MachineMachine /stream - search for agency https://machinemachine.net/stream/feed en-us http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss LifePress therourke@gmail.com <![CDATA[The World of Wakanda - Open Source with Christopher Lydon]]> https://huffduffer.com/therourke/463320

The World of Wakanda

Black Panther, the movie, is heading toward $1-billion at the box office on just its third weekend. Already it seems that commercial success is likely not what Black Panther will be remembered for. It is a grand coming-together of African-American cultural production. The story in it is a mix of myth and magic in the made-up African nation of Wakanda.  It’s a technologically advanced society in a land that was never got colonized; and it holds the world’s only big deposits of an all-powerful mineral element, vibranium. 

Wakanda is an immense showcase of black agency and so is the movie Black Panther, in all the arts: writers and actors working off fact and fantasy, imagination and history and tough-minded politics, too. In the stunned aftermath, not least of the marvels about this movie is realizing that Black Panther, the character—and a lot of his immense fan base—is built on the culture of comic books that lots of us have never read. So this hour’s inventory of Black Panther first impressions begins with those drawings going back even before the Marvel Comics series began in the 1960s.  

John Jennings leads the way. Prolific in comic books and illustrated novels—like Octavia Butler’s Kindred, for example—Jennings grew up drawing in Mississippi. He’s Professor of Media Studies now at the University of California, Riverside. He’s dedicated his new anthology, Black Comix Returns, “to all the little black boys and girls who never have to know what it’s like NOT to see yourself as a hero, as subject, as vital to the society you live in.”

Ytasha Womack joins us from Chicago. She is a dancer, filmmaker, and futurist, who describes herself as a “champion of humanity and imagination.” She also wrote the book on Afrofuturism—the cultural aesthetic which links T’Challa, King of Wakanda, to the great jazz eccentric from Alabama, Sun Ra.

Harvey Young is our resident theater critic as well as the new dean of the College of Fine Arts at Boston University.  He’s written a lot about black performance, most notably in his Chicago oral history, Black Theater is Black Life.  

Brooke Obie is a a full-time writer and novelist who’s seen Black Panther five times so far. In her review of the movie for the black cinema site Shadow & Act—she puts forward a strong defense of “Eric Killmonger and the lost children of Wakanda.”

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò grew up in the north suburbs of Cincinnati as the child of Nigerian immigrants He’s now a PhD candidate at UCLA and will soon be an assistant professor of philosophy at Georgetown. His family history makes him still wary of the warrior class represented by Killmonger in the film. 

Evan Narcisse, the lead writer for Marvel’s “Rise of the Black Panther” series, was born in Brooklyn of Haitian parents. He grew up with the legend of Toussaint Louverture, who led a slave rebellion against French colonists and finally beat Napoleon’s Army to liberate Haiti—the only time ex-slaves defeated a great power for their freedom, for which Haitians paid a terrible price. That too is part of what Evan Narcisse brings to his work on Black Panther.

Douglas Wolk of Austin, Texax is our unofficial “dean of American comic book critics.” He has made it his life’s mission to read “all of the Marvels” and will soon write about them. This week, he gave us the short form on what they all mean.

 

http://radioopensource.org/the-world-of-wakanda/

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Fri, 02 Mar 2018 05:21:22 -0800 https://huffduffer.com/therourke/463320
<![CDATA[NXS Issue #2 Synthetic Selves]]> http://nxsworld.bigcartel.com/product/nxs-2-synthetic-selves

I contributed a short text to the second issue of NXS: Synthetic Selves. The issue centres on how the self is understood, whether we have a complete agency in constructing ourselves and what kind of images of ourselves we are broadcasting. Buy a copy Online environments are playgrounds for our identities and places for becoming the other. At face value, online platforms seem to promise us the opportunity to become anyone we want. Yet what happens online has consequences in the physical world. And what happens online is supported by the physical systems in which we grow up and live. Technology not only mediates the narratives of our daily lives, it shapes them. With contributions from

Armen Avanessian Hannah Barton Karolien Buurman Gilles De Brock Ivan Cheng Kim de Groot Benjamin Grosser Andrea Karch Kristýna Kulíková Geoffrey Lillemon Geert Lovink Aaron McLaughlin Dr. Alberto Micali Shintaro Miyazaki Nina Power Daniel Rourke Sophia Seawell Marloes de Valk Keith J. Varadi

Release Events NXS will be touring in 3 cities to present the second publication with an exclusive neon cover and screen The One Minutes series curated for the occasion.

Paris: Offprint November 9 – 12 Amsterdam: Athenaeum Nieuwscentrum November 16 Berlin: Trust Ltd November 23

You can Also find NXS at the Exhibition #13 Cybernetic Choreographies at Spectrum Berlin on November 24–26

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Fri, 10 Nov 2017 07:18:47 -0800 http://nxsworld.bigcartel.com/product/nxs-2-synthetic-selves
<![CDATA[Transmediale’s Revolution from Within]]> http://additivism.org/post/157523492477

Transmediale’s Revolution from WithinBenjamin Busch writes about the ‘alien matter’ exhibition at Transmediale, featuring The 3D Additivist Cookbook: Does agency lie in the human, the machine, or the mediation in between? Agency can be staked out in two concepts of freedom: a negative freedom-from (a refusal of things as they are) and a positive freedom-to (a refusal and simultaneously future-building project). The former entails resistance, even a claim to purity by refusing to participate in an unjust system. The latter entails refusal, but it also contains a recognition of contingency (“there is no outside”) as a means to construct an alternative future from within the entangled complex of the present.Transmediale, Berlin’s festival for art and digital culture, makes a case for the latter. Aptly titled ever elusive, the 2017 edition, its 30th anniversary, draws from the festival’s three-decade history while keeping its orientation toward the future. The theme of perpetual elusiveness picks up on expressed ambiguities between the human and nonhuman, which have become evermore intertwined. - Read the rest at ArtSlant

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Tue, 21 Feb 2017 02:43:15 -0800 http://additivism.org/post/157523492477
<![CDATA[Tate Series: Digital Thresholds: from Information to Agency (public event)]]> http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/courses-and-workshops/digital-thresholds-information-agency

I will deliver this 4-week public series at The Tate Modern throughout July 2016. Sign up! Thanks to Viktoria Ivanova for working with me to achieve this.

