Editors' Introduction





Welcome to the third issue of Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy, in which you will find representations of some of the ideas, challenges and possibilities presented at the Ctrl-Z: Renewal! event held in Melbourne earlier this year.


More than just a journal, Ctrl-Z began a little over two years ago as an arts/theory festival (of sorts) organised around the theme of ‘Writing in the Age of New Media’, held at the Fremantle Arts Centre in Western Australia. Beyond or before the ‘academic’ end of exploring ideas and questions prompted by the event’s subject matter, the objective was first and foremost to experiment with ways of conducting and disseminating humanities research outside the conventional formats of academic publication and conference presentation. Panel-based, multimedia and interactive, Ctrl-Z: Writing in the Age of New Media sought not only to embrace ‘non-traditional research outputs’ (to use the current lingo of Australian research quality measurement agencies) by including video productions, art installations and dramatic performances, but also to cut across academic, professional and public divides by engaging ‘non-traditional research audiences’ too. And while perhaps not quite as eclectic as its predecessor, this year’s Renewal! continued in this vein, we feel, by gathering its own diversity of themes, disciplines, participants, media, formats and registers—as the sample of contributions featuring in this latest issue of Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy may go some way towards indicating.


This impetus to engage humanities research as a question is what has driven and continues to drive Ctrl-Z in all of its guises, including its expansion into the trade of ‘book’ publishing and the release of Setting Up the Nyoongar Tent Embassy: A Report on Perth Media, by Thor Kerr and Shaphan Cox. Recalling the notion of ‘occasional papers’, Ctrl-Z Press—through which we hope one day to ‘publish’ audio-visual productions as much as books, scripted lectures and reports—seeks to exploit the affordances of digital and online communications technologies to publish important and innovative research, free from the exigencies that constrain commercial academic publishers, their production schedules and their marketing requirements.


Via the operations of Ctrl-Z Press we thus raise a research question: in an age of digital and networked media, what are the most appropriate or effective means of disseminating academic scholarship, of communicating experimental ideas and forms, or presenting, as a matter of urgency, research findings to their many possible—sometimes unforeseeable—readerships? Indeed, given the objects and domains of inquiry with which we engage: what is the task of (specialist) humanities inquiry today, in an age where the possibilities of knowledge contestation and conceptual innovation once theorised and affirmed by postmodern theory have become not only practically plausible but effectively routine and widespread?


As an ideas network, exhibition space, publisher, events machine and—most significantly—experiment-in-process, Ctrl-Z aims to investigate these questions by fostering and promoting contemporary humanities research into the broad areas of media, art, culture and philosophy (and perhaps more besides). Committed to the dissemination of ideas and interests across specialist divides, Ctrl-Z prizes novel approaches to old problems, innovative forms of presentation, unlikely collaborations and chance encounters.


Ctrl-Z is hardly the first academic enterprise to undertake any of the abovementioned activities—not the first to hold an unconventional symposium or to promote a radical interdisciplinarity; nor the first to peer-review multimedia artworks and to branch out into ‘e-publishing’. But in coordinating (here, now) these activities under the banner of a question, or series of questions, about the contemporary forms and objectives of art and scholarship, we seek to establish Ctrl-Z as a vehicle for exploring the nature—and future—of humanities research in a digital age.


To that end we invite submissions and proposals for collaboration that engage with the questions that animate this enterprise and its speculative impulse, while maintaining the highest standards of editorial and academic quality. See the main site for contact details. And for a sample of the fruits that such collaboration and questions may bear, you need look no further than any issue of Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy.


This third issue of the journal could not have been produced without the assistance of our ‘Renewal!’ co-hosts—Lisa Gye, John Hartley, Scott McQuire, Maria Miranda, Norie Neumark, Nikos Papastergiadis and Darren Tofts—to whom we give our thanks, as we do to all of our contributors and anonymous reviewers.


Check the main site early in the new year for an archive of other ephemera associated with the Renewal! event, as well as for details of forthcoming Ctrl-Z activities, including the next issue of the journal, scheduled to appear by the middle of 2014.



December 2013




Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy

ISSN 2200-8616


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