Dr Chris Chesher

BA (Mitchell CAE), MA (UNSW), PhD (Macquarie)
Undergraduate Curriculum Coordinator, Media &
Communications
Senior Lecturer

A20 - John Woolley Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 404 095 480
Fax +61 2 9351 2434

Website Follow Chris on Twitter
Academia.edu profile
Digital Cultures Program

Biographical details

Dr Chris Chesher is Senior Lecturer in Digital Cultures in the Department of Media and Communications. He co-founded the Digital Cultures program and the Master of Digital Communication and Culture. He was previously senior lecturer in the School of Media and Communications at the University of New South Wales. He has a PhD from Macquarie University, a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of New South Wales, and Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) from Mitchell CAE (now Charles Sturt University). His transdisciplinary approach to digital cultures, media studies and cultural studies connects with philosophy of technology, science and technology studies, games studies, internet studies, sociology of technology, human-computer interaction, social robotics, cultural robotics and digital humanities.

Research interests

His current research includes:

  • Robotics and AI beyond anthropomorphism: This project is a collaboration with the Sydney institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (SIRIS) at the University of Sydney. It challenges dominant conceptions of human-machine relations by investigating the metaphors of thought and embodiment in social robotics. I have published on the aesthetics of the robotic moving camera; the role of media in mining automation; the significance of metacommunication (Bateson) in social robots; the media cultures of robotic toys such as Lego Mindstorms (using Simondon) and Furby memes on YouTube. My current work is on the history of robot voices until voice assistants (with Justine Humphry); the face of the robot in art, science and philosophy; robotic eye machines: mediated vision and the abject (with Fiona Andreallo).
  • Invocational media: reconceptualising the computer:I argue that what defines computers is their capacity to mediate invocations. This project draws on myth and magic, the history of computing, and the dynamics of human-computer interaction to re-read digital media as invocational media. Users get the seductive power of invocation (search, gameplay, media streaming, voice assistants) to call up things at will, but this power is conditional on becoming subject to forces outside one’s control. New forms of power have emerged including disciplinary and control society formations, monopolies of invocation (IBM, Microsoft, Google), and the involuntary invocations of government and capitalist surveillance. I aim to have this work published in book form by 2021.
  • Smart homes and smart cities: In the home and in the streets, wireless networking and the internet of things are increasingly mediators of space and place, contributing to renegotiations of the private and public. I am part of a collaboration on smart street furniture (in partnership with the Faculty of Architecture and the University of Glasgow) and smart home technology (with Justine Humphry). I am also researching internet transformations in real estate advertising with lifestyle images and opportunity images using rich media. I’ve written about police databases and territories (using Deleuze & Guattari), game-like satellite navigation (using Lefebvre), real estate media and music spectatorship.

Selected previous research:

  • police databases and remediations of space (using Deleuze and Guattari)
  • the digital dark age: the fragility of computers as time-binding media (using Innis)
  • blogs and the reassertion of authorship (Foucault and Barthes)
  • actor network analysis of music spectatorship with mobile phones
  • using game conventions to negotiate space with satnavs (using Lefebvre)
  • the cultural politics of educational software (with Sarah Howard)
  • player/screen relations in video games: ’the glaze’ (using Ellis)
  • the iPhone in the history of photography (using Guattari)
  • the 'network turn’: social networks, network society, actor-networks and social media

Emerging and other research interests:

  • brain-machine interfaces
  • technologically mediated visual cultures
  • artificial intelligence
  • games as media and culture

Teaching and supervision

Teaching:

  • ARIN3620 Technology and Culture
  • ARIN6903 Digital Media and Society

Research Degree Completions:

  • César Alberto Albarrán-Torres, PhD, Encoding chance: a technocultural analysis of
    digital gambling
    (Principle Supervisor)
  • (Adam) Ping-I Ho, PhD, Value in Play: Game Items in Digital Environments (Principle Supervisor)
  • Punit Deepak Jagasia, PhD, Everyday struggles: User regulation of privacy, advertising and labour onFacebook (Associate Supervisor)
  • Eugenia Lee, PhD, Stories in the data: An analysis of climate change visualisations in online news (Associate Supervisor)

PhD and master's project opportunities

Selected grants

2019

  • Smart publics: the social, design and governance implications of repurposing street furniture and pay phones with smart benches and smart kiosks; Humphry J, Wessels B, Maalsen S, Chesher C, Dowling R, Horst H, Goggin G, Merrington P, Gangneux J, Joss S, Hanchard M, Eriksen S; Office of Global Engagement/Partnership Collaboration Awards.