Data is the lifeblood of today’s economic and social systems. Drones, satellites and CCTV cameras capture digital images covertly, while smartphones we carry feed data packets into the cloud, fought over by corporations and governments. How are we to make sense of all this information? Who is to police and distribute it? And what kind of new uses can art put it to? This four-week series led by writer/artist Daniel Rourke will explore the politics and potential of big data through the lens of contemporary art and the social sciences. Participants will assess the impact the digital revolution has had on notions of value attached to the invisible, the territorial and the tangible. We will look at artists and art activists who tackle the conditions of resolution, algorithmic governance, digital colonialism and world-making in their work, with a focus on key news events yet to unfold in 2016. Session 1 Hito Steyerl: Poor Image Politics In this first session we will examine the politics of image and data resolution, with special attention to the work of artist Hito Steyerl represented in the Tate Collection. How do poor images influence the significance and value of the events they depict? What can online cultures that fetishise poor quality teach us about the economics and autonomy of information? Is being a low resolution event in a field of high resolutions an empowering proposition? Session 2 Morehshin Allahyari: Decolonising the Digital Archive 3D scanning and printing technologies are becoming common tools for archaeologists, archivists and historians. We will examine the work of art activists who question these technologies, connecting the dots from terroristic networks, through the price of crude oil, to artefacts being digitally colonised by Western institutions. Artist Morehshin Allahyari will join us via skype to talk about Material Speculation: ISIS – a series of artifacts destroyed by ISIS in 2015, which Allahyari then ‘recreated’ using digital tools and techniques. Session 3 Mishka Henner: Big Data and World Making In this session we will explore the work of artists who channel surveillance and big data into the poetic re-making of worlds. We will compare and contrast nefarious ‘deep web’ marketplaces with ‘real world’ auction houses selling artworks to a global elite. Artist Mishka Henner will join us via skype to talk about artistic appropriation, subversion and the importance of provocation. Session 4 Forensic Architecture: Blurring the Borders between Forensics, Law and Art The Forensic Architecture project uses analytical methods for reconstructing scenes of war and violence inscribed within spatial artefacts and environments. In this session we will look at their work to read and mobilise ‘ambient’ information gathered from satellites, mobile phones and CCTV/news footage. How are technical thresholds implicated in acts of war, terrorism and atrocity, and how can they be mobilised for resist and deter systemic violence?

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Tue, 17 May 2016 07:23:50 -0700 http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/courses-and-workshops/digital-thresholds-information-agency
<![CDATA[#Additivism selected for Vilém Flusser Residency Program for Artistic Research 2016]]> http://additivism.org/post/138290881251

Additivism selected for Vilém Flusser Residency Program for Artistic Research 2016

We are extremely excited to announce that our project #Additivism was accepted as recipient of the Vilém Flusser Residency Program for Artistic Research 2016. You can read the jury statement here:Morehshin Allahyari’s and Daniel Rourke’s project #Additivism sets in motion a critical approach towards 3d-printing as a technology which is all too often subsumed into the hype factor of “maker culture”. The project of additivism is a timely response to the (post-)anthropocene age where the originary agency of human creation is being called into question both by machinic automation and environmental crisis. As a bastard methodology located somewhere between accelerationism and subversion, it brings together art, design, and engineering in a radical mixture that aims at nothing less than writing the world anew. This approach that enables a concretion of the algorithmic abstraction of 3D printing resonates strongly with Vilém Flusser’s thinking on the technical image. [Read Full Statement]The residency program is a cooperation between the Vilém Flusser Archive at the Berlin University of Arts (UdK) and Transmediale, festival for art and digital culture Berlin.Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke will be in residence in Berlin through May and June of 2016 working closely on The 3D Additivist Cookbook and a related series of workshops and events.

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Fri, 29 Jan 2016 10:37:00 -0800 http://additivism.org/post/138290881251
<![CDATA[Resolution Disputes: A Conversation Between Rosa Menkman and Daniel Rourke]]> http://www.furtherfield.org/features/interviews/resolution-disputes-conversation-between-rosa-menkman-and-daniel-rourke

In the lead-up to her solo show, institutions of Resolution Disputes [iRD], at Transfer Gallery, Brooklyn, I caught up with Rosa Menkman over two gallons of home-brewed coffee. We talked about what the show might become, discussing a series of alternate resolutions and realities that exist parallel to our daily modes of perception. iRD is open to visitors on Saturdays at Transfer Gallery until April 18th, and will also function as host to my and Morehshin Allahyari’s 3D Additivist Manifesto, on Thursday April 16th. Rosa Menkman: The upcoming exhibition at Transfer is an illustration of my practice based PhD research on resolutions. It will be called ‘institutions of Resolution Disputes’, in short iRD and will be about the liminal, alternative modes of data or information representation, that are obfuscated by technological conventions. The title is a bit wonky as I wish for it to reflect that kind of ambiguity that invokes curiosity. In any case, I always feel that every person, at least once in their grown-up life, wants to start an institution. There are a few of those moments in life, like “Now I am tired of the school system, I want to start my own school!”; and “Now I am ready to become an architect!”, so this is my dream after wanting to become an architect. Daniel Rourke: To establish your own institution?

RM: First of all, I am multiplexing the term institution here. ‘institutions’ and the whole setting of iRD does mimic a (white box) institute, however the iRD does not just stand for a formal organization that you can just walk into. The institutions also revisit a slightly more compound framework that hails from late 1970s, formulated by Joseph Goguen and Rod Burstall, who dealt with the growing complexities at stake when connecting different logical systems (such as databases and programming languages) within computer sciences. A main result of these non-logical institutions is that different logical systems can be ‘glued’ together at the ‘substrata levels’, the illogical frameworks through which computation also takes place. Secondly, while the term ’resolution’ generally simply refers to a standard (measurement) embedded in the technological domain, I believe that a resolution indeed functions as a settlement (solution), but at the same time exists as a space of compromise between different actors (languages, objects, materialities) who dispute their stakes (frame rate, number of pixels and colors, etc.), following rules (protocols) within the ever growing digital territories. So to answer your question; maybe in a way the iRD is sort of an anti-protological institute or institute for anti-utopic, obfuscated or dysfunctional resolutions. DR: It makes me think of Donna Haraway’s Manifesto for Cyborgs, and especially a line that has been echoing around my head recently:

“No objects, spaces, or bodies are sacred in themselves; any component can be interfaced with any other if the proper standard, the proper code, can be constructed for processing signals in a common language.”

By using the terms ‘obfuscation’ and ‘dysfunction’ you are invoking a will – perhaps on your part, but also on the part of the resolutions themselves – to be recognised. I love that gesture. I can hear the objects in iRD speaking out; making themselves heard, perhaps for the first time. In The 3D Additivist Manifesto we set out to imagine what the existence of Haraway’s ‘common language’ might mean for the unrealised, “the powerless to be born.” Can I take it that your institute has a similar aim in mind? A place for the ‘otherwise’ to be empowered, or at least to be recognised?

