Guest Bloggger: Oliver Bendorf

HowtoGettoHUMLab2Oliver Bendorf is an interdisciplinary writer, artist, and teacher, currently living in Madison, Wisconsin. He holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is now earning an MA in Library and Information Studies. His book of poems, The Spectral Wilderness, is forthcoming from Kent State University Press. In March, he participated in the HUMlab workshop: Digital gender: Theory, Methodology and Practice

“Digital Gender, like any good event, quickly became much more than just the workshop– it became a state of mind; a method; a movement; #DG. There are magical things happening at HUMlab, and it’s not just the baked goods, though those are plentiful and certainly don’t hurt. HUMlab is hi-tech but not at the expense of coziness– think touch screen floors under a plush rug, bean bags and our live-tweets projected onto yet another screen — and this to me seems one possibility of the digital humanities: that they are ultimately about the human if they are to matter at all.

I arrived at Digital Gender with hand-painted slides, or scans thereof, of my initial research questions into the trans-digital hand. My fellow workshoppers’ projects and feedback fueled and inspired me to continue with this research, and cracked open my sense of possibility for what it might mean to “do” and “think” digital gender.

From Micha Cárdenas‘ very first invitation to us to breath, to Nishant Shah‘s suggestion of the USB as the “universal slutty being” for how we swap and share digitally, to Lewis Webb‘s and Anna Foka‘s historicizing of digital “slut-shaming” and gender on-screen, Carl-Eric Engkvist‘s workshop that had us designing games, and Jenny Sundén‘s virtuality, futurity, and temporality in digital transitioning, Roopika Risam on race in digital feminist spaces, Julienne Corboz on the limits of the digital in gender field work in Afghanistan, Annette Markham on method, remix, resistance, ginger coons with a workshop on on concealing gender in digital spaces, Camilla Hällgren with miniature art as feminist research, Viktor Arvidsson on people and things, people as things, people thinging…

And the best part is that there was more than this, more talks, more ideas, and a pretty excellent archive of it at #digitalgender2014 on Twitter. I peruse the hashtag when I feel the need to tap back into the stream of information and ideas that flowed through HUMlab in March 2014. I think about Digital Gender every day, and can’t wait to get back to HUMlab, but in the meantime I know that digital gender is here and now, as well as then and there, and that the work continues; the possibilities expand outward, always more to breathe, more to share, always more to remix and resist. Thank you HUMlab, Patrik Svensson, Anna Foka, the whole organizing team, and every participant for this Digital Gender state of mind!”

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