Center for Collaborative Arts and Media (CCAM) at Yale
Machine and Medium Symposium: Matter and Spirit


Call for Papers

In 1950, the pioneering mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing asked the world: “Can machines think?”

Published in his article in Mind when he was 38 years old, Turing’s question emerged from a life of relentless imagination. By then, Turing had applied his brilliance to help the allies win World War II and revolutionized computing—creating the foundation for much later developments in AI technologies and machine learning. His intrepidness included living as a gay man in a society that would criminalize and cause him irreparable harm for it.

Turing’s life was also shaped by the loss, as a young man, of Christopher Morcom, his best friend and unrequited love. In a letter to Christopher’s mother, Turing wrote, inspired by the latest developments in quantum mechanics: “Personally I think that spirit is really eternally connected with matter but certainly not always by the same kind of body.” Is it any wonder that Turing’s last paper explored the fundamental patterns of life?

As AI enters the mainstream, our lives are increasingly shaped and haunted by Turing. The new reality of the “machine” asks us to confront, in new ways, timeless questions of “matter and spirit.” With newer tools as “medium”—in the sense both of creation and of a means of contact with other realms—what do we stand to lose, and to find?

Suggested Topics

  • New interpretations of Turing’s legacy
  • Manifesting sentience in dialogue with the machine
  • Theory and practice around collaboration with Artificial Intelligence(s)
  • Translating between the human and the non-human
  • The automaton today

Submission Guidelines

These ideas and questions have inspired the Fall 2023 CCAM Machine as Medium Symposium: Matter and Spirit. With this Call for Papers, we invite you to explore them further.

Papers may take any form of writing (such as articles, essays, or reviews) and may include supporting material such as photos, visualizations, or other creative additions.

Accepted authors will present and discuss their work or work-in-progress in person at CCAM on Thursday, November 2 as part of the symposium’s program of events. Authors are encouraged to attend the entire symposium. They will also have the opportunity to submit a final version for publication in a printed volume to be released in 2024.

Proposals must be for work that has not been previously published.

The call for papers is now closed.