Digital War

Media strategies and visual politics during the full-scale attack of Russia on Ukraine

The conference Digital War: Online-Media, Visual Politics and Crowdsourcing in the Russian War against Ukraine takes the opportunity to investigate the digital war on social media and online platforms that has accompanied Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine since January 18, 2022. In this context the participants analyze digital society and its relationship to war, violence, and power in a critical and reflective manner.

In his book Radical War: Data, Attention and Control in the 21st Century, published in 2022, the sociologist and political consultant Matthew Ford, who is invited to the Vienna conference, argues that the Russian war in Ukraine is the first war between two states in Europe, that would be mediated by digital technologies and would blur the boundaries between soldiers and civilians.

Warfare on social media and online platforms has introduced a new type of mediatization of war: digital information warfare is dominated by a constant stream of images, a ‘war feed’ that generates attention with the new instruments of globalized communication spaces: news feed, subscriber principle and hash tagging.

The digital war of today is also a crowdsourcing war. Ukrainian civil society uses its smartphones to document war crimes and war damage. Combat operations, destruction, war crimes, violence and genocide are recorded, stored, and disseminated. In a new era of digital contemporary witnessing, Ukrainian media users collect audiovisual material to provide sources for later war crimes tribunals. These new forms of digital participation, online documentation and web archiving by media users and media providers create new methodological and empirical challenges for the evaluation of sources in digital forensics, criminal prosecution, and collective memory.

On October 24th and 25th, the University of Applied Arts in Vienna will become a center of excellence for the analysis of the media construction of the Russian war of invasion in Ukraine: researchers from the fields of political science, sociology, Eastern European studies, image theory, history, art theory, media studies, computational linguistics and communication studies, together with curators and artists, analyze discursive, visual and infrastructural frameworks and media that are used in the new digital war. The international conference will take place from October 24th to 25th, 2023 in the auditorium at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and will bring together 14 renowned scientists, artists and curators.


Dr. Yana Barinova (Wien/Kiew)

Dr. Mischa Gabowitsch (Wien/Moskau)

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Oleksii Yakhno (Wien/Kiew)

Prof. Dr. Vera Tolz-Zilitinkevic (Manchester)

Dr. Maksim Markelov (Manchester)

Dr. Ekaterina Degot (Graz)

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Matthew Ford (Stockholm)

Univ. Prof. Dr. Andrew Hoskins (Glasgow)

Dr. Ian Garner (Toronto)

Prof. Dr. Lyudmyla Pavlyuk (Lviv)

Prof. Dr. Grzegorz Ptaszek (Krakau)

MA Yana Lysenko (Bremen)

Prof. Dr. Serhii Zasiekin (Lutsk)

Dr. Tatsiana Astrouskaya (Marburg)

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