July 1-3, 2020, ENS Lyon IMPEC conference sensorialities.

In keeping with the 2018 conference which examined the relationships between bodies and screens, the 2020 IMPEC conference (July 1-3, 2020, ENS Lyon) will focus on the theme of sensorialities. Indeed, the question of the sensible, i.e. what can be perceived by the senses, and its relationship with screens, is at the core of the screen-based studies that the IMPEC group considers to be its principal research focus, no matter the situation: games, work, or any other communicative situation. These new relationships can be studied through the following subtopics:

A/ What role do the five senses play in interactions through/with/in screens?

Classically, from the Western physiological point of view, it is understood that human beings possess five senses corresponding to perception receptors. Numerous other works have shown that sensoriality can exist in a more global form in which the distinction between senses is not self-evident.

In screen-based interactions, what senses are called upon in a preferential manner? How are “minor” sensorial perceptions (smell, taste) replaced or compensated for? What is the particular status of touch, since numerous interfaces allow uses to interact with applications by touching the screen? In this context, do previously unseen multi-sensorial or trans-sensorial situations exist? If so, how do they appear to us? In what ways do screen-based interactions allow us to reimagine perception and borders, the combination, or the relationships between the senses?

B/ Towards screen-based sensorialities?

Screens (tablets, smartphones, computers, etc.) rely predominantly on vision and hearing, the two senses that Western culture has traditionally privileged, thus excluding smell and taste. Touch, which has the particular status of being the only sense that leads to immediate reciprocity (to touch implies being touched), has found (again), thanks to its link with the eyes, a central role in screen-based interactions, which nevertheless appear to put its quality of immediate reciprocity to the test. What is the significance of these modifications on the interactions and on screen-based exchanges, and more generally on our sensory experience? Is it a remarkable transformation in the traditional Western hierarchisation of the senses? Can a new form of “disembodiment” be observed? Or on the contrary, can we talk about new forms of inclusion of our proximal senses (senses implying a close target of the sensory receptor, like touch, smell, and taste) compared to distant senses (like sight and hearing)? If so, in what contexts?

More broadly speaking, in screen-based interactions, are preferential sensorial forms being offered? Do remote interactions (like virtual presence) stage augmented, deteriorated or over-stimulated (too much information) sensoriality? What are the impacts of the subjects’ perceptions? Does the recent internalisation of screens (to be understood as the increasing use of certain body organs as screens connected to digital devices) offer new interaction possibilities which reconfigure sensorialities due to their mediation?

C/ How are “screen-based uses of the senses” called up and invested in interactions with particular stakes?

The theme of sensorialities in screen-based interactions offers a unique viewpoint in order to examine how people involved in these interactions have access to digital technology.

In particular, in what ways can screen-based interactions be an occasion to question disabilities, especially sensorial ones? What role is played by perceptive replacements, for example? What sensorial education can be considered in this context?

The theme of sensorialities can also lead to specific questions based on generational differences. How can the generational and transgenerational dimension be integrated into these reflections and studies?

In addition, in intercultural situations, how can the study of screen-based sensorialities allow us to question norms and social codes ? For example, in what way gaze habits, towards or away from the webcam, or the use of emoticons, vary or not according to different cultures?

Are these practices modified or reinforced depending on a specific screen-based context?

D/ What methodologies can be used to study the relationships between senses and screens?

The methodologies deployed for studying relations between sensoarialities and screens must be questionned. For instance what set-up can be used to account for and capture the sensorial dimension in screen-based interactions? How can we report on this dimension in data mining and based on what cues? And how will the analyses eventually account for this dimension?

We will be particularly looking forward to proposals reflecting upon mixed methodological frameworks or accounting for the experiencing of such a mixed approach, or else presenting innovative methodologies.


We will also appreciate the study of other questions regarding the relationship between sensorialities and screens, for this 2020 edition. This conference is meant to cater for interdisciplinarity: We will thus encourage submissions looking at interdisciplinary links between different fields of practice, even if speaking from a specific disciplinary grounding.

Submission procedures

There are three types of submissions:

  • oral presentations
  • symposia
  • workshops

Details about the submission procedures can be found here:


The deadline to submit your proposal is January 19, 2020. Proposals must be submitted online via the conference website: https://impec.sciencesconf.org/submission/submit

To contact the organising committee: groupe.impec@gmail.com




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