RM: The iRD indeed kind of functions as a stage for non-protocological resolutions, or radical digital materialism. I always feel like I should say here, that generally, I am not against function or efficiency. These are good qualities, they make the world move forward. On the other hand, I do believe that there is a covert, nepotist cartel of protocols that governs the flows and resolutions of data and information just for the sake of functionality and efficiency. The sole aim of this cartel is to uphold the dogma of modern computation, which is about making actors function together (resonate) as efficiently as possible, tweaking out resources to maximum capacity, without bottlenecks, clicks, hicks or cuts, etc. But this dogma also obfuscates a compromise that we never question. And this is where my problem lies: efficiency and functionality are shaping our objects. Any of these actors could also operate under lower, worse or just different resolutions. Yet we have not been taught to see, think or question any of these resolutions. They are obfuscated and we are blind to them. I want to be able to at least entertain the option of round video (strip video from its interface!), to write inside non-quadrilateral, modular text editors (no more linear reading!) or to listen to (sonify) my rainbows (gradients). Right now, the protocols in place simply do not make this possible, or even worse, they have blocked these functionalities. There is this whole alternate universe of computational objects, ways that our data would look or be used like, if the protocols and their resolutions had been tweaked differently. The iRD reflects on this, and searches, if you will, a computation of many dimensions. DR: Meaning that a desktop document could have its corners folded back, and odd, non standard tessellations would be possible, with overlapping and intersecting work spaces?

RM: Yes! Exactly! Right now in the field of imagery, all compressions are quadrilateral, ecology dependent, standard solutions (compromises) following an equation in which data flows are plotted against actors that deal with the efficiency/functionality duality in storage, processing and transmission. I am interested in creating circles, pentagons and other more organic manifolds! If we would do this, the whole machine would work differently. We could create a modular and syphoning relationships between files, and just as in jon Satroms’ 2011 QTzrk installation, video would have multiple timelines and soundtracks, it could even contain some form of layer-space! DR: So the iRD is also a place for some of those alternate ‘solutions’ that are in dispute? RM: Absolutely. However, while I am not a programmer, I also don’t believe that imagining new resolutions means to absolve of all existing resolutions and their inherent artifacts. History and ecology play a big role in the construction of a resolution, which is why I will also host some of my favorite, classic solutions and their inherent (normally obfuscated) artifacts at the iRD, such as scan lines, DCT blocks, and JPEG2000 wavelets.

The iRD could easily function as a Wunderkammer for artifacts that already exist within our current resolutions. But to me this would be a needles move towards the style of the Evil Media Distribution Center, created by YoHa (Matsuko Yokokoji and Graham Harwood) for the 2013 Transmediale. I love to visit Curiosity Cabinets, but at the same time, these places are kind of dead, celebrating objects that are often shielded behind glass (or plastic). I can imagine the man responsible for such a collection. There he sits, in the corner, smoking a pipe, looking over his conquests. But this kind of collection does not activate anything! Its just ones own private boutique collection of evil! For a dispute to take place we need action! Objects need to have – or be given – a voice! DR: …and the alternate possible resolutions can be played out, can be realised, without solidifying them as symbols of something dead and forgotten. RM: Right! It would be easy and pretty to have those objects in a Wunderkammer type of display. Or as Readymades in a Boîte-en-valise but it just feels so sad. That would not be zombie like but dead-dead. A static capture of hopelessness. DR: The Wunderkammer had a resurgence a few years ago. Lots of artists used the form as a curatorial paradigm, allowing them to enact their practice as artist and curator. A response, perhaps, to the web, the internet, and the archive. Aggregated objects, documents and other forms placed together to create essayistic exhibitions. RM: I feel right now, this could be an easy way out. It would be a great way out, however, as I said, I feel the need to do something else, something more active. I will smoke that cigar some other day.

DR: So you wouldn’t want to consider the whole of Transfer Gallery as a Wunderkammer that you were working inside of? RM: It is one possibility. But it is not my favorite. I would rather make works against the established resolutions, works that are built to break out of a pre-existing mediatic flow. Works that were built to go beyond a specific conventional use. For example, I recently did this exhibition in The Netherlands where I got to install a really big wallpaper, which I think gained me a new, alternative perspectives on digital materiality. I glitched a JPEG and zoomed in on its DCT blocks and it was sooo beautiful, but also so scalable and pokable. It became an alternative level of real to me, somehow. DR: Does it tesselate and repeat, like conventional wallpaper? RM: It does repeat in places. I would do it completely differently if I did it again. Actually, for the iRD I am considering to zoom into the JPEG2000 wavelets. I thought it would be interesting to make a psychedelic installation like this. It’s like somebody vomited onto the wall.

DR: [laughs] It does look organic, like bacteria trying to organise. RM: Yeah. It really feels like something that has its own agency somehow.

DR: That’s the thing about JPEG2000 – and the only reason I know about that format, by the way, is because of your Vernacular of File Formats - the idea that they had to come up with a non-regular block shape for the image format that didn’t contradict with the artifacts in the bones and bodies that were being imaged. It feels more organic because of that. It doesn’t look like what you expect an image format to look like, it looks like what I expect life to look like, close up. RM: It looks like ‘Game of Life’. DR: Yes! Like Game of Life. And I assume that now they don’t need to use JPEG2000 because the imaging resolution is high enough on the machines to supersede bone artifacts. I love that. I love the effect caused when you’ve blown it up here. It looks wonderful. What is the original source for this? RM: I would blow this image [the one from A Vernacular of File Formats] up to hell. Blow it up until there is no pixel anymore. It shouldn’t be too cute. These structures are built to be bigger. Have you seen the Glitch Timond (2014)? The work itself is about glitches that have gained a folkloric meaning over time, these artifact now refer to hackers, ghosts or AI. They are hung in the shape of a diamond. The images themselves are not square, and I can install them on top of the wallpaper somehow, at different depths. Maybe I could expand on that piece, by putting broken shaped photos, and shadows flying around. It could be beautiful like that.

