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About the Symposium

The Platforms to the World symposium convenes an interdisciplinary cohort of scholars and creative practitioners at UT Dallas to address the socio-political function of boundaries, the porousness of physical barriers, and the precariousness of “border logics.” Through a series of scholarly-informed, community-facing activities, the symposium will address questions pertaining to border crossings, migrations, and other transnational transactions. Participants will pursue critical conversations and creative collaborations that address the roles of media technologies in these and related topics. Leading the symposium’s activities are three invited facilitators whose research and creative practice address these topics from a variety of perspectives.

Opening Plenary Session

Throughout the 21st century, emerging media platforms like social media or virtual reality have promised ever faster and more intimate connections with people around the world. At the same time, media technologies themselves, like drones and surveillance cameras, contribute to the reinforcement of social divisions and political borders. How do we reconcile these contradictory uses of media? The Platforms to the World plenary will address this question through an interactive discussion and multimedia presentation.

Panelists for this session include Feng-Mei Heberer (NYU), Carlos Jimenez (U of Denver) and Shannon Mattern (The New School) and ATEC professor Juan Llamas-Rodriguez as moderator. This session ultimately invites attendees to think about the relationship between our uses of media and the making and unmaking of borders in everyday life.

Attend the Opening Plenary Session

Symposium Activities

In collaboration with the ATEC Public Interactives Research Lab (PIRL), symposium participants will explore how media technologies serve to both enact and intervene in scholarly boundary-making. How does connecting and collaborating with scholars elsewhere help cultivate a critical awareness of place-ness and of the boundaries of our own work?

The symposium also considers the borders that emerge in a swiftly evolving urban landscape. Participants will visit the Trinity River, which defines the western border of Dallas, to consider how urban infrastructures perpetuate social divisions and to create media interventions based out of the Dallas Continental Bridge. What motivates and sustains “border logics,” especially as they operate in the U.S. context and in the Dallas area? How can socially engaged media intervene in these logics?

Guest Facilitators

Feng-Mei Title Card

Feng-Mei Hebereropens in a new window

Dr. Feng-Mei Heberer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University. Her research broadly engages the fields of transnational media, ethnic, feminist, and queer studies to explore the intersections of media, race, capital and migration. Her current book project examines transnational video works on Asian migration from parts of Western Europe, East Asia, and North America. Her writing has appeared among others in Sexualities and the edited volumes Asian Video Cultures and The Autobiographical Turn in German Documentary and Experimental Film.

Carlos Title Card

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Dr. Carlos Jiménez is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies at the University of Denver. His research broadly examines the role of media (mobile phones, social media, community radio, and automation) in the everyday lives of low-wage immigrant workers. While living in California, he assisted farmworkers in building a community radio station from the ground up. You can tune in to the station Radio Indígena at His current research focuses on the role of media technology in the everyday lives of laborers.

Shannon Title Card

Shannon Matternopens in a new window

Dr. Shannon Mattern is a Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research. Her writing and teaching focus on media spaces; media infrastructures; spatial epistemologies; and mediated sensation and exhibition. She is author of The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities, Deep Mapping the Media City, and Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: Five Thousand Years of Urban Media, all published by University of Minnesota Press. She also contributes a regular column about urban data and mediated infrastructures to Places, a journal focusing on architecture, urbanism, and landscape, in addition to collaborating on public design and interactive projects and exhibitions.

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Symposium Organizers

Heidi Rae Cooley

Heidi Rae Cooley

Dr. Heidi Rae Cooley is Associate Professor in the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication and co-director of the Public Interactives Research Lab (PIRL). She investigates what it means to live in an age when mobile devices have become our partners, when our accessories keep track of our steps toward optimal health, when the landscapes around us are ever “smarter” and more responsive to our movements. Her first book, Finding Augusta: Habits of Mobility and Governance in the Digital Era (2014), along with its digital supplement Augusta App, received the 2015 Anne Friedberg Innovative Scholarship Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Recent essays appear in Applied Media Studies and Making Things and Drawing Boundaries: Experiments in the Digital Humanities.