Cultural Representations of Machine Vision

Abstracts due 1 Oct/ Decisions 15 Oct/ Full papers due 15 Jan

Editors: Jill Walker Rettberg, Gabriele de Seta, Marianne Gunderson, Linda Kronman(University of Bergen)(Contact: (jill.walker.rettberg /at/ or (Gabriele.seta /at/ )

The ERC project Machine Vision in Everyday Life invites submissions to a collection of papers dedicated to the representation of machine vision technologies in cultural and creative works including fictional narratives, videogames, and artworks. The collection will be published in the Open Library of Humanities or a similar university-funded open access journal. No payment from authors will be required.

As visual technologies are increasingly automated, using machine learning to interpret and generate images, societies around the globe face practical and ethical questions about how machine vision technologies should be implemented, evaluated and governed as they impact people’s everyday life. With their anticipatory and speculative potential, cultural representations of machine vision play a key role in answering these questions.

Our premise is that cultural production – including literature, art, cinema, video games, science fiction, memes, fandom and more – is a rich source for understanding the impact of machine vision technologies on society, as well as their potential future trajectory. What can we learn from how machine vision is represented, used and discussed in digital art, video games, novels, movies, TV-series, fan fiction, electronic literature, popular culture, social media content and other aesthetically or culturally expressive genres?

The Special Collection welcomes submissions engaging with the project’s dataset on machine vision in 500 creative works (see references below) as well as qualitative analyses, close readings and speculative studies of machine vision in fiction, art, games, social media narratives, and other forms of cultural production. Creative contributions such as artworks or short fictions are also welcome.

Potential topics include:

  • Science fictional representations of machine vision
  • The use of machine vision technologies in contemporary art
  • Machine vision in videogames, board games or role-playing games
  • Cross-cultural comparisons of machine vision imaginaries
  • Corporate science fiction and the marketing of automated vision
  • Imaginations and figurations of the machine vision user
  • Surveillance assemblages and surveillant landscapes
  • Narratives of trust and distrust in machine vision
  • Machine vision and emotions
  • Analyses of the Database of Machine Vision in Art, Games and Narrative

We encourage submissions from scholars from disciplines including Communication and Media Studies, Digital Culture, Digital Humanities, Digital Anthropology, Visual Studies, Art History, Literary Studies, Science and Technology Studies and related fields.

Submission guidelines: Send your 250-word abstract to (jill.walker.rettberg /at/ by 1 October 2022. Invitations to contribute will be delivered by 15 October 2022, and full-length submissions will be due by 15 January 2023. The Open Library for Humanities offers Open Access publishing with no author-facing processing fees, and publishes submissions on a rolling basis as soon as they are accepted, so we are aiming at a speedy publication starting from February/March 2023.


Contributors are encouraged to engage with the project dataset, available on DataverseNO:

Rettberg JW, Kronman L, Solberg R, et al. (2022) A Dataset Documenting Representations of Machine Vision Technologies in Artworks, Games and Narratives. DataverseNO. DOI: 10.18710/2G0XKN.

The data can also be browsed in a more human-readable database:

More information on the data is available in this data paper:

Rettberg JW, Kronman L, Solberg R, et al. (2022) Representations of Machine Vision Technologies in Artworks, Games and Narratives: Documentation of a Dataset. Data in Brief. DOI: