AMRO20_ Nishant Shah - Intimacy and its (technological) discontents: 3 theses while social distancing | Input 2

Created at 9. May. 2020

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by servus

The most famous critique of social distancing started in anthropologycircles once we had officially entered the Age of the Novel Corona Virus. We are just ‘physically distancing’, these critics said, not ‘socially distant’. It is a call that has been taken up by many techno-euphoric savants who have lauded the role of open and digital technologies to foster, extend, and reshape human intimacy in times where touch is a pathology and proximity is under scrutiny. The rallying cry is that ‘We shall be together’, and despite these contagious times, we shall establish new forms of being intimate. In this valorization of
intimacy, and especially the technological expansion of it, there is a romantic acceptance of intimacy as both desirable and fundamental to human forms of being. In this 3-part talk, I take a pause from this endless yearning for intimacy, by thinking through the structures of privilege, the gendered inequity, and the conditions of surveillance
that intimacy presumes in our technological life. I draw from feminist discourse, postcolonial theory, and digital cultures to interrupt the narrative of intimacy, and instead propose an alternative register of togetherness and sociality.

Dr. Nishant Shah is a Professor of Aesthetics and Cultures of Technology and the Director of Research and Outreach at the ArtEZ University of the Arts, The Netherlands. He is a knowledge partner for the Humanist Development Institution Hivos, and a mentor for the Feminist Internet Research Network, at the Association of Progressive Communication. His new co-authored book Really Fake, is coming out in Fall 2020 with the University of Minnesota Press. You can find more about him at https://nishantshah.online


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