2015

  • Everyday Social Media Network; Goggin G, Vromen A, Martin F, Bednarek M, Bollmer G, Brevini B, Calvo R, Chen P, Chesher C, Driscoll C, Dwyer T, Elliot A, Hutchinson J, Mann A, Martin G, Michael M, Navarria G, Race K, Rolph D, Tormey S, Weatherall K; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/FASS Collaborative Research Scheme.

Selected publications

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Book Chapters

  • Chesher, C. (2020). How Computer Networks Became Social (forthcoming). In Jeremy Hunsinger, Lisbeth Klastrup, Matthew M. Allen (Eds.), Second International Handbook of Internet Research, (pp. 1-21). Dordrecht: Springer. [More Information]
  • Chesher, C. (2018). Mechanology, Mindstorms, and the Genesis of Robots. In Steven John Thompson (Eds.), Androids, Cyborgs, and Robots in Contemporary Culture and Society, (pp. 120-137). Hershey: IGI Global. [More Information]
  • Chesher, C. (2017). Between Image and Information: The iPhone Camera in the History of Photography. In Jason Farman (Eds.), Foundations of Mobile Media Studies: Essential Texts on the Formation of a Field, (pp. 253-270). Oxford and New York: Routledge.
  • Chesher, C. (2016). Robots and the Moving Camera in Cinema, Television and Digital Media. In Jeffrey T.K.V. Koh, Belinda J. Dunstan, David Silvera-Tawil, Mari Velonaki (Eds.), Cultural Robotics: First International Workshop, CR 2015, Held as Part of IEEE RO-MAN 2015, Kobe, Japan, August 31, 2015, Revised Selected Papers, (pp. 98-106). Cham: Springer International Publishing. [More Information]
  • Chesher, C., Howard, S. (2012). Balancing Knowledge Management and Knowledge Mobility in the Connected University. In Tara Fenwick, Lesley Farrell (Eds.), Knowledge Mobilization and Educational Research: Politics, languages and responsibilities, (pp. 154-166). United Kingdon: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis. [More Information]
  • Chesher, C. (2012). Between Image and Information: The iPhone Camera in the History of Photography. In Larissa Hjorth, Jean Burgess, Ingrid Richardson (Eds.), Studying Mobile Media: Cultural Technologies, Mobile Communication, and the iPhone, (pp. 98-117). New York: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis. [More Information]
  • Chesher, C. (2006). The muse and the electronic invocator. In John Potts and Ed Scheer (Eds.), Technologies of magic: a cultural study of ghosts, machines and the uncanny, (pp. 125-140). University of Sydney: Power Publications.
  • Chesher, C. (2001). An Inventory of Australian Net Culture, Criticism and Theory. Politics of a Digital Present: An Inventory of Australian Net Culture. Melbourne: Fibreculture Publications.
  • Chesher, C., Genosko, G. (2001). Digitising the beat: police databases and incorporeal transformations. Deleuze and Guattari: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers. United States: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.
  • Chesher, C. (2001). What is new media research? Politics of a Digital Present: An Inventory of Australian Net Culture. Melbourne: Fibreculture Publications.

Journals

  • Chesher, C. (2019). Toy Robots on YouTube: Consumption and Peer Production at the Robotic Moment. Convergence, 25(1), 148-160. [More Information]
  • Chesher, C. (2013). Mining Robotics and Media Change. M/C Journal, 16(2), 1-9.
  • Chesher, C. (2012). Navigating sociotechnical spaces: comparing computer games and sat navs as digital spatial media. Convergence: the international journal of research into new media technologies, 18(3), 315-330. [More Information]
  • Wilson, J., Chesher, C., Hjorth, L., Richardson, I. (2011). Distractedly Engaged: Mobile Gaming and Convergent Mobile Media. Convergence, 17(4), 351-355. [More Information]
  • Chesher, C. (2009). Binding time in digital civilisations: Re-evaluating Innis after new media. Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, 3(1), 1-17.
  • Chesher, C. (2007). Becoming the Milky Way: Mobile Phones and Actor Networks at a U2 Concert. Continuum, 21(2), 217-225.
  • Crawford, A., Kucklich, J., Chesher, C. (2006). Gaming Networks. FibrecultureJournal: internet theory criticism research, Issue 8(2006), 1-5.
  • Chesher, C. (2004). Connection unbound by location. Griffith Review, 3.
  • Chesher, C. (2004). Neither gaze nor glance, but glaze: relating to console game screens. Scan (Sydney): journal of media arts culture, 1(1), 1-8.
  • Chesher, C., Costello, B. (2004). Why Media Scholars Should not Study Computer Games. Media International Australia, 110, 5-9.
  • Chesher, C. (2002). Why the digital computer is dead. Ctheory.
  • Chesher, C. (2001). Console games and the glaze. Scan (Sydney): journal of media arts culture, , 30-37.

