  • practice-based studies (media artifacts such as images/video/audio accompanied by a 1000-2000 words essay)

The last category (practice-based studies) is reserved for studies around media-based artifact(s); in particular, operative media is preferred. Submissions in this category demonstrate a creative media project as the basis of developing research and making a contribution to knowledge in the context of the presented themes in this call. Practiced-based studies may include (and are not limited to) hybrid media projects, media installations (interactive and non-interactive), web-based arts, sound arts, database cinema, virtual/augmented/mixed reality projects. Submissions in the category must include an essay (1000-2000 words) composed around particular media-based artifact(s) and engage relevant images (up to 3) and/or link(s) to video/audio. Essays must be unpublished to be considered, and engaged materials must be copyright cleared.

For formatting style and full submission guidelines, please visit:

The deadline for submissions is extended to 31 July 2020 (for publication in November 2020).

Please send your submissions (and questions) to

About the guest editor:

Timothy Barker is a senior lecturer in digital media in the School of Culture and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow. His work to date has focused on media and the philosophy of time from both aesthetic and historical perspectives, which can be seen respectively in his two books: Time and the Digital (Dartmouth, 2012) and Against Transmission (Bloomsbury, 2018). In these books, along with other essays on the topic, he explores media forms such as experimental television, digital art, video games, cinema and photography based on what they can tell us about the cultural representations and operations of memory, history and temporality.

Works Cited
Krämer, Sybille. Medium, Messenger, Transmission: An Approach to Media Philosophy. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2015.
Kittler, Friedrich. Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. Trans. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young and Michael Wutz. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.
Miller, Daniel. “Materiality: An Introduction.” Materiality. Ed. Daniel Miller. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2005. 1-50.