Resonant networks

— Susanna Paasonen

Thesaurus definitions map out resonance in terms such as “richness or significance, especially in evoking an association or strong emotion” and “oscillation induced in a physical system when it is affected by another system that is itself oscillating at the right frequency.” More than a technical term, resonance refers to instances of being affected: to connectivity and contact between objects, ideas and people as they move one another. As a dynamic relation of varying intensities and speeds where the affective and the emotional stick and cohere, resonance gives shape to online connections and disconnections, proximities and distances between both human and nonhuman bodies. This talk explores the affordances of the notion of resonance in analysing the networked circulation of data and the affective intensities that it entails. More specifically, it deploys resonance in unpacking the notions of virality and memes in ways that both detach them from biological premises and make it possible to account for their power to affect the people engaging with them.