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SHY FACES: Digital Subjects and Acts of Disappearing

International seminar gathering sociologists, literary scholars, cultural theorists and artists within the field of new media art

Info about event


Thursday 6 September 2018, at 13:00 - Friday 7 September 2018, at 14:30

In face-to-face encounters shyness can be expressed by blushing, lack of eye-contact and reluctance or lack of contributions in social engagement. Shyness is by some researchers understood as biological dispositions, whereas others understand it as a socially relational phenomenon.

With this seminar we also propose an understanding of the shy subject on a more conceptual level, where ‘the shy’ is understood as a figure determined by reluctance and high self-awareness (i.e. high sensibility towards surveillance systems). 

We wish to pay attention to the clashes between ‘the shy’ and expectations expressed by systems, be it cultural norms, interfaces or art institutions.

Organized by Mette-Marie Zacher Sørensen and Lea Laura Michelsen

The seminar is hosted by the research project “Technologies of the Face in Contemporary Art” (funded by The Danish Council of Independent Research (FKK)) and the research group Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology (CAT) at Aarhus University




Susie Scott (University of Sussex), Vuokko Härmä (University of Helsinki), Adam Harvey (independent artist, Berlin), Kassandra Wellendorf (University of Copenhagen), Iben Engelhardt Andersen (University of Southern Denmark), Thomas Bøgevald Bjørnsten (Aarhus University), Lea Muldtofte Olesen (Aarhus University), Mareile Kaufman (University of Oslo)




Thursday, September 6

13.00-13.30                          Welcome and introduction by the organizers

13.30-14.15:                         Susie Scott: Presenting a social nobody: shyness as conspicuous invisibility

14.15-14.45:                         Vuokko Härmä: Shyness and surprise in the museum experience

14.45-15.15:                         Coffee and cake

15.15-16.00:                         Adam Harvey: Minimizing Surface Attack Area                     

16.00-16.30:                         Kassandra Wellendorf: Unpleasant looking: The use of film and digital media as tools to communicate experiences of discomfort in public space



Friday, September 7             

9.30-10.30                            Coffee and croissants

10.30-10.45                          Quick welcome

10.45-11.15:                         Iben Engelhardt Andersen: Romeo and Juliet are sexting                                

11.15-11.45                          Thomas Bjørnsten: In technology we trust? - trust as an emotional factor in our relationship with digital technologies


12.00-13.00                          Lunch


13.00-13.30:                         Lea Muldtofte Olesen: Blocked Content

13.30-14:00                          Mareile Kaufman: “Now you see me…” – Hacking in the context of surveillance.                             

14.00-14.30:                         Final Remarks