August 5 and 6, 2022.
Dear summer theorists, This year’s Summer of Theory, the fourth, will play with the theme “IP”. What will it mean? In person? Internet Protocol? Image Processing? Input? In Progress…
I wonder if “meatspace” is an appropriate term for meeting in person when “in-person” has come to mean “virtual space” just as much as physical space has been “virtualized” — when virtual/cyberspace has cross-generated itself with the physical. Some Greco-Roman ancients were aware of the problem of the persona, or theatrical mask (Gk. prosopon), versus the modern notion of the person as (hypostasic) subject of knowledge and morality (cf. Boethius, Contra Eutychen). Is it therefore accurate to say that we only wear masks when on zoom (or on social media, according to some stereotypes of our era), and is it fair to denounce the mask, when it’s a way (met’hodos) to conceal and reveal that frees us even while it contains us? As usual, we’re not restricted to the proposed (or “prosoponed”) theme(s) — IP is a suggestion, an incitement.
The SOT rules always apply: 1. bring your weird ideas, the ones you’d never present at the usual venues; 2. this is a gathering of friends, and the event is the goal in itself, rather than as a means to another end.
The “summer” in SOT means leisure, play, the whole semiotic array of possibilities: it is a holiday, a retreat from or to the mundane, depending on your POV, a “récréation” as we say in French. Since 2020, you’re also allowed to be stupid. Add to that benevolent deceit, abscondition, concealment, lies, trickery.
This event will be hybrid, in person and in-person.
The Summer of Theory would like to express its full gratitude to the following:
- The UVic Faculty of Humanities, in particular Alexandra d’Arcy for the ongoing and generous support of the SOT for the last three years
- The Cultural, Social and Political Thought (CSPT) programme for ongoing support
- The Department of English
- The Department of French and Francophone Studies
- The Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies
- The Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies
- The Department of History and the Global South Colloquium
- The Department of Music
- The Department of Political Science
- The Department of Sociology
- And last but not least, the Office of the Vice President Research and Innovation
 William Gibson didn’t invent this term (however, Gibson did coin the term “cyberspace” in his 1982 short story, “Burning Chrome”). Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984) works through the (in)distinction between cyber- and meatspace, though “cyberspace” for Gibson is quite different to our common sense concept of it, more like a collective machine hallucination: “Strapped to a bed in a Memphis hotel, his talent burning out micron by micron, he hallucinated for thirty hours. The damage was minute, subtle, and utterly effective. For Case, who’d lived for the bodiless exultation of cyberspace, it was the Fall. In the bars he’d frequented as a cowboy hotshot, the elite stance involved a certain relaxed contempt for the flesh. The body was meat. Case fell into the prison of his own flesh” (p. 6).
 See Pierre Lévy, Qu’est-ce que le virtuel ? (1995), a book largely inspired by Deleuze’s “virtual”, in which Lévy introduces concepts of “virtualisation” (vs the West’s concept of “actualization”). For further reading, see Deleuze’s own “L’actuel et le virtuel” (English), the text on which Lévy relies a lot. Note that for both Lévy and Deleuze, “virtuel” is a broader term than “virtual” in the cybernetics sense, and closer to the philosophical concept of “potential” (dunamis).
 See Giorgio Agamben, The End of the Poem (1996/1999), “Comedy” (in particular, pp. 18-19).