Call for Papers – CLOSURE: The Kiel University e-Journal for Comics Studies #6 (November 2019)
In the fall of 2019, CLOSURE will once again offer a forum for all facets of comics studies. From literary, cultural, media, social and image research to the sciences and beyond: the fifth edition of CLOSURE continues our ongoing search for the best and most innovative articles and reviews representing the state of the art in comics research. We welcome detailed close readings as much as comics theory and pioneering approaches to the medium — our open section comprises a diverse range of interdisciplinary studies of all things ›comic‹.
Thematic Section: »A.I«
Androids, algorithms, artificial intelligence — more than ever, A.I. is a hot-button issue in public debates. The spectrum is broad: visions of A.I. range from playful experiments (The Next Rembrandt, 2016) or somber prognoses of apocalyptic technological singularities (Elon Musk or Stephen Hawking) to recent publications by Thomas Ramge (2018), Manuela Lenzen (2018) or Yuval Noah Harari (2015).
Similarly, robotic machines, androids, or supercomputers have long played out their various more or less intelligent designs in literature and film. While A.I. in both media has received commensurate scholarly attention, comics studies lag behind. So far, the appearance of synthetic humans, artificial intelligence, and algorithmic minds in image and text, panels and sequences has not been given its due. In order to change this and approach the A.I.-shaped blind spot in comics studies, the next issue of CLOSURE will focus on robots, androids and cyborgs, on transhumanism and all forms of artificial intelligence in all manner of comics, manga, bandes dessinées, graphic novels, or webcomics. Possible objects (or subjects?) of inquiry include Astro Boy (1952-1968), Magnus, Robot Fighter (1963), 2001 Nights (1984-1986), Descender (2017), Pluto (2014), Symmetry (2016), Alex + Ada (2013-2015), Injection (2015-) or Lescheks Flug (2012).
What characterizes this and other representations of artificial intelligence in sequential art? Which analogies and contrasts can be gleaned from a comparative appraisal of other media? What does the comic form teach us about broader relations of text and image, narrative and network? How does the medium ‘comic’ imagine, picture, interface, and narrate A.I.? How do comics interact with scientific, legal, political, or didactic approaches to A.I.? Can medially specific, historical, systematic, or cultural observations be placed in relation to broader social, technological, or mythological discourses?
Possible subject areas include, but are not limited to:
- The transhuman and the posthuman: How do digital/electronic/biological developments influence the comics form?
- Incorporation: A.I. and robots as fetish; (artificial) corporeality as project and projection, the eros of A.I., psychosemiosis without a body
- Mechanical otherness, antagonism, and the conditio humana: how do we fight the machines, and how do they strike back? Which values are at stake in such imagined conflicts?
- Laws of Robotics, cyborgs, and the changing ethics of A.I.: moral implications, responsibilities, and the rights of A.I.
- Utopias/Dystopias: scenarios of danger and the appeal of an A.I.-based future; which concepts of cultural and civilizational criticism are evoked, updated, or discarded?
- Form, format, formal affordances: which texts, images, and imagetexts evoke material and immaterial forms of artificial intelligence?
- Learn to draw, Skynet: how is humanity transcended in and by comics? What are the strategies of representation, production and reception of trans-human comics? What are the prospects of A.I.-generated comics? Which algorithms disseminate comics? Is there artificial creativity – and who gets to make that judgment in the first place?
Please send your abstract for the open section or the thematic section (~ 3000 chars.) as well as a short bio-bibliographical blurb to firstname.lastname@example.org until December 20th, 2018.
The contributions (35.000-50.000 chars) are expected until March 30th, 2019.
For more information about the e-journal CLOSURE and our previous issues, please visit www.closure.uni-kiel.de
Kiel University E-journal for Comics Studies