Digital Memories

CALL FOR PAPER – ISSUE 23 (December 2022)

Digital Memories

Guest Editors
Letizia Bollini (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano)
Francesco E. Guida (Politecnico di Milano)

PAD. Pages on Arts and Design, Issue 23, will be published in December 2022.

We are nonchalantly throwing all of our data into what could become an information black hole without realising it. We digitise things because we think we will preserve them, but what we don’t understand is that unless we take other steps, those digital versions may not be any better, and may even be worse, than the artefacts that we digitised. If there are photos, you really care about, print them out
Vincent Cerf (Sample, 2015)

This monographic issue proposes a debate on the theme of memory and/of the digital.

The pervasiveness of digital technologies and their omnipresence in daily life modify our perception of reality. Besides, they transform the production, transmission and conservation of data, information and knowledge structurally.
Design – both as a practice and a disciplinary culture – has always played a direct role and is therefore directly responsible for these mutations and changes at several levels: the design of interfaces, interaction and experience, devices, (smart) products, processes and services.

The digital world – understood as an ecosystem encompassing media, channels, devices and touchpoints with their languages, experiences, use and functions – tends to flatten the relationship we have with both short and long-term memory.

The cloud – a place which is simultaneously virtual and physical, distant as well – gives the impression of an infinite storage capacity, both in terms of abundance – the preservation of everything! – and of duration – forever – apparently. But memory space is not unlimited unless we think about it in abstract terms. And, above all, it is material.

Its impact is tangible and concrete. It has its physicality and a consequential effect on the real world.

Moreover, the way we search for information and retrieve knowledge through digital tools tends to blur the perception of time and sequence: events – chunks of information – follow one another as in an a-temporal flow – an infinite scroll – in which the synchronous and the deferred overlap each other. The relationship between before and after becomes impalpable and pointless.

Technological transformations, innovations in hardware and software fields, frameworks and codes underpinning the connected infrastructures at the basis of our contemporaneity have taken place in a relatively short time, if compared with other ones and with the development and progress that have characterised the evolution of humankind, especially during the latest centuries.

These transformations tend to obliterate memory or even erase it and make it fragile by jeopardising the preservation of the memory of progress itself.

Given this conceptual scenario as a reference, the call for paper invites researchers, scholars and practitioners to share reflections, research, teaching experiences and case studies to discuss from the multiple perspectives of design culture the history (past), practices (present) and prospects (future) of the relationship between design, information and digital technologies.

Among the topics and the issues we intend to bring out, analyse and discuss:

  • the history of digital interfaces, visual and multimodal languages, programming and coding evolution (i.e. both as codes and environments) and the relationships between the fields of communication and interaction design;
  • the historiography of digital design, i.e. bringing out strategies, methods andspecific experiences, concerning the field of interest, to (re)construct its memory and evolution, starting from primary sources – such as manuals, articles, magazines, websites and digital platforms as well as emails or oral ones – or other types of references;
  • the role of design in preserving, organising, transmitting and presenting the documental heritage of the present to future generations of researchers, including issues of access, findability, and dis/intermediation;
  • the evolution of devices and platforms, beautiful degradation, obsolescence and the responsibilities of design in shaping changes at individual and societal scales;
  • the relationship between digital and human memory, hence contributions analysing or discussing – also from a speculative point of view – issues such as post-humanism, cyber-pessimism, augmented-humanity and others, highlighting the role of design in these narratives;
  • the issues related to media, platforms, processes and methods of memory preservation: digitalisation, digitisation, rematerialisation, documents vs information, media and preservation places, versioning, falsification, hyper-memory/absence of memory, documanity, post-mortem and personal heritage;
  • design-oriented and practice-based research, best practices or case studies of systems, applications, data and knowledge-base repositories, places or GLAMs – Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums – and other experiences aimed at memory preservation;
  • original experimental projects carried out in schools or courses, which are relevant to the reconstruction of the evolution of digital media culture, languages, experiences of use, codes, methodologies and processes in the field of design education;
  • case studies and projects, method-based experiments, theoretical reflections on the preservation of the memory of/in the digital world, also considering the issue of the construction of memory repositories in/of the present.

To participate, we ask you to send:
Abstract proposals (from 2000 to 3000 characters, spaces included) in English by the 28th of March 2022 15th of April 2022.
Full papers in English for submission by the 30th of May 2022 27th of June 2022 and then subjected to double-blind peer review.

Articles must have a minimum extension of 20.000 characters, including spaces and a maximum extension of 25.000 (abstract, footnotes and references excluded). All files should be prepared in an appropriate word processing package and saved as .doc, .docx file format (no .pdf).

The final text must comply with the indications provided in the document “PAD-GUIDELINES-AUTHORS-ENG-2022”.
Authors have to submit a separate text file with the title of the paper, author/s name and surname, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, Orcid code and a short bio (maximum 1000 characters spaces included).

Illustrations (maximum 10 per article) must be collected in a .zip folder to be renamed by accompanying the author’s surname and a progressive numbering corresponding to the captions (e.g. 01_Surname, 02_Surname). These should be listed in a document written in the same font as the main text and written on a Word .doc document as follows: “Figure 1: Author’s name and surname, the title of the work, date”. Minimum resolution of 300 dpi, .jpg file.

Abstract submission by e-mail to
The Director of Pages on Arts & Design Marinella Ferrara

Launch of the Call: January 2022
Deadline Abstract: 28 March 2022 15 April 2022
Acceptance of Proposal: 30 April 2022
Full Paper: 30 May 2022 27 June 2022
Double Peer Review: by the end of September/early October 2022
Camera-ready: by the end of November 2022
Publication: by the end of December 2022

Download the call

Submission guidelines

Categorie: calls

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