Northern Star Symposium 2023: Disintegration

Northern Star Symposium 2023: Disintegration
The Northern Star Symposium is a three-day academic gathering in Bodø. The goal of this symposium is to have a place to discuss topics and questions that are not among the mainstream of conferences and journals.

The Northern Star Symposium is a three-day academic gathering in Bodø, a Norwegian city just north of the Arctic Circle. The goal of this symposium is to have a place to discuss topics and questions that are not among the mainstream of conferences and journals, a place to test out new ideas and listen to fresh voices in academia. The keynote speakers will not have presented elsewhere, and the participants are there to satisfy their curiosity and their interest, foster new directions of research and exploration, and engage in debate and the exchange of knowledge. The symposium is organised annually, and it has a limited number of attendants.

The Northern Star Symposium is organised by the Journalism research group within the Faculty of Social Sciences, Nord University, Bodø.

The topic for 2023 is Disintegration 

Disintegration marks the end of things as we have known them. This can mean disintegration of identities and the crisis of identities when old configurations of the self are increasingly challenged. 

Disintegration can be a form of violence, when something is forced to come apart, both ways of pressure and ways of direct violence. We also see disintegration of institutions at a growing speed.

Disintegration is both internal and external to us. Our attention is continuously becoming more and more disintegrated as we attempt to engage with multiple tasks, streams of information, and modes of being at once. Material things, too, disintegrate. There is a sense of decay and things coming apart around us: the world itself is disintegrating, as we see the crisis of the impact of human hands on the climate, and the disintegration of global security. There is a general sense of dishevelment and collapse. 

However, with disintegration, we also see new forms of configurations and organisation. Things come together in surprising ways.  Reconfigurations of institutions, as wells as new entities, emerge, and revolutions in a broad sense clear the way for new constellations of things, materials, and people. 

In this year's symposium, we want to examine the ways things, ways of being, ideas, institutions, and artefacts are disintegrating. We invite reflections on how different forms of technologies, media, and play contribute to disintegration of attention, identities and communities, as well as evoke the question what is the role of play when ‘everything’ is coming apart, disintegrating. Equally important, we would like to examine how this entropy creates new forms and meaning when decay gives way to growth.


We invite abstracts of up to 500 words (not including literature lists), for the following formats:

  • Paper
  • Work in progress
  • Reflection

Reflections: This is a flight of fancy, a description of potential ideas and connections that the concept Disintegration fosters. 

Abstract: This is a summary of a relevant research project you have done, and which you would like to present to the others. 

Work in progress: This is a work you would like feedback on. 

We also invite more formats:

  • Experiences
  • Performance
  • Experimentation
  • Roleplay

Feedback: You will get a commenter, and be asked to provide feedback on the work of another person. 


  • ​Early deadline 17th March. We start accepting from this date. (Saint Patrick’s day)
  • First date of decisions: 20th of March. (Spring equinox.)
  • Late deadline 17th April.  (Saint Kateri Tekakwita’s day)

Submit by email to: 

​Selection process

Submissions are not anonymously reviewed. Program decisions will be made by the program committee:

  • ​Torill Elvira Mortensen
  • Tomasz Majkowski
  • Mike Hyslop Graham
  • Dom Ford
  • Maria Ruotsalainen


(Temporary presentation)

Lucie Chateau: The Politics of Image Degradation

Online, images slowly disintegrate by virtue of their own circulation. As they travel through networks, they lose resolution, information and quality and become degraded images. Degraded images are a by-product of circulatory logics within digital capitalism, but also a powerful tool for thinking beyond the commodifying logics of the internet. I unpack here how image degradation is played with and engineered by meme-producing communities. This is a desired technique of obfuscation that can make ways of seeing and interpreting online images more complex. Therefore, the idea of degradation as a cultural strategy emerges from the cultural and aesthetic production of certain online communities that are shaped by their desire to avoid mainstream social media logic.

Lucie Chateau is a PhD researcher at Tilburg University in the Netherlands whose work focuses on the possibility of aesthetic subversion online and the role of memes. She researches and analyses emergent experimental aesthetics that develop in the digital space subsequent to memetic forms of image production becoming the predominant image distribution model on social networking platforms. Lucie’s work has therefore looked at depression memes, anti-capitalist memes and climate change memes, but seeks to maintain a broader outlook on the ways in which political subjectivity and technological infrastructure have come to form aesthetic assemblages online. Recently, her work has focuses on the aesthetics of image degradation and poor images.

