Reader in New Technologies of Communications
+44 (0)20 7919 7629
+44 (0)20 7919 7616
Sarah Kember’s research focuses on digital media, questions of mediation and feminist science and technology studies. She is currently investigating the possibilities of life after new media (studies), and has engaged in debates on artificial life and other aspects of the convergence between biology and computer science. She also works on imaging technologies and the relationship between photography and the digital and is developing an innovative approach to the question of remediation and the ‘fusion’ of science and literary fiction.
Sarah has seen 7 PhD students through to the successful completion of their dissertations. Previous students include: Andre Favilla (digital photography and genetics); Sen Yin Li (representations of GM food in the press) and Gavin Mackie (artificial life and evolutionary computer games). Current students include: Jonas Andersson (p2p file sharing); Eleanor Dare (intelligent/intra-active books); Gabriela Mendez Cota (biotechnology and Mexican nationalism); Paolo Ruffino (independent video games) and Ben Craggs (tissue culture and the re-materialisation of life).
Sarah is working on a novel entitled The Optical Effects of Lightning. It is a story presented as a case file on a missing person, but combines three main genres: detective, science fiction and gothic.
Conceptually, the novel attempts to bring science and literary fiction into a closer, more remediating relationship. This is done partly through the agency of a photograph (censored) which shows a man running on a beach as he is struck by lightning.
While working on the submission of this manuscript with Laetitia Rutherford (at Mulcahy Conway Associates Ltd.), Sarah has begun work on her next novel. This includes a first person account of the recent discovery of life on Mars.
Sarah is also working with Joanna Zylinska on a book based on their MA Digital Media: Technology and Cultural Form and the optional course entitled After New Media. This explores the concept of mediation through a range of media events including the Large Hadron Collider Project, the credit crunch and the world's first face transplant. The book is provisionally entitled Life After New Media.
Cyberfeminism and Artificial Life (Routledge, 2003) examines the construction, manipulation, and re-definition of life in contemporary technoscientific culture. The book takes a critical political view of the concept of life as information and traces it through the new biology and the discourse of genomics, as well as through the changing discipline of Artificial Life, and its manifestation in art, language, literature, commerce and entertainment.
From cloning to computer games, and incorporating an analysis of hardware, software and ‘wetware’, Sarah Kember extends current understanding by demonstrating the ways in which this relatively marginal field connects with, and connects up global networks of information and communication systems.
Inventive Life. Towards the New Vitalism (with Mariam Fraser and Celia Lury) (Sage, 2006) demonstrates how and why vitalism – the idea that life cannot be explained by the principles of mechanism – matters now. Vitalism resists closure and reductionism in the life sciences, whilst simultaneously addressing the object of life itself.
The aim of this collection is to consider the questions that vitalism makes it possible to ask: questions about the role and status of life across the sciences, social sciences and humanities and questions about contingency, indeterminacy, relationality and change.
All of these questions have special importance now, as the concepts of complexity, artificial life and artificial intelligence, information theory and cybernetics become increasingly significant in more and more fields of activity.
photographies a new journal edited with David Bate, Martin Lister and Liz Wells. Photographies seeks to construct a new agenda for theorising photography as a heterogeneous medium that is changing in an ever more dynamic relation to all aspects of contemporary culture.
The journal aims to further develop the history and theory of photography, considering new frameworks for thinking and addressing questions arising from the present context of technological, economic, political and cultural change.
We investigate the contemporary condition and currency of the photographic within local and global contexts. The editors seek research papers and innovative visual essays, shorter papers engaging new debates, review essays, cultural events, key developments, exhibitions and conferences.
‘Creative Evolution? The quest for life (on Mars)’, Culture Machine, 2006
‘Cyberlife’s Creatures’, in David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy (eds) The Cybercultures Reader. Second edition, Routledge 2007
'The Virtual Life of Photography', photographies Vol 1, Issue 2, December 2008 (this article is free to download from the photographies website, and is also available - with a question mark added - on itunes under Photographic Mediation)
'Creative Media: performance, invention, critique' (with Joanna Zylinska) in M. Chatzichristodoulou, J. Jefferies and R. Zerihan (eds) Interfaces of Performance, Ashgate 2009
'Media, Mars and Metamorphosis', Culture Machine Vol 11, 2010
Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171
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