The Rutgers-Camden Digital Studies Center welcomes panel proposals for the 2018 R-CADE Symposium, April 20, 2018. The deadline to submit panel proposals is November 10, 2017, and the Digital Studies Center will send panel acceptance notices by December 1, 2017. The Rutgers-Camden Archive of Digital Ephemera (R-CADE) provides scholars and artists the opportunity to do hands-on work with digital ephemera.


The R-CADE defines ephemera broadly––nearly any digital artifact can be considered “digital ephemera,” from the early videogames like Spacewar! to websites like Friendster to the iPhone 5. Given the pervasiveness of planned obsolescence, there are seemingly infinite technologies that fit the category of “digital ephemera.” Unlike many archives, the R-CADE does not necessarily aim to preserve artifacts, at least not in the traditional sense of this word. Scholars are encouraged to take apart, dissect, and repurpose artifacts as they attempt to understand their significance, explore possibilities, and retell the histories of digital technology. While the R-CADE does not preserve in the sense of keeping objects in their “original” condition, the archive is in fact an exercise in the preservation of digital culture. By allowing for the study and exploration of digital ephemera, the R-CADE aims to ensure these digital artifacts a place in our histories and our various scholarly conversations. R-CADE research outcomes may be presented in various formats including papers, lectures, remakes, hacks, performances, art objects, and other media forms.


Grant Wythoff, the 2018 R-CADE Curator and Keynote Speaker, invites panel proposals that take up the idea of technique. While many of us increasingly use the same devices, designed and manufactured by the same companies, we all have distinctly unique routines or rituals when it comes to using them. How do we analyze, write about, or celebrate the performance of an individual user? What do these techniques reveal about the values of a digital culture, or its beliefs about how complex technologies actually work?

We invite panels that explore and experiment with the ways that techniques differ and diverge when using digital devices. While the first two R-CADE Symposia focused on a single object (see the web pages for the 2015 and 2016 symposia), the 2017 Symposium featured a full day of panels, each one focusing on a single case study. 2018 will follow this format.

Participants will address either one technology that evokes questions or technique, or a specific technique in itself, using hands-on methods and a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Possible topics and approaches include but are not limited to: 

  • International and comparative frameworks for thinking about technology use as one stage along a continuum from manufacture to maintenance, repair, and recycling
  • Techniques that exceed the expected or sanctioned forms of using a tool as intended by its designers
  • Virtuosity and expert users, embodied intelligence and tacit knowledge, what Pierre Bourdieu described as habitus or the “feel for the game” that athletes have
  • The reconstruction of historical techniques in archaeology and the history of science
  • Habit, routine, and compulsion: is habit conditioned by economic, political, or technical forces? Or is crafting a personal rhythm amid those forces an act of creativity and imagination?
  • Rituals and magical thinking: doing things with our tools that we only imagine has an effect on how it works: blowing in a game cartridge, closing all background apps running on a phone 


Each accepted panel will receive a budget of up to $1,000 for the purchase of hardware, software, or any other equipment necessary for research or creative work. The R-CADE Symposium will take place during the course of a single day, and each panel will share the results of their work. Panel proposals must include the following:

  • Detailed description of the technology or technique that the panel will address
  • Discussion of why this technology or technique is of interest to artists and scholars as well as a provisional list of the research questions panelists will ask and/or creative methods panelists plan to use while exploring the technology
  • Detailed budget and budget justification for the panel (maximum $1,000)
  • Bios of each panelist (preference will be given to interdisciplinary panels)
  • Expected outcome of the research and/or creative activity and a plan for how that outcome can be shared on the R-CADE website.

Scholars and artists on accepted panels will work during the months leading up to the conference by examining, researching, and/or repurposing their shared object of study. Each panelist is free to engage the object in whatever way they see fit. They may choose to conduct an analysis of the object, to dismantle the object, and/or to develop creative work that engages it. Regardless of what panelists choose to do or make, projects should take advantage of the R-CADE’s ethos of hands-on engagement. Researchers and artists should feel free to take apart, remake, reprogram, and circuit-bend objects.

Attendees will share the results of their work at the R-CADE Symposium, which will take place April 20, 2018 at Rutgers University-Camden. Rutgers-Camden sits adjacent to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is accessible by PHL International Airport as well as rail lines. Lodging information will be available in December.