Julie Albright + Terri Senft

October 20, 2007 at 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm

cosmetic surgery demonstration video by Brooke Kellaway, supplemented with diet and fitness plans
Performance by Nina Waisman
Presentation by Julie Albright
Presentation by Terri Senft

Julie Albright is a noted authority in the media and in academia on sexuality, relationships and technology (including the Internet and plastic surgery). She has been quoted in the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, on CNN.com and MSNBC.com, among others, on these issues. She is also a research consultant for eHarmony, one of the nation’s largest online matchmaking sites. She recently completed work as Associate Producer on a documentary film on plastic surgery and makeover in popular culture, and is currently working on several journal articles related to Internet dating and sex-seeking behaviors. She is currently a lecturer in the Dept of Sociology at USC. For her presentation at Telic, Julie will speak on the concept of transformation and ‘makeover’ via technology (whether online or in the flesh). Her presentation will concern themes of self-transformation, invention, presentation, performance — including notions of beauty, what people find attractive (driven by media technology), and how these attractions and appearances are managed.

Theresa M. Senft is a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of East London, U.K. Her work considers how new media has changed our conceptions of the private, the public, the pornographic, and the pedagogic in global society. Her books include Camgirls: Web Celebrity and the Personal as Political in the Age of the Global Brand (2007), History of the Internet, 1843-Present (co-author), and a special issue of Women & Performance devoted to sexuality & cyberspace (co-editor). For her presentation at TELIC, Theresa will address what she sees as the rise of ‘empathy fatigue’ among viewers who routinely consume displays of personal psychic trauma through public media such as webcams. To combat empathy fatigue, Theresa urges us to stop treating many-to-many media as television, and instead begin engaging in ‘tele-ethicality’: a commitment to risk social contracts over one’s networks with others who may or may not be true, or even real. To demonstrate, she relates a true story of a watching a camgirl attempt suicide over her webcam while hundreds of ‘friends’ watched and commented, wondering if what they were witnessing an actual event, or a staged publicity stunt, as a woman was dying before their eyes.

Nina Waisman is an MFA candidate at UCSD. She has shown her work in Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Long Beach, etc. Her work has been reproduced and written about in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and the San Diego Union Tribune, among other publications. (see http://www.ninawaisman.net) She holds a BFA with distinction from Art Center and a BA, magna cum laude, from Harvard University. Waisman also trained seriously as a classical dancer. This study of movement informs her ongoing creation of interactive installations and performances in which simple acts such as walking raise questions about technology’s impact on a body’s creation of identity and processes of meaning-making. Nina describes her performance at TELIC as follows:
“Gesture and sound have long been employed as mediums of social control, mediums through which a body can be made to transduce social and political formulas. What new forms of bodily targeting and splicing will be effected as our tools and environments gain intelligence? Your footsteps might be swapped out for a gait and pace meant to adjust your mood or style. You might walk in the steps of your idol of the moment - coming closer bodily to the one you wish you could be. You might download tracks to help you learn the productive movement rhythms of successful figures in your field. You train… Subtly, your body gives way, disappears, as you puppet the moves deemed more desirable….”