DR: It makes me think of the spatiality of the gallery. So that the audience would feel like they were inside a broken codec or something. Inside the actual coding mechanism of the image, rather than the standardised image at the point of its visual resolution. RM: Oh! And I want to have a smoke machine! There should be something that breaks up vision and then reveals something. DR: I like that as a metaphor for how the gallery functions as well. There are heaps of curatorial standards, like placing works at line of sight, or asking the audience to travel through the space in a particular order and mode of viewing. The gallery space itself is already limited and constructed through a huge, long history of standardisations, by external influences of fashion and tradition, and others enforced by the standards of the printing press, or the screen etc. So how do you make it so that when an audience walks into the gallery they feel as though they are not in a normal, euclidean space anymore? Like they have gone outside normal space? RM: That’s what I want! Disintegrate the architecture. But now I am like, “Yo guys, I want to dream, and I want it to be real in three weeks…” DR: “Hey guys, I want to break your reality!” [laughs] RM: One step is in place, Do you remember Ryan Maguire who is responsible for The Ghost in the MP3? His research is about MP3 compressions and basically what sounds are cut away by this compression algorithm, simply put: it puts shows what sounds the MP3 compression normally cuts out as irrelevant – in a way it inverses the compression and puts the ‘irrelevant’ or deleted data on display. I asked him to rework the soundtrack to ‘Beyond Resolution’, one of the two videowork of the iRD that is accompanied by my remix of professional grin by Knalpot and Ryan said yes! And so it was done! Super exciting.   DR: Yes. I thought that was a fantastic project. I love that as a proposition too… What would the equivalent of that form of ghosting be in terms of these alternate, disputed resolutions? What’s the remainder? I don’t understand technical formats as clearly as you do, so abstract things like ‘the ghost’, ‘the remainder’ are my way into understanding them. An abstract way in to a technical concept. So what is the metaphoric equivalent of that remainder in your work? For instance, I think it depends on what this was originally an image of. I think that is important. RM: The previous image of JPEG2000 does not deal with the question of lost information. I think what you are after is an inversed Alvin Lucier ‘Sitting in a Room’ experiment, one that only shows the “generation loss” (instead of the generation left over, which is what we usually get to see or hear in art projects). I think that would be a reasonable equivalent to Ryan Maguires MP3 compression work. Or maybe Supraconductivity. I can struggle with this for… for at least two more days. In any case I want the iRD to have a soundtrack. Actually, it would like there to be a spatial soundtrack; the ghost soundtrack in the room and the original available only on a wifi access point. DR: I’m really excited by that idea of ghostly presence and absence, you know. In terms of spatiality, scan lines, euclidean space… RM: It’s a whole bundle of things! [laughs] “Come on scan lines, come to the institutions, swim with the ghosts!” DR: It makes me think of cheesy things you get in a children’s museum. Those illusion rooms, that look normal through a little window, but when you go into them they are slanted in a certain way, so that a child can look bigger than an adult through the window frame. You know what I mean? They play with perspective in a really simple way, it’s all about the framing mechanism, the way the audience’s view has been controlled, regulated and perverted. RM: I was almost at a point where I was calling people in New York and asked, “Can you produce a huge stained glass window, in 2 weeks?” I think it would be beautiful if the Institute had its own window. I would take a photo of what you could see out of the real window, and then make the resolution of that photo really crappy, and create a real stained glass window, and install that in the gallery at its original place. If I have time one day I would love to do that, working with real craftspeople on that. I think that in the future the iRD might have a window through which we interface the outside. Every group of people that share the same ideas and perspectives on obfuscation need to have a secret handshake. So that is what I am actually working on right now. Ha, You didn’t see that coming? [Laughs] DR: [Laughs] No… that’s a different angle. RM: I want people to have a patch! A secret patch. You remember Trevor Paglen’s book on the symbology of military patches?

DR: Oh yeah. Where he tries to decode the military patches? Yes, I love that. RM: Yeah, I don’t think the world will ever have enough patches. They are such an icon for secret handshakes. I have been playing around with this DCT image. I want to use it as a key to the institutions, which basically are a manifest to the reasonings behind this whole exhibition, but then encrypted in a macroblock font (I embedded an image of Institution 1 earlier). There was one of Paglen’s patches that really stood out for me; the black on black one. The iRD patch should be inspired by that.

DR: Hito Steyerl’s work How Not to be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File, centres on the grid used by the military to calibrate their satellites from space. The DCT structure looks a lot like that, but I know the DCT is not about calibration. It contains all the shapes necessary to compose any image? RM: If you look up close at a badly compressed JPEG, you will notice the image consist of macroblocks. A macroblock is a block organizations, usually consisting of 8×8 pixels, that posses color (chrominance) and light (luminance) values embedded via DCT (discrete cosine transform). Basically all JPEGs you have ever seen are build out of this finite set of 64 macroblocks. Considering that JPEGs make up the vast majority of images we encounter on a daily basis, I think it is pretty amazing how simple this part of the JPEG compression really is. But the patch should of course not just be square. Do you know the TV series Battlestar Galactica, where they have the corners cut off all their books? All the paper in that world follows this weird, octagonal shape? Or Borges Library and its crimson hexagon, that holds all knowledge. I love those randomly cryptic geometric forms… DR: It reminds me of a 1987 anime film, Wings of Honneamise, that had a really wonderfully designed world. Everything is different, from paper sizes and shapes, through to their cutlery. Really detailed design from the ground up, all the standards and traditions. RM: Like this Minecraft book too. The Blockpedia. DR: Oh that’s great. I love the Minecraft style and the mythos that has arisen around it. RM: So Minecraft and Borges follow a 6 corner resolution, and Battlestar paper has 8 corners… Discrepancy! I want to reference them all! DR: So these will go into the badges? RM: I want to have a black on black embroidered patch with corners. Don’t you think this would be so pretty? This black on black. I want to drop a reference to 1984, too, Orwell or Apple, the decoder can decide. These kind of secret, underground references, I like those. DR: A crypto exhibition. RM: It’s so hot right now (and with hot I do not mean cool). Since the 90s musicians encrypt or transcode things in their sounds, from Aphex Twin, to Goodiepal and now TCF, who allegedly encrypted an image from the police riots in Athens into one of his songs. However, he is a young Scandinavian musician so that makes me wonder if the crypto design in this case is confusingly non-political. Either way, I want to rebel against this apparent new found hotness of crypto-everything, which is why I made Tacit:Blue.

Tacit:Blue uses a very basic form of encryption. Its archaic, dumb and decommissioned. Every flash shows a next line of my ‘secret message’ encrypted in masonic pigpen. When it flickers it gives a little piece of the message which really is just me ranting about secrecy. So if someone is interested in my opinion, they can decode that.

Actually, the technology behind the video is much more interesting. Do you know The Nova Drone? Its a small AV synthesizer designed by Casper Electronics. The the flickr frequency of this military RGB LED on the top of the board can be altered by turning the RGB oscillators. When I come close to the LED with the lens of my iphone, the frequencies of the LED and the iphone camera do not sync up. What happens is a rolling shutter effect. The camera has to interpret the input and something is gone, lost in translation. In fact, a Resolutional Dispute takes place right there. DR: So the dispute happens because framerate of the camera conflicts with the flicker of the LED? RM: And the sound is the actual sound of the electronics. In Tacit:Blue I do not use the NovaDrone in a ‘clean’ way, I am actually misusing it (if there is such a thing when it comes to a device of dispute). Some of the sounds and disruptions of flow are created in this patch bay, which is where you can patch the LFOs, etc. Anyway, when you disconnect the patch it flickers, but I never take it out fully so it creates this classic, noisy electric effect. What do you think about the text? Do you think this works? I like this masonic pigpen, its a very simple, nostalgic old quiff. DR: It reminds me of the title sequence for Alien. Dave Addey did a close visual, sci-fi etymological, analysis of the typography in Alien. It went viral online recently. Did you see that?

