Call for Papers: Somaesthetics and Technology

While the digital technology spreads to almost all societal and private domains and arenas, the value of the living, sensing, feeling, acting, vibrant and intelligent body, that is, the soma itself becomes increasingly the subject of the human-computer interaction (HCI) studies.  Somaesthetics -- an interdisciplinary project that works directly with soma has been informing HCI in the last decade, with its theoretical and epistemological values, and from analytical, practical, and pragmatic points of view.

The Journal of Somaesthetics now invites articles that deal with the aesthetic relationship between technology and the soma. The special issue specifically targets the applications of somaesthetic theories on the design and evaluation of technology, and their comparison to other theoretical frameworks. The journal welcomes contributions that might be considered too theoretical in human-computer interaction dissemination channels.

Sometimes the interface between the digital technology and humans is straightforward aesthetic in that technology is used to create, for example, spaces and atmospheres by means of sound and light. Other interfaces, for example, are tracking and visualizing our bodily performance and health status. This influences our values regarding health and body performance, and ultimately our aesthetic relation to our body. GPS signals are tracking our whereabouts, advising us about, local restaurant or cultural and natural attractions or the vicinity of friends in social media.

On the other hand, the fields of social robotics or mixed realty are working with behavioural interfaces that emulate dialogical and social situations. They let us act with and experience technology as the other: our alter-ego. This does not only alter our somaesthetic experience, the social machine also acquires somaesthetic characteristics.

On a higher and more abstract level, technology is used to generate big data arrays through tracking and measuring of anonymised persons and their actions and choices. Here, sensible and perceptual bodies are re-inscribed into and transcended by visualizations of data and its many inherent correlations.

In any case, digital technology and its many differentiated interfaces shape our sensory perception of our concrete life-words and our proprioception. Increasingly, somaesthetics play an important part for the shaping of and critical reflection on complex and effective feedback loops between technology and humans. Acknowledging this role, the journal is interested in questions such as:

* Does our technology-saturated life-worlds foster and necessitate the reformulation of aesthetic theory and practice?

* How does the study of somaesthetics inform the conceptualization, design and use of technology and how is the study of somaesthetics informed by concepts and uses of technology?

* What kind of aesthetics can capture algorithmic data operations and its various feedback loops with the sensible, bodily world?

* How does the study and practices of somaesthetics inform robotics and mixed realities?

* How does the study of somaesthetics foster and critically reflect the ongoing integration and abolition of visible interfaces between digital technology and humans?

* How can and should somaesthetics obtain an ethical stance towards technology and its various devices and purposes? 

Time schedule

April 2018: Call for articles

30. June 2018: Deadline articles

1.October 2018 Peer-review back

1. November 2018: Deadline finished articles

December 2018: Publishing


Guest Editors: Associate Prof. Cumhur Erkut (Denmark), Associate Professor Sofia Dahl (Denmark, Norway), Professor Kristina Höök (Sweden), Professor Dag Svanaes (Norway, Denmark), Prof. Falk Heinrich (Denmark), Prof. Richard Shusterman (USA), 

  • Call for Papers: Bodies of Belief / Bodies of Care


    Bodies of Belief:

    Human bodies are shaped not only by their genetic endowment but also by the belief systems of the cultures in which they develop and function. Such belief systems vary from unarticulated background assumptions to ritualized practices and explicit doctrines or even to formulated laws enacted and enforced by social institutions. Likewise, belief’s somatic shaping ranges widely from the stylization of external appearance (including clothing and ornamentation) to the structuring of bodily actions and comportment (including essential practices like eating) and even to inner modes of affect (which are felt somatically). The beliefs that the human soma embodies and expresses are not confined to established social norms; they also include items of faith and commitment that are individualistic, nonconformist, or even antagonistic to the cultural mainstream. More than a mere instrument of compliance or worship, the soma is also a site and weapon of protest.

    Bodies of Care:

    Bodies are obviously the targets of one’s daily care in terms of personal hygiene, grooming, exercise, and proper nourishment. They are also objects of care in the sense of worry or concern, since we all suffer illness and death through our bodies. However, the sentient, purposive, active body or soma is also a subjectivity that examines and cares for the body as object, whether it be one’s own body or the bodies of others who one wants to help or comfort. We all need such curative help or comfort at some point in our lives; and some people devote their professional and personal lives to giving such care. Bodies need and give care in many ways and for many reasons: to overcome illness and disability, to address and alleviate dependence, to learn new skills and remedy bad habits, to inspire greater confidence for personal flourishing and greater social betterment. 

    Abstracts of 250 words, and a current CV, should be sent electronically as attachments  to Richard Shusterman at

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