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Message posted on 03/07/2024

CfA: “En/Countering Tracking”, Computational Culture, Special Issue

Dear colleagues,

we would like to draw your attention to the following call for abstracts for a special issue of Computational Culture on “En/Countering Tracking. Resisting spatiotemporal media operations in computational culture”.

We look forward to receiving your abstracts. Please feel free to forward the CfA to any potentially interested colleagues.

Thank you and best regards, Kathrin Friedrich and Sebastian Randerath

Call for Abstracts (Deadline: September 15, 2024) En/Countering Tracking. Resisting spatiotemporal media operations in computational culture A special issue of Computational Culture, a Journal of Software Studies Edited by Kathrin Friedrich and Sebastian Randerath

Tracking takes place ubiquitously and at different scales – from satellite-based wildlife tracking (Benson 2010) to automated monitoring of supply chain workers through radio-frequency identification (RFID) (Hayles 2009; Kanngieser 2013) and to ubiquitous self-surveillance through self-tracking apps (Lupton 2021). With the expansion of sensor-based geomedia as well as embodied computing, tracking also becomes a key media operation for environmental sensing or virtual reality experiences (Egliston and Carter 2022; Gabrys 2019). The computational logics of tracking result in new aesthetic and operational regimes that diminish sensory perception and privilege logics of calculation, which in turn co-constitute mobile forms of (non-)human action and tactical interventions (Crandall 2010; Hansen 2015).

Countering tracking has become a key form of resisting the logics of computational culture. Subversive encounters have emerged in recent years as counterpoints to the hegemonic logics of web infrastructures (Christl and Spiekermann 2016), platform labor (Heiland 2021) and racial capitalism (Russell and De Souza 2023). These attempts to counter tracking take forms that range from investigative visualizations (Fuller and Weizman 2021) or provoking glitches in tracking infrastructures (Leszczynski and Elwood 2022) to uncovering web-based tracking (Sharelab 2015), building counter-infrastructures for labor resistance (Qadri and D’Ignazio 2022), or using sensors and satellite images for critical investigations (Ballinger 2023; Boyd et al. 2018).

Countering tracking becomes a resistant media operation itself, disentangling hegemonic spatiotemporal regimes and their socio-political forces. These forms of countering tracking challenge existing theoretical approaches to the critical analysis of tracking and open up new perspectives on subversion and resistance in computational culture. How is countering tracking by means of tracking possible in different contexts and in relation to software, infrastructures and aesthetics?

We invite critical encounters through and of tracking, enabling new perspectives on computational infrastructures, software, (non-)human aesthetics and operative interactions, by means of theoretical reflections, critical making or activism. We aim at gathering submissions that 1) render existing tracking operations perceivable; 2) disrupt tracking infrastructures; or 3) operationalize tracking itself for resistance. The special issue invites theoretical, conceptual and performative approaches from fields such as media studies, visual studies, artistic research, sociology and critical geography to address the question of how tracking becomes a repressive, subversive or activistic media operation.

Topics and projects might include:

  • Inventive methods that repurpose tracking infrastructures, sensors, software and data to research computational culture
  • Detailed empirical and critical studies exploring the relations of en/countering tracking in computational culture
  • En/countering tracking in labor resistance and platform capitalisms
  • Critical theoretical conceptualization of tracking or countering for the study of computational culture
  • Critical explorations of the chronopolitics, timescapes and spatiotemporal regimes of tracking
  • Activist media, countersurveillance, tactical media, decolonial, (glitch) feminist and resistant epistemologies of tracking
  • En/countering relations between political economy, racialized capitalism and tracking
  • Visual cultures, (in-)visualities and aesthetics of en/countering tracking
  • En/countering tracking in media art and artistic activism

Schedule 750-word abstracts should be emailed to by September 15, 2024. Abstracts will be reviewed by the special issue editors and the Computational Culture editorial board.

Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by October 30, 2024 and invited to submit full manuscripts by March 1, 2025. These manuscripts are subject to full blind peer review according to Computational Culture’s policies. Possible costs for proofreading incurred by the authors are not covered by the editors or the journal. There are no open access or processing charges for this special issue.

Computational Culture is an online open-access peer-reviewed journal of interdisciplinary enquiry into the nature of cultural computational objects, practices, processes and structures.

For the full CfA visit:

Any queries can be addressed to the special issue editors at:

Prof. Dr. Kathrin Friedrich Professur für Medienwissenschaft: Digitale Medienkultur Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn Institut für Sprach-, Medien- und Musikwissenschaft Abteilung für Medienwissenschaft Lennéstraße 1 53113 Bonn

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