RM: No! DR: It is fantastic. Everything from the title sequence to the buttons on the control panel in the background. Full of amazing insights.

RM: Wow, inspiring!

So with any cypher you also need a key, which is why I named the video Tacit:Blue, a reference to the old Northrop Tacit Blue stealth surveillance aircraft. The aircraft was used to develop techniques against passive radar detection, but has been decommissioned now, just like the masonic pigpen encryption. DR: This reminds me of Eyal Weizman. He has written a lot on the Israeli / Palestinian conflict as a spatial phenomena. So we don’t think about territory merely as a series of lines drawn on a globe anymore, but as a stack, including everything from airspace, all the way down beneath the ground, where waste, gas and water are distributed. The mode by which water is delivered underground often cuts across conflicted territories on the surface. A stacked vision of territory brings into question the very notion of a ‘conflict’ and a ‘resolution’. I recently saw him give a lecture on the Forensic Architecture project, which engages in disputes metered against US Military activities. Military drones are now so advanced that they can target a missile through the roof of a house, and have it plunge several floors before it explodes. It means that individual people can be targeted on a particular floor. The drone strike leaves a mark in the roof which is – and this is Weizman’s terminology - ‘beneath the threshold of detectability’. And that threshold also happens to be the size of a human body: about 1 metre square. Military satellites have a pixel size that effectively translates to 1 metre square at ground level. So to be invisible, or technically undetectable, a strike needs only to fall within a single pixel of a satellite imaging system. These drone strikes are designed to work beneath that threshold. In terms of what you are talking about in Trevor Paglen’s work, and the Northrop Tacit Blue, those technologies were designed to exist beneath, or parallel to, optic thresholds, but now those thresholds are not optic as much as they are about digital standards and resolution densities. So that shares the same space as the codecs and file formats you are interested in. Your patch seems to bring that together, the analogue pixel calibration that Steyerl refers to is also part of that history. So I wonder whether there are images that cannot possibly be resolved out of DCT blocks. You know what I mean? I think your work asks that question. What images, shapes, and objects exist that are not possible to construct out of this grid? What realities are outside of the threshold of these blocks to resolve? It may even be the case that we are not capable of imagining such things, because of course these blocks have been formed in conjunction with the human visual system. The image is always already a compromise between the human perceptual limit and a separately defined technical limit. RM: Yes, well I can imagine vector graphics, or mesh based graphics where the lines are not just a connection between two points, but also a value could be what you are after. But I am not sure. At some point I thought that people entering the iRD could pay a couple of dollars for one of these patches, but if they don’t put the money down, then they would be obliged to go into the exhibition wearing earplugs. DR: [Laughs] So they’d be allowed in, but they’d have one of their senses dampened? RM: Yes, wearing earmuffs, or weird glasses or something like that. [Laughs] DR: Glasses with really fine scan lines on them that conflict with TV images or whatever. RM: [Laughs] And I was thinking, well, there should be a divide between people. To realise that what you see is just one threshold that has been lifted to only a few. There are always thresholds, you know. DR: Ways to invite the audience into the spaces and thresholds that are beneath the zones of resolutional detectability? RM: Or maybe just to show the mechanics behind objects and thresholds. DR: Absolutely. So to go back to your Tacit:Blue video, in regards the font, I like the aesthetic, but I wonder whether you could play with that zone of detectability a little more. You could have the video display at a frequency that is hard for people to concentrate on, for instance, and then put the cryptographic message at a different frequency. Having zones that do not match up, so that different elements of the work cut through different disputed spaces. Much harder to detect. And more subliminal, because video adheres to other sets of standards and processes beyond scan lines, the conflict between those standards opens up another space of possibilities. It makes me think about Takeshi Murata’s Untitled (Pink Dot). I love that work because it uses datamoshing to question more about video codecs than just I and P frames. That’s what sets this work apart, for me, from other datamoshed works. He also plays with layers, and post production in the way the pink dot is realised. As it unfolds you see the pink dot as a layer behind the Rambo footage, and then it gets datamoshed into the footage, and then it is a layer in front of it, and then the datamosh tears into it and the dot become part of the Rambo miasma, and then the dot comes back as a surface again. So all the time he is playing with the layering of the piece, and the framing is not just about one moment to the next, but it also it exposes something about Murata’s super slick production process. He must have datamoshed parts of the video, and then post-produced the dot onto the surface of that, and then exported that and datamoshed that, and then fed it back into the studio again to add more layers. So it is not one video being datamoshed, but a practice unfolding, and the pink dot remains a kind of standard that runs through the whole piece, resonating in the soundtrack, and pushing to all elements of the image. The work is spatialised and temporalised in a really interesting way, because of how Murata uses datamoshing and postproduction to question frames, and layers, by ‘glitching’ between those formal elements. And as a viewer of Pink Dot, your perception is founded by those slips between the spatial surface and the temporal layers. RM: Yeah, wow. I never looked at that work in terms of layers of editing. The vectors of these blocks that smear over the video, the movement of those macroblocks, which is what this video technologically is about, is also about time and editing. So Murata effectively emulates that datamosh technique back into the editing of the work before and after the actual datamosh. That is genius! DR: If it wasn’t for Pink Dot I probably wouldn’t sit here with you now. It’s such an important work for me and my thinking.

Working with Morehshin Allahyari on The 3D Additivist Manifesto has brought a lot of these processes into play for me. The compressed labour behind a work can often get lost, because a final digital video is just a surface, just a set of I and P frames. The way Murata uses datamoshing calls that into play. It brings back some of the temporal depth. Additivism is also about calling those processes and conflicts to account, in the move between digital and material forms. Oil is a compressed form of time, and that time and matter is extruded into plastic, and that plastic has other modes of labour compressed into it, and the layers of time and space are built on top of one another constantly – like the layers of a 3D print. When we rendered our Manifesto video we did it on computers plugged into aging electricity infrastructures that run on burnt coal and oil. Burning off one form of physical compressed time to compress another set of times and labours into a ‘digital work’. RM: But you can feel that there is more to that video than its surface! If I remember correctly you and Morehshin wrote an open invitation to digital artists to send in their left over 3D objects. So every object in that dark gooey ocean in The 3D Additivist Manifesto actually represents a piece of artistic digital garbage. It’s like a digital emulation of the North Pacific Gyre, which you also talked about in your lecture at Goldsmiths, but then solely consisting of Ready-Made art trash.

