UNIVERSITY OF OREGON IN PORTLAND • APRIL 6-8, 2017

The seventh annual “What is…? ” conference-experience will engage communication, media, and nature by examining everyday life — our lifeworks and lifestyles — emphasizing the lifeworlds we live in. It will investigate how communication/media constitute and permeate all avenues and forms of life — from scale, pace, and pattern to the public, private, and organic. By building bridges through multidisciplinary networks, the event emphasizes how communication is instrumental in and for living systems. What is life and how is life mediated?

What is Life? (2017) builds on last year’s conference-experience, What is Media? (2016), expanding a transdisciplinary notion of medium/media with special attention to its material, historical, and ecological ramifications. It marks the second collaboration with scholars from the natural sciences (physical and life sciences) and the arts.


The CONFERENCE commences Thursday, April 6thdoors open at 5:00pm—with the 2017 Leonardo da Vinci Lecture featuring Fritjof Capra of The Center for Ecoliteracy and Schumacher Collegefollowed by the EXHIBITION grand opening of LIFEWORLDS at 7:00p. The event continues at 8:30a on Friday, April 7th, with Technological Culture & Aesthetics professor Jussi Parikka (Univ. of Southampton) and Toby Miller (Loughborough Univ. London). The program features plenaries with Salma Monani (Gettysburg College, PA) and Brendan Bohannan (Biology, UO). It concludes with an EXPERIENCE at the Portland Japanese Garden at 4:30p. Saturday, April 8th, begins with the Media Literacies for a Living World Roundtable featuring Divina Frau-Meigs (Univ. Sorbonne Nouvelle, France), Renee Hobbs (Univ. of Rhode Island), Antonio López (John Cabot Univ., Italy), Ed Madison (UO), and W. James Potter (UCSB). The final day, following plenaries by Gabriela Martínez (UO) and Douglas Rushkoff (Queens College, CUNY), concludes with philosopher of language, Mark Johnson (UO) and philosopher of living technologies, Mark Bedau (Reed College).

The event will bring together scholars, government and community officials, industry professionals, alumni and students, as well as scientists, artists, filmmakers, grassroots community organizations, and the public.