AND Salons \ Contract, Infect, Compete, Desire (2009)
The AND Salons were a series of midday panel discussions at Chameleon, Liverpool. An eclectic array of experts from the worlds of science, health, sport and culture considered notions of social justice, human rights and equality. AND Festival 2009 audiences joined in to assess the state of our moral codes on issues central to our time, from biopolitics to digital citizenship. A fundamental question drove our inquiry: Are we complicit in accepting normalisation or do we seek to challenge?
Debates were chaired by: Professor Andy Miah
CONTRACT | 24 September
Social contracts exist in various guises, though perhaps our most celebrated is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which aspires to guarantee fundamental freedoms. Yet, in the last two decades, there has been a widespread state-wide erosion of citizenship by media monitoring, matched only by our own complicity in digital self-surveillance. What does this mean for how we think about liberal democracy and the future of an increasingly digital Britain?
Discussants: Charlie Beckett and James Wallman
INFECT | 25 September
Our desire to transcend our biology is inextricable from the complex ways in which our own resilience can be suddenly brought into question, as manifested by the ‘swine flu’ pandemic, itself a new(s) virus. These moments draw society back into a state of primitive vulnerabilities. Can humanity be ‘fixed’ or are utopian projects merely processes of normality maintenance?
Discussants: Anders Sandberg and Dan Glaser
COMPETE | 26 September
‘Faster, Higher Stronger’; Today, we compete with ourselves, through self-augmentation and manipulation. Our biological apparatus is in flux, vulnerable, yet re-imagined by technology. What will ability and disability mean in an era of genetically modified athletes and surgically sculpted children?
Discussants: Natasha Vita-More and David James
DESIRE | 27 September
How will sex and sexuality look in 2020? In the 1990s, digital sex was described as the solution to sexually transmitted disease. But what is the state of our cybersexuality today? What will we desire in the future? Have digital liaisons become our primary mechanism through which to (mis)learn about sex?
Discussants: Trudy Barber and Nina Wakeford.