The actual scale and form of the Gyre is hard to catch, it seems to be unimaginable even to the people devoting their research to it; it’s beyond resolution. Which is why it is still such an under acknowledged topic. We don’t really want to know what the Gyre looks or feels like; it’s just like the clutter inside my desktop folder inside my desktop folder, inside the desktop folder. It represents an amalgamation of histories that moved further away from us over time and we don’t necessarily like to revisit, or realise that we are responsible for. I think The 3D Additivist Manifesto captures that resemblance between the way we handle our digital detritus and our physical garbage in a wonderfully grimm manner. DR: I’m glad you sense the grimness of that image. And yes, as well as sourcing objects from friends and collaborators we also scraped a lot from online 3D object repositories. So the gyre is full of Ready-Mades divorced from their conditions of creation, use, or meaning. Like any discarded plastic bottle floating out in the middle of the pacific ocean. Eventually Additivist technologies could interface all aspects of material reality, from nanoparticles, to proprietary components, all the way through to DNA, bespoke drugs, and forms of life somewhere between the biological and the synthetic. We hope that our call to submit to The 3D Additivist Cookbook will provoke what you term ‘disputes’. Objects, software, texts and blueprints that gesture to the possibility of new political and ontological realities. It sounds far-fetched, but we need that kind of thinking. Alternate possibilities often get lost in a particular moment of resolution. A single moment of reception. But your exhibition points to the things beyond our recognition. Or perhaps more importantly, it points to the things we have refused to recognise. So, from inside the iRD technical ‘literacy’ might be considered as a limit, not a strength. RM: Often the densities of the works we create, in terms of concept, but also collage, technology and source materials move quite far away or even beyond a fold. I suppose that’s why we make our work pretty. To draw in the people that are not technically literate or have no back knowledge. And then perhaps later they wonder about the technical aspects and the meaning behind the composition of the work and want to learn more. To me, the process of creating, but also seeing an interesting digital art work often feels like swimming inside an abyss of increments. DR: What is that? RM: I made that up. An abyss is something that goes on and on and on. Modern lines used to go on, postmodern lines are broken up as they go on. Thats how I feel we work on our computers, its a metaphor for scanlines. DR: In euclidean space two parallel lines will go on forever and not meet. But on the surface of a globe, and other, non-euclidean spaces, those lines can be made to converge or diverge. * RM: I have been trying to read up on my euclidean geometry. DR: And I am thinking now about Flatland again, A Romance in Many Dimensions. RM: Yeah, it’s funny that in the end, it is all about Flatland. That’s where this all started, so thats where it has to end; Flatland seems like an eternal ouroboros inside of digital art. DR: It makes me think too about holographic theory. You can encode on a 2D surface the information necessary to construct a 3D image. And there are theories that suggest that a black hole has holographic properties. The event horizon of a black hole can be thought of as a flat surface, and contains all the information necessary to construct the black hole. And because a black hole is a singularity, and the universe can be considered as a singularity too – in time and space – some theories suggest that the universe is a hologram encoded on its outer surface. So the future state of the universe encodes all the prior states. Or something like that. RM: I once went to a lecture by Raphael Bousso, a professor at Department of Physics, UC Berkeley. He was talking about black holes, it was super intense. I was sitting on the end of my seat and nearly felt like I was riding a dark star right towards my own event horizon. DR: [laughs] Absolutely. I suppose I came to understand art and theory through things I knew before, which is pop science and science fiction. I tend to read everything through those things. Those are my starting points. But yes, holograms are super interesting. RM: I want to be careful not to go into the wunderkammer, because if there are too many things, then each one of them turns into a fetish object; a gimmick. DR: There was a lot of talk a few years ago about holographic storage, because basically all our storage – CDs, DVDs, hard drive platters, SSD drives – are 2D. All the information spinning on your screen right now, all those rich polygons or whatever, it all begins from data stored on a two dimensional surface. But you could have a holographic storage medium with three dimensions. They have built these things in the laboratory. There goes my pop science knowledge again. RM: When I was at Transmediale last year, the Internet Yami-ichi (Internet Black Market) was on. There I sold some custom videos for self cracked LCD screens. DR: Broken on purpose? RM: Yes, and you’d be allowed to touch it so the screen would go multidimensional. Liquid crystals are such a beautiful technology. DR: Yes. And they are a 3D image medium. But they don’t get used much anymore, right? LEDS are the main image format. RM: People miss LCDS! I saw a beautiful recorded talk from the Torque event, Esther Leslie talking about Walter Benjamin who writes about snow flakes resembling white noise. Liquid crystals and flatness and flatland. I want to thank you Dan, just to talk through this stuff has been really helpful. You have no idea. Thank you so much! DR: Putting ideas in words is always helpful. RM: I never do that, in preparation, to talk about things I am still working on, semi-completed. It’s scary to open up the book of possibilities. When you say things out loud you somehow commit to them. Like, Trevor Paglen, Jon Satrom are huge inspirations, I would like to make work inspired by them, that is a scary thing to say out loud. DR: That’s good. We don’t work in a vacuum. Trevor Paglen’s stuff is often about photography as a mode of non-resolved vision. I think that does fit with your work here, but you have the understanding and wherewithal to transform these concerns into work about the digital media. Maybe you need to build a tiny model of the gallery and create it all in miniature. RM: That’s what Alma Alloro said! DR: I think it would be really helpful. You don’t have to do it in meatspace. You could render a version of the gallery space with software. RM: Haha great idea, but that would take too much time. iRD needs to open to the public in 3 weeks! * DR originally stated here that a globe was a euclidean space. This was corrected, with thanks to Matthew Austin.

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Mon, 13 Apr 2015 05:50:53 -0700 http://www.furtherfield.org/features/interviews/resolution-disputes-conversation-between-rosa-menkman-and-daniel-rourke
<![CDATA[Artistry and Agency in a World of Vibrant Matter]]> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q607Ni23QjA&feature=youtube_gdata

Hosted by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics http://www.newschool.edu/vlc http://www.veralistcenter.org

Jane Bennett - Powers of the Hoard: Artistry and Agency in a World of Vibrant Matter

How can objects sometimes be vibrant things with an effective presence independent of the words, images, and feelings they may provoke in humans? This question is posed by Political theorist Jane Bennett delivers the inaugural lecture as the Vera List Center for Art and Politics embarks on a two-year exploration of "Thingness," the nature of matter. In the face of virtual realities, social media and disembodied existences, the center's programs will focus on the material conditions of our lives.