Edited Journals

  • Chesher, C., Marks, P., Cleland, K. (2008). Screenscapes. Scan (Sydney): journal of media arts culture.
  • Chesher, C., Crawford, A., Kucklich, J. (2006). Fibreculture Journal; special edition: Gaming Networks. FibrecultureJournal: internet theory criticism research, 8(2006).
  • Chesher, C., Costello, B. (2004). Media International Australia. Media International Australia, 110.

Conferences

  • Chesher, C. (2012). FURO at Robotworld: human-robot metacommunication and media studies. ANZCA 2012 ADELAIDE: Communicating Change and Changing Communication in the 21s Century, Adelaide, Australia: Australian and New Zealand Communication Association.
  • Chesher, C. (2009). Converging mediations of space in computer games and spatial navigation systems. Sixth Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment (IE09), New York, USA: ACM Digital Library. [More Information]
  • Chesher, C. (2008). Binding time: Harold Innis and the balance of new media. Philosophy of the Information Society 30th International Ludwig Wittgenstein Symposium, Frankfurt; Paris; Lancaster; New Brunswick: Ontos.
  • Chesher, C. (2005). Blogs and the crisis of authorship. Blogtalk Downunder, Sydney: incsub (Incorporated Subversion).
  • Chesher, C. (2004). How to tell apart video games and new media art. Interaction: Systems, Practice and Theory A Creativity & Cognition Symposium, NSW: Creativity and Cognition Studios Press, University of Technology Sydney.

Reference Works

  • Chesher, C. (2014). Robotics. In Michael Kelly (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. Oxford University Press.
  • Chesher, C. (2006). Multi-media. Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Blackwell Publishers.

Other

  • Chesher, C. (2006), Game screens: not the gaze, nor the glance, but the glaze.
  • Chesher, C. (2006), The power of social networks.
  • Chesher, C. (2006), Topologies of desire, sensation and affect in computer games and new media art.

2020

  • Chesher, C. (2020). How Computer Networks Became Social (forthcoming). In Jeremy Hunsinger, Lisbeth Klastrup, Matthew M. Allen (Eds.), Second International Handbook of Internet Research, (pp. 1-21). Dordrecht: Springer. [More Information]

2019

  • Chesher, C. (2019). Toy Robots on YouTube: Consumption and Peer Production at the Robotic Moment. Convergence, 25(1), 148-160. [More Information]

2018

  • Chesher, C. (2018). Mechanology, Mindstorms, and the Genesis of Robots. In Steven John Thompson (Eds.), Androids, Cyborgs, and Robots in Contemporary Culture and Society, (pp. 120-137). Hershey: IGI Global. [More Information]

2017

  • Chesher, C. (2017). Between Image and Information: The iPhone Camera in the History of Photography. In Jason Farman (Eds.), Foundations of Mobile Media Studies: Essential Texts on the Formation of a Field, (pp. 253-270). Oxford and New York: Routledge.

2016

  • Chesher, C. (2016). Robots and the Moving Camera in Cinema, Television and Digital Media. In Jeffrey T.K.V. Koh, Belinda J. Dunstan, David Silvera-Tawil, Mari Velonaki (Eds.), Cultural Robotics: First International Workshop, CR 2015, Held as Part of IEEE RO-MAN 2015, Kobe, Japan, August 31, 2015, Revised Selected Papers, (pp. 98-106). Cham: Springer International Publishing. [More Information]

2014

  • Chesher, C. (2014). Robotics. In Michael Kelly (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. Oxford University Press.

2013

  • Chesher, C. (2013). Mining Robotics and Media Change. M/C Journal, 16(2), 1-9.

