Nathalie Casemajor

“The Digital Drift of Derivative Artifacts

Abstract: How can we follow the trajectory of an image online? Retracing its path through the maze of the Web, from the darkest blog to its viral multiplication on social networks seems like an insurmountable challenge. And yet, studying these trajectories allows us to better understand the cultural biographies of data. It provides ways to explore the incommensurable variety of subproducts and derivative objects generated by daily cultural consumption activities on the Internet. Digital artefact studies offers a framework to explore the material qualities of digital objects, and their relation with the social, technological, economic and cultural conditions of digital circulation. Yet it raises a number of epistemological questions: how to conceptualize the materiality of digital artifacts, their regimes of value and exchange, their role in the constitution of social worlds? And what methodology can we use for an empirical study of these phenomena? Observing how images from the Maple Spring circulated on the Web, I will explore some of the processes of production, exchange and consumption that affect the circulation of cultural goods on the Web.

Bio: Nathalie Casemajor is an Assistant Professor in communication in the department of social sciences at the University of Québec in Gatineau (Canada). She holds a PhD in Communication from Université du Québec à Montréal and a doctorate in Information and Communication Sciences from Université Lille 3 (2009). She was Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University (Department of Art History and Communication Studies) and at the National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS – Montreal, Urbanization, Culture and Society Research Centre), as well as a Visiting Scholar at New York University (Department of Media, Culture and Communication). Her work focuses on digital culture, archives and collective memory.