Jane Bennet is a professor of Political Science at the Johns Hopkins University. In her latest book Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Duke, 2010), she asks how our politics might approach public concerns were we to seriously consider not just our human experience of things but the things themselves. How is it that things can elide their status as possessions, tools, or aesthetic objects and manifest traces of independence and vitality? Following the tangled threads that link vibrant materialities, human selves, and the "agentic assemblages" they form, Bennett examines what hoarders, people who are preternaturally attuned to "things," can teach us about the agency, causality, and artistry in a world overflowing with stuff. Professor Bennet is a founding member of the journal Theory & Event, and is currently working on a project on over-consumption, new ecologies, and Walt Whitman's materialism.

*Location:Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor Tuesday, September 13, 2011 6:30 p.m.

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Wed, 18 Feb 2015 13:31:32 -0800 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q607Ni23QjA&feature=youtube_gdata
<![CDATA[Gregg Segal photographs people with a week’s worth of their trash in his series, “7 Days of Garbage.”]]> http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2014/07/08/gregg_segal_photographs_people_with_a_week_s_worth_of_their_trash_in_his.html

The United States has a trash problem. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces more than 4 pounds of garbage per day. That’s more than double the amount produced in 1960, and it’s 50 percent more than the amount produced by Western Europeans.

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Mon, 14 Jul 2014 00:43:35 -0700 http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2014/07/08/gregg_segal_photographs_people_with_a_week_s_worth_of_their_trash_in_his.html
<![CDATA[Gregg Segal photographs people with a week’s worth of their trash in his series, “7 Days of Garbage.”]]> http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2014/07/08/gregg_segal_photographs_people_with_a_week_s_worth_of_their_trash_in_his.html

The United States has a trash problem. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces more than 4 pounds of garbage per day. That’s more than double the amount produced in 1960, and it’s 50 percent more than t...

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Sat, 12 Jul 2014 02:38:23 -0700 http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2014/07/08/gregg_segal_photographs_people_with_a_week_s_worth_of_their_trash_in_his.html
<![CDATA[Shimmering World Conference, 25th April 2014]]> http://tumblr.machinemachine.net/post/79964750396

shimmeringworldconference:

Vendosculant / Hannah Sawtell 2012 / Image courtesy: the artist and VIlma Gold We can now confirm the following schedule for Shimmering World: —————————————————————————————————————————————- 10.00 – Introduction from conference organisers Paul Clinton & Luke Healey First session (10.10-12.00) Keynote – Dr. Tamara Trodd (University of Edinburgh) Ian Rothwell (PhD candidate, University of Edinburgh) – ‘Bad as in Bad: Collapsing Production Values in Thomas Ruff’s Jpegs’ Harry Sanderson (artist, Arcadia Missa) – ‘In Detail: High-Definition Amplified and Amputated’ Daniel Rourke (PhD candidate, Goldsmiths College)– ‘“I like the glow that flashes red like our Krypton sun. But not this irritating noise. Make way.”’ 12.00 – Break Second session (12.20-14.10) Keynote – David Panos (Hollybush Gardens) Hannah Ellul (PhD candidate, Goldsmiths College) – ‘Picturing Political Agency: Anja Kirschner and David Panos’ Melissa Gronlund (co-editor, Afterall) – ‘Polyphony: The Dialogic and the Digital’ Dr. Cadence Kinsey (postdoctoral fellow, University College London) – ‘Semi-Automatic Images: from HD to materiality’ 14.10 –Lunch (not provided) Third session (15.00-17.10) Keynote – Ed Atkins (Cabinet/Goldsmiths College) Linda Stupart (PhD candidate, Goldsmiths College/associate lecturer, London College of Communication) – ‘Old Objects/New Materialisms’ Sheena Culley (PhD candidate, London Graduate School) – ‘The Photography of David LaChapelle: Reflections on Skin’ Shama Khanna (curator, flatness.eu) – ‘The Resistance of the Immaterial Image’ Kathy Noble (curator, Wysing Arts Centre) – ‘A Material World: The Late Late-Capitalist Body’’ 5.10 – Break 5.30 – Concluding Roundtable with keynote speakers Ed Atkins, David Panos and Dr. Tamara Trodd 6.00 – End of conference —————————————————————————————————————————————-  Hannah Sawtell’s contribution TBA  Event is free but booking is essential: tickets available at Eventbrite  

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Tue, 18 Mar 2014 05:49:00 -0700 http://tumblr.machinemachine.net/post/79964750396
<![CDATA[The Photographic Universe | Photography and Political Agency? with Victoria Hattam and Hito Steyerl]]> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqQ3UTWSmUc&feature=youtube_gdata

The Photographic Universe II brings together a range of leading practitioners, scientists, theoreticians, historians, and philosophers to consider and reflect on current discussions in photography at a pivotal moment in its history. The unique format of the conference will consist of one-on-one conversations between two individuals from disparate professional and research backgrounds. The conference will conclude with a roundtable focusing on photographic education. Learn more | http://photographicuniverse.parsons.edu/2013

Victoria Hattam (born 1954) is an Australian-born American political scientist, noted for her research on American political economy and political development, and on the role of class, race and ethnicity in American politics. Hattam recived her PhD in political science at MIT in 1987. Her doctoral dissertation on "Unions and Politics: The Courts and American Labor, 1806-1896″ was awarded the E.E. Schattschneider prize by the American Political Science Association in 1989 for the best dissertation on American government and politics. Hattam's revised dissertation was published as her first book, Labor Visions and State Power (1993) and examines why labor has played a more limited role in national politics in the United States than in other advanced industrial societies. Hattam taught at Yale University from 1987 to 1993, and was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation from 1997 to 1999 and a member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton for 2000-2001. She joined the political science faculty at The New School in New York in 1993 and is presently a professor and chair of the department. Hattam is president of the Politics and History Section of APSA for 2006--2007 and is a member of the editorial board of the journals International Labor and Working-Class Historyand Studies in American Political Development.

Hito Steyerl has produced a variety of work as a filmmaker and author in the field of essayist documentary video. Her principal topics of interest are media and the global circulation of images. In 2004 she participated in Manifesta 5, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art. She also participated in documenta 12, Kassel 2007, Shanghai biennial 2008, and Gwangju and Taipeh biennials 2010 and was the subject of numerous solo exhibitions [1] throughout Europe. In addition, Steyerl holds a PhD in Philosophy, is a professor for media art at the University of Arts Berlin and has taught film and theory at (amongst other institutions) Goldsmiths College and Bard College, Center for Curatorial Studies.