2012

  • Chesher, C., Howard, S. (2012). Balancing Knowledge Management and Knowledge Mobility in the Connected University. In Tara Fenwick, Lesley Farrell (Eds.), Knowledge Mobilization and Educational Research: Politics, languages and responsibilities, (pp. 154-166). United Kingdon: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis. [More Information]
  • Chesher, C. (2012). Between Image and Information: The iPhone Camera in the History of Photography. In Larissa Hjorth, Jean Burgess, Ingrid Richardson (Eds.), Studying Mobile Media: Cultural Technologies, Mobile Communication, and the iPhone, (pp. 98-117). New York: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis. [More Information]
  • Chesher, C. (2012). FURO at Robotworld: human-robot metacommunication and media studies. ANZCA 2012 ADELAIDE: Communicating Change and Changing Communication in the 21s Century, Adelaide, Australia: Australian and New Zealand Communication Association.
  • Chesher, C. (2012). Navigating sociotechnical spaces: comparing computer games and sat navs as digital spatial media. Convergence: the international journal of research into new media technologies, 18(3), 315-330. [More Information]

2011

  • Wilson, J., Chesher, C., Hjorth, L., Richardson, I. (2011). Distractedly Engaged: Mobile Gaming and Convergent Mobile Media. Convergence, 17(4), 351-355. [More Information]

2009

  • Chesher, C. (2009). Binding time in digital civilisations: Re-evaluating Innis after new media. Global Media Journal: Australian Edition, 3(1), 1-17.
  • Chesher, C. (2009). Converging mediations of space in computer games and spatial navigation systems. Sixth Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment (IE09), New York, USA: ACM Digital Library. [More Information]

2008

  • Chesher, C. (2008). Binding time: Harold Innis and the balance of new media. Philosophy of the Information Society 30th International Ludwig Wittgenstein Symposium, Frankfurt; Paris; Lancaster; New Brunswick: Ontos.
  • Chesher, C., Marks, P., Cleland, K. (2008). Screenscapes. Scan (Sydney): journal of media arts culture.

2007

  • Chesher, C. (2007). Becoming the Milky Way: Mobile Phones and Actor Networks at a U2 Concert. Continuum, 21(2), 217-225.

2006

  • Chesher, C., Crawford, A., Kucklich, J. (2006). Fibreculture Journal; special edition: Gaming Networks. FibrecultureJournal: internet theory criticism research, 8(2006).
  • Chesher, C. (2006), Game screens: not the gaze, nor the glance, but the glaze.
  • Crawford, A., Kucklich, J., Chesher, C. (2006). Gaming Networks. FibrecultureJournal: internet theory criticism research, Issue 8(2006), 1-5.
  • Chesher, C. (2006). Multi-media. Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. Blackwell Publishers.
  • Chesher, C. (2006). The muse and the electronic invocator. In John Potts and Ed Scheer (Eds.), Technologies of magic: a cultural study of ghosts, machines and the uncanny, (pp. 125-140). University of Sydney: Power Publications.
  • Chesher, C. (2006), The power of social networks.
  • Chesher, C. (2006), Topologies of desire, sensation and affect in computer games and new media art.

2005

  • Chesher, C. (2005). Blogs and the crisis of authorship. Blogtalk Downunder, Sydney: incsub (Incorporated Subversion).

2004

  • Chesher, C. (2004). Connection unbound by location. Griffith Review, 3.
  • Chesher, C. (2004). How to tell apart video games and new media art. Interaction: Systems, Practice and Theory A Creativity & Cognition Symposium, NSW: Creativity and Cognition Studios Press, University of Technology Sydney.
  • Chesher, C., Costello, B. (2004). Media International Australia. Media International Australia, 110.
  • Chesher, C. (2004). Neither gaze nor glance, but glaze: relating to console game screens. Scan (Sydney): journal of media arts culture, 1(1), 1-8.
  • Chesher, C., Costello, B. (2004). Why Media Scholars Should not Study Computer Games. Media International Australia, 110, 5-9.

2002

  • Chesher, C. (2002). Why the digital computer is dead. Ctheory.

2001

  • Chesher, C. (2001). An Inventory of Australian Net Culture, Criticism and Theory. Politics of a Digital Present: An Inventory of Australian Net Culture. Melbourne: Fibreculture Publications.
  • Chesher, C. (2001). Console games and the glaze. Scan (Sydney): journal of media arts culture, , 30-37.
  • Chesher, C., Genosko, G. (2001). Digitising the beat: police databases and incorporeal transformations. Deleuze and Guattari: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers. United States: Routledge imprint of Taylor & Francis.
  • Chesher, C. (2001). What is new media research? Politics of a Digital Present: An Inventory of Australian Net Culture. Melbourne: Fibreculture Publications.

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