Sunday, July 10, 2011

Media, Technology And Community Entrepreneur To Speak At Bondi Beach Church on July 10th

Media, Technology And Community Entrepreneur To Speak At Bondi Beach Church on July 10th...

JULY 10: Dr. Geoffrey Sykes

Virtual Selves, Avatars and Life in the Spirit - Towards a Theology of Media

Geoffrey has taught media studies at the Universities of Western Sydney and Wollongong, and published and lectured widely in this country and in prominent overseas institutions in the areas of media, communication and semiotics. He has produced and directed several videos, which have been broadcast on SBC, ABC and Foxtel, and has wide educational distribution and sales. Currently, he has several works in progress, He is an established playwright, with over 20 professional productions. In recent years he has curated a successful program of arts and theatre at the Bushchapel Helensburgh, and is currently expanding this to include video classes and activities.

Paul Virilio, a French Catholic theologian, coined the term 'virtuality' as part of negative criticism of the illusion and false values of mass media. His work belongs in a late twentieth century tradition of critical theory about media - including Baudrillard and the Frankfurt School - that stresses the false consciousness or simulacrum of media effects. The word virtuality has found more positive, though vague, meanings in popular discussion about media - especially new media like games. The talk will seek to re-claim a richer, yet thoroughly positive and theological sense of the term 'virtuality'. While maintaining it as a media term, the paper will also begin to reclaim the rich religious sense of the term "avatar", a sense that has been lost in its bowdlerized, common use as computer jargon. The paper will distinctly link both terms to New Testament forms of spiritual identity, as well as using them to provide an explanation of some of the continuing and transformative effects of media in our society. Is the church equipped to meet the opportunities of new media? What are the implications of fast broadband and the NBN? Can we argue for a new society and spirituality, based on a theology of self and community? Can we re-evaluate Christian thinking while embracing the full potential of contemporary media? The presentation will have two parts - a talk or paper, followed by an open discussion about the paper and also about any issues to do with media, theology and the spirituality or the church. Geoffrey will also briefly mention plans for community media.


Chapel By The Sea Bondi Beach