Apps? There’s a conference for that

Western University is hosting a major international conference this weekend (October 18-20), which will address the ever-increasing rise of mobile applications (apps) – an escalation itself motivated by the growing popularity of cloud computing and the popularity of the iPhone model of mobile computing.

Although the term “app” has been in use colloquially since 2009 – following Apple’s iPhone ad campaign built upon the slogan, “There’s an app for that” – the rapid adoption of the term and the tool was unforeseen by media theorists.

The three-day Apps and Affect conference, which includes a concert Friday night by composer and multimedia artist Paul D. Miller (A.K.A. DJ Spooky), will be held at Museum London. DJ Spooky’s DJ Mixer iPad app has been downloaded more than 12 million times in the last year. From 2012 to 2013, he was the first artist-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).

“We will look at apps in several different capacities: as a new signifier that everyone enjoys mentioning, as a sublime media object that fascinates users of mobile gadgets, as a novel technique of ubiquitous computing, and as a commodity that has succeeded extremely well on the market,” says Svitlana Matviyenko, co-organizer of Apps and Affect.

Matviyenko, a PhD student at Western’s Theory Centre and a lecturer at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies, adds, “We will also discuss the production and function of affect, or the human-computer interaction, within advertising rhetoric and everyday user experience.”

For the complete conference schedule, please visit