The Code Conference: Spicy SaLSA!

I just returned from the Code Conference sponsored by the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (The SLSA, aka “Salsa”). The SLSA is another example of what I called “strong interdisciplinarity” in the post directly below: a real cooperation across major divisions of knowledge based on real dialogue and a common, pragmatic set of goals. At the Code Conference, I talked with ecologists, programmers, ethicists, new media artists, and, of course, good ol’ literature scholars. I heard presentations about the representation of animals in nature faking and graphic novels, the ethics of wolf-human interaction, and media installations that project translations of bird calls (using real United Nations translators!) into the woods. I heard Kate Hayles talking about “intermediated” digital literature, and Brian Massumi on the emotional logic of the war on terrorism. I learned that “moron” is the word most often found in the code comments of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. (Naturally.) My own presentation, “Stupid Ontology Tricks, or, The Code of Unknowing,” stimulated both proponents and detractors. (As Bridget Jones would say, “V. Good!”)

Special thanks to Susan McHugh of the University of New England, Arielle Saber of Bowdoin College, and Aden Evens of Dartmouth University for organizing such a smashing affair!

The next SaLSA Conference in the USA will be in 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bless their hearts. See y’all there.

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