CyberPunk Culture Conference

July 9th / July 10th, 2020 – #cpcc20

The complexities of our contemporary techno-cultural age are embodied not in the science fiction (sf) of that ‘Golden Age’ period in the 1940s and 1950s but, instead, a cyberpunk period that emerged as a corpus of fictive thought experiments in the 1980s, evolved into diverse cyberpunk waves in the 1990s and 2000s, and is now best understood as what Thomas Foster calls a “sea change into a more generalized cultural formation” (xiv), a cultural formation that dominates our 21st-century techno-digital landscapes. To put it directly: we are living in inescapable cyberpunk futures bleeding into the interstices of our present, and these cyberpunk realities intersect with our mainstream culture at every possible angle. 

At our current moment in time, the digital has become an ever-present reality far beyond what we could have imagined only a few months ago. Sherryl Vint’s claim that “We live in a cultural moment […] in which the material and the simulated are intertwined like a Möbius strip: they each have distinct identities, but we never inhabit a moment that is purely one or the other” (229) has never been more true. Cyberpunk has proven prescient in its description of the digital invading our lifeworld, of technology becoming visceral and our realities shaped by virtual interactions.

And lastly, the reality of social distancing, lockdowns, and travel bans has fully interrupted the way that work functions for most scholars. Conventions, conferences and smaller social gatherings have fallen victim to the need to self-isolate. This is especially hard for a community of scholars that is singular at their given institutions (with few exceptions) and pushes forward in science fiction studies despite being the odd one out in departments and at universities. It is even harder for those young scholars starting out and beginning the academic quest and seeking knowledge and companionship – the need to network is lost to a virus grinding the world to a halt.

With physical conferences cancelled for 2020, the Cyberpunk Culture Conference (#cpcc 20) would like to offer a digital alternative for all those looking to present. We propose to hold a virtual conference on Thursday July 9th and Friday July 10th and “get together” on this website. Technical details are explained here. We invite conference presentations in two different formats and offer an alternative venue to discuss cyberpunk culture and its tangent areas.

Possible topics include all forms of cyberpunk and cyberculture
  • Cyberpunk literature and comics
  • Cyberpunk on screen (film, tv) and gaming
  • The Movement and its influence in the 1980s
  • Postcyberpunk, post-postcyberpunk and the development of the mode in the 1990s and 2000s
  • Cyberpunks and Cypherpunks – Hacktivism and Activism, Interstices with Cyberculture
  • Cyberpunk Nightlife: Parties, Fashion, Music
  • Cyberpunk goes Art: Photography, High Art, Design, Architecture
  • Cyberpunk and Theory (e.g. marxism, feminism, posthumanism, ecocriticism)
  • Cyberpunk and the Other: Techno-Orientalism, Afro-Futurism, Arabian Futurism, Indigenous Futurism, Alternative Futurisms
  • Culture through a pop cultural lense: Japan and its complex relation to cyberpunk
  • The world is a village: International Visions of Cyberpunk
  • Virtuality and Simulation – Consensual Hallucination that is the Matrix
  • Corporations, Zaibatsus, Globalization – Economics in Cyberpunk
  • Street Samurai and Cyberjockeys – Character and Setting
  • The street finds it use for things – Cyberpunk and Material Culture

Please send your abstract of 200-300 words and a short biographical note to <conference [at] cyberpunkculture [.] com> by May 10th, 2020. Please indicate which form of presentation you would like, either video or slides-and-text presentation and which time zone you will be presenting from.

Works Cited:
  • Foster, Thomas The Souls of Cyberfolk: Posthumanism as Vernacular Theory, U of Minneapolis P, 2005.
  • Vint, Sherryl. “Afterword: The World Gibson Made.” Beyond Cyberpunk: New Critical Perspectives, Routledge, 2010, pp. 228–33.