Virtual Informational Digital Workshop

One-day workshop exploring cultural, social, economic and political issues in the new hybrid media environments, Thursday 10 October, Murdoch University


Garry Rodan
Asia Research Centre
Murdoch University

Electronic Media and Political Control in Singapore

In any evaluation of the impact of IT on authoritarian political structures, Singapore presents itself as a fascinating and essential case study. Here we have one of the most comprehensive strategies for the development of IT anywhere in the world, supported by huge state-led infrastructural investments. Indeed, Singapore's policy makers are committed to the transformation of the island economy in an information hub, trading in ideas rather than commodities. Yet Singapore's authoritarian leaders have no intention of surrendering political control in the process. They recognise the tension between their economic and political objectives but to day have shown some capacity for reconciling these.

Elaine Tay
School of Humanities
Murdoch University

Postcolonialism and the Internet

Using the case of Singapore, postcolonial concerns are compared with cyberspace theory in relation to the Internet, to examine where they may converge. Motifs such as "Global Village" and "Virtual Community" are juxtaposed with "Imagined Community" in order to launch a discussion of cultural identity on the Internet.

Vanessa Pogorelic
Communication Studies,
Murdoch University

The Past as a Guide to Media Futures

An examination of the similarities in past and present responses to the introduction of new media forms, with particular reference to text-based news media. The role of technological forecasting in the displacement of 'old' technologies will be discussed and contrasted with evidence of a junction between the 'old' hardcopy news format and current computer applications.

Hume Winzar
School of Business,
Murdoch University

Applications and implications of the Web for marketing

The notion that the web is a huge promotional money-making machine is highly exaggerated. The more profound effects are likely to be seen in aspects other than promotions of marketing for commercial and non-commercial organisations. The technology is likely to have significant implications for communications and information flows (obviously) but also for physical distribution systems, competition, product design and local pricing policy.

David Utting
School of Communication and Cultural Studies
Curtin University

The Audience and Interactivity: Pay TV in Australia

The purpose of this paper is threefold. Firstly, the policy framework and industry structures and practices which construct the Australian pay TV audience will be mapped. Secondly, the Pay TV audience will be demonstrated to be subject to two contradictory forces. On the one hand, traditional genres and formats are repackaged and recycled while, on the other hand the audience is being positioned to undertake a more interactive role. Lastly, a questioning of the current utility of the concept of 'audience' will be undertaken. The term is seen to require re-theorising in order that it not only cope with its present definitional elusiveness but also remain useful when applied to the newly forming interactive audience.

Jon Stratton
School of Communication and Cultural Studies
Curtin University

Email Affairs

Here I look at how email functions in relation to desire as a medium of communication. I suspect that these tentative explorations may be quite McLuhanesque in style. I'd like to try out some aspects of it on an audience.

Jane Feuer and Kathie Ferraro
Visiting Fellows
School of Culture and Communication
Curtin University

Staging The Electronic Conference: Issues and Problems

We want to talk to some of the concepts, issues, controversies and problems that attended our staging of an electronic conference. While the conference concerned was a television studies conference staged out of the University of Pittsburgh, we feel the issues that arose from the process of staging this conference apply more generally to other such conferences.

Kathryn Trees
English and Comparative Literature
Andrew Turk
Information Systems
Murdoch University

Issues in Creating a Multimedia Cultural Information System

The paper discusses the use of multi-media in the development of a cultural information system with the community at Iermugado (Roebourne). Multi-media is being used to aid in the development of a culturally appropriate interface and to enable rich representations of complex cultural heritage concepts. Progress to date will be described including discussion of a 'requirements animation prototype' using 'Director'. Key issues for the project include community involvement, ethical use of imagery and appropriate access to secret/sacred information.

Dora Marinova and Brian Peddie
Institute for Science and Technology Policy
Murdoch University

Community Environment Art Design Goes on the Web

We intend to talk about the nature of the project which is community oriented and how it evolved, e.g. original concept, technical and software solutions, difficulties, people involved and interaction with them.

Lynne D. Roberts, L.M. Smith & C. Pollock
School of Pscyhology
Curtin University of Technology

Social interaction in MOOs: Constraints and opportunities of a text-based virtual environment for interpersonal communication

MOOs (Multiple User Dimensions, Object Oriented) are synchronous text-based virtual environments accessible by multiple users simultaneously. The MOO consists of a database that is programmable by users (MOOers). This paper examines the effect of the text-based environment on social interaction within MOOs based on the results of a grounded theory study of fifty-eight past and present MOOers. Aspects of the MOO environment that affect social interaction are identified, and the way these aspects affect the communication process outlined. The time taken to communicate by typing results in more importance being placed on each message in the communication process. Emotes, emoticons and paralanguage are used to express emotions and assist in the interpretation of message texts. The geographical distance between users, absence of physical bodies, control over self-presentation, and anonymity/pseudonymity characteristic of MOOs provide MOOers with a perception of the MOO as a "safe" communication environment where they are not judged by others, are not accountable to others, and where their actions will have no "real life" consequences. This results in communication that is high in self-disclosure, the rapid formation of intense relationships, and disinhibited behaviour. These same factors also provide a communication environment that is conducive to projection and transference, misunderstandings and deceit. This research demonstrates how MOOers adapt their communication style to counteract the inherent constraints of a text-based environment to engage in "hyperpersonal communication" (Walther, 1996).

Catherine Waldby
Communications Studies
Murdoch University

Revenants: the Visible Human Project and the Digital Uncanny

This paper will address ways that the development of virtual space has affected both medical and popular understandings of the relationship between the living and the dead, using the Visible Human Project (VHP) as a metaphor for this transformation.

Phil Morle
Theatre and Drama Studies
Murdoch University


This paper introduces my position within the limen - a personal experience generated in the virtual spaces that I am within - through my actions as a performance worker; as a cyberspace cowboy and; as an experience-maker. The primary concern of this paper is to find a definition of 'virtuality' that has a concrete operating value. We must move away, to some extent, from the definitions that we construct within science fiction and technological capitalism to find a definition that is more philosophical. We must probe, self-consciously, behind the wiz-bangery to find the people who operate within virtual spaces and enquire how they negotiate realities within them. What and how does this space mean?

New: 3 October, 1996 | Now: 11 May, 2015