Marta Mboka Tveit: Orders unseen: Disintegration, radical hope and conviviality in Norwegian and African climate future texts

​As colonial and post-colonial structures disintegrate, are we witnessing conditions of chaos, or of possibility? Through studying the idea of the future in speculative fiction from Norway and Africa, it is observed that the African texts are often more hopeful than their Norwegian counterparts. Within the research this is interpreted as radical hope, - rooted in lived experience of adaptability and resilience. It is argued that elastic orders are at play in much of the world, that often go under the radar of social studies. In these orders unseen there is great potential. As the climate crisis deepens, we may see futures marked by increased violence, decreased regard for life and well-being, reinforced protectionistic modern-day empires, and the disintegration of civil liberties and rights. We may simultaneously or subsequently see strengthened true community, with its large organizational and democratic potential.

Marta Mboka Tveit is a PhD-candidate at the Institute for Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, Norway. Her research with the CoFutures Research Group ( is entitled "Troublesome Climate Futures: A study of Norwegian and African speculative fiction". She has some years behind her as a freelancer journalist, and has among other things written regularly for Klassekampen, created podcast-series, and edited the anthology “Maskespillet i Kongo” on the French and Moland case. Academically, she has a background in Global Media-studies (SOAS School of Oriental and African Studies) and African studies (University of Oxford).


Venue: Nordland kultursenter: Stabburet. Gamle Riksvei 53, 8070 Bodø.

Monday 22nd of May

13:00 Welcome! Introduction and coffee with Torill Mortensen

13:30 Keynote: Marta Mboka Tveit – Orders unseen: Disintegration, radical hope and conviviality in Norwegian and African climate future texts

14:30 Andrew Phelps & Mia Consalvo – A Fantastic Imagination of Digital Disintegration: The Gestalt and Rhetoric of the Atomization of the Social Network/Virtual World
Commenters: Lisbeth Klastrup & Agata Waszkiewicz

15:15 Coffee break

15:30 Ville Malinen – The history and status of sim racing in Europe and East-Asia and Oceania Commenters: Torill Mortensen & Chris Ingraham

16:15: Benjamins R. Bates – Walking (and drinking) through Bermondsey and Rotherhidle, London, UK: An exploration of community disintegration and reintegration through the British public house
Commenters: Matilda Ståhl & Ida Kvilhaug Sekanina

17:00 End + Walk to ‘instagramable’ location

Tuesday 23rd of May

09:00 Coffee and intro

09:45 Ida Kvilhaug Sekanina – The disintegrating of the world as we know it? (The lack of) environmental discourse amongst Norwegian doomsday preppers on Facebook
Commenters: Nick Taylor & Frederik Grønbæk Aarup

10:00 Agata Waszkiewicz – Kaleidoscopic Disintegration in Genesis Noir
Commenters: Maria Ruotsalainen & Chris Ingraham

10:45 Coffee break

11:00 Keynote: Lucie Chateau - The Politics of Image Degradation

12:00 Lunch

13:00 Lisbeth Klastrup – The Disintegration of the Author in the Age of Clever AI?
Commenters: Robin Longobardi & Joan Falcó-Roget

13:45 Maria Ruotsalainen & Mikko Meriläinen – Shared agency in competitive team-based videogame play
Commenters: Kristine Jørgensen & Fredrik Rusk

14:30 Coffee break

14:45 Joan Falcó-Roget & Jan K. Argasinski – Disintegrated ontologies of ChatGPT
Commenters: Andrew Phelps & Benjamins R. Bates

15:30 Tomasz Majkowski – Disrupting National Cannon (with board games)
Commenters: Nancy Sithole & Ida Kvilhaug Sekanina

16:15 Nick Taylor & Chris Ingraham – The pleasures and perils of (non)disintegrating plastic pieces
Commenters: Marta Mboka Tveit & Kristian Bjørkelo

17:15 End

19:00 Dinner

Wednesday 24th of May

09:30 Coffee and intro

09:45 Robin Longobardi Zingarelli – Fragmented subjectivity in virtual worlds
Commenters: Mike Graham & Lisbeth Klastrup

10:30 Fredrik Rusk & Matilda Ståhl – Community disintegrated - processes of dis- and re-integration
on an online youth center
Commenters: Tomasz Majkowski & Jan K. Argasinski

11:15 Coffee break

11:30 Kristine Jørgensen – Game Culture as Dis/Integrated: A presentation of a new research project
Commenters: Ville Malinen & Fredrik Rusk

12:15 Lunch

13:15 Kristian Bjørkelo – Setting the (disintegrated) stage - an early playtest
Commenters: Andrew Phelps & Joan Falcó-Roget

14:45 Coffee break

15:00 Nancy Sithole – New democratic parties and the Messianic glorification has killed democracy
Commenters: Torill Mortensen & Matilda Ståhl

15:45 Planning for next Northern Star symposium

17:15 End and farewell

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