Study Photography at Parsons the New School for Design in New York City. The New School is a university in New York City offering superb training in the art of the image with access to state of the art studios, lectures from visiting professionals, and interdisciplinary collaboration and exchange. | http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/bfa-photography

Hosted by the School of Art, Media and Technology. Learn more | http://www.newschool.edu/parsons/amt

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Fri, 07 Mar 2014 04:19:21 -0800 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqQ3UTWSmUc&feature=youtube_gdata
<![CDATA[Digital Metaphors: Editor’s Introduction | Alluvium]]> http://www.alluvium-journal.org/2013/12/04/digital-metaphors-editors-introduction/

Metaphor wants to be…

‘[...] metaphors work to change people’s minds. Orators have known this since Demosthenes. [...] But there’s precious little evidence that they tell you what people think. [...] And in any case, words aren’t meanings. As any really good spy knows, a word is a code that stands for something else. If you take the code at face value then you’ve fallen for the trick.’ (Daniel Soar, “The Bourne Analogy”).

Tao Lin’s recent novel Taipei (2013) is a fictional document of life in our current digital culture. The protagonist, Paul — who is loosely based on the author — is numb from his always turned on digitally mediated life, and throughout the novel increases his recreational drug taking as a kind of compensation: the chemical highs and trips are the experiential counterpoint to the mundanity of what once seemed otherworldly — his online encounters. In the novel online interactions are not distinguished from real life ones, they are all real, and so Paul’s digital malaise is also his embodied depressive mindset. The apotheosis of both these highs and lows is experienced by Paul, and his then girlfriend Erin, on a trip to visit Paul’s parents in Taipei. There the hyper-digital displays of the city — ‘lighted signs [...] animated and repeating like GIF files, attached to every building’ (166) — launch some of the more explicit mediations on digital culture in the novel: Paul asked [Erin] if she could think of a newer word for “computer” than “computer,” which seemed outdated and, in still being used, suspicious in some way, like maybe the word itself was intelligent and had manipulated culture in its favor, perpetuating its usage (167). Here Paul intimates a sense that language is elusive, that it is sentient, and that, in the words of Daniel Soar quoted above as an epitaph, it tricks us. It seems to matter that in this extract from Taipei the word ‘computer’ is conflated with a sense of the object ‘computer’. The word, in being ‘intelligent’, has somehow taken on the quality of the thing it denotes — a potentially malevolent agency. The history of computing is one of people and things: computers were first the women who calculated ballistics trajectories during the Second World War, whose actions became the template for modern automated programming. The computer, as an object, is also-always a metaphor of a human-machine relation. The name for the machine asserts a likeness between the automated mechanisms of computing and the physical and mental labour of the first human ‘computers’. Thinking of computing as a substantiated metaphor for a human-machine interaction pervades the way we talk about digital culture. Most particularly in the way we think of computers as sentient — however casually. We often speak of computers as acting independently from our commands, and frequently we think of them ‘wanting’ things, ‘manipulating’ culture, or ourselves.

Pre-Electronic Binary Code Pre-electronic binary code: the history of computing offers us metaphors for human-machine interaction which pervade the way we talk about digital culture today [Image by Erik Wilde under a CC BY-SA license]

Julie E. Cohen, in her 2012 book Configuring the Networked Self, describes the way the misplaced metaphor of human-computer and machine-computer has permeated utopian views of digitally mediated life: Advocates of information-as-freedom initially envisioned the Internet as a seamless and fundamentally democratic web of information [...]. That vision is encapsulated in Stewart Brand’s memorable aphorism “Information wants to be free.” [...] Information “wants” to be free in the same sense that objects with mass present in the earth’s gravitational field “want” to fall to the ground. (8) Cohen’s sharp undercutting of Brand’s aphorism points us toward the way the metaphor of computing is also an anthropomorphisation. The metaphor implicates a human desire in machine action. This linguistic slipperiness filters through discussion of computing at all levels. In particular the field of software studies — concerned with theorising code and programming as praxis and thing — contains at its core a debate on the complexity of considering code in a language which will always metaphorise, or allegorise. Responding to an article of Alexander R. Galloway’s titled “Language Wants to Be Overlooked: On Software and Ideology”, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun argues that Galloway’s stance against a kind of ‘anthropomorphization’ of code studies (his assertion that as an executable language code is ‘against interpretation’) is impossible within a discourse of critical theory. Chun argues, ‘to what extent, however, can source code be understood outside of anthropomorphization? [...] (The inevitability of this anthropomorphization is arguably evident in the title of Galloway’s article: “Language Wants to Be Overlooked” [emphasis added].)’ (Chun 305). In her critique of Galloway’s approach Wendy Chun asserts that it is not possible to extract the metaphor from the material, that they are importantly and intrinsically linked.[1] For Julie E. Cohen the relationship between metaphor and digital culture-as-it-is-lived is a problematic tie that potentially damages legal and constitutional understanding of user rights. Cohen convincingly argues that a term such as ‘cyberspace’, which remains inextricable from its fictional and virtual connotations, does not transition into legal language successfully; in part because the word itself is a metaphor, premised on an imagined reality rather than ‘the situated, embodied beings who inhabit it’ (Cohen 3). And yet Cohen’s writing itself demonstrates the tenacious substance of metaphoric language, using extended exposition of metaphors as a means to think more materially about the effects of legal and digital protocol and action. In the following extract from Configuring the Networked Self, Cohen is winding down a discussion of the difficulty of forming actual policy out of freedom versus control debates surrounding digital culture. Throughout the discussion Cohen has emphasised the way that both sides of the debate are unable to substantiate their rhetoric with embodied user practice; instead Cohen identifies a language that defers specific policy aims.[2] Cohen’s own use of metaphor in this section — ‘objections to control fuel calls [...]’, ‘darknets’ (the latter in inverted commas) — is made to mean something grounded, through a kind of allegorical framework. I am not suggesting that allegory materialises metaphor — allegory functioning in part as itself an extended metaphor — but it does contextualise metaphor.

Circuit Board 2 How tenacious is metaphoric language? The persistence of computational metaphors in understanding digital culture could harm legal and constitutional understandings of user rights [Image by Christian under a CC BY-NC-ND license]

This is exemplified in Cohen’s description of the ways US policy discussions regarding code, rights and privacy of the subject are bound to a kind of imaginary, and demonstrate great difficulty in becoming concrete: Policy debates have a circular, self-referential quality. Allegations of lawlessness bolster the perceived need for control, and objections to control fuel calls for increased openness. That is no accident; rigidity and license historically have maintained a curious symbiosis. In the 1920s, Prohibition fueled the rise of Al Capone; today, privately deputized copyright cops and draconian technical protection systems spur the emergence of uncontrolled “darknets.” In science fiction, technocratic, rule-bound civilizations spawn “edge cities” marked by their comparative heterogeneity and near imperviousness to externally imposed authority. These cities are patterned on the favelas and shantytowns that both sap and sustain the world’s emerging megacities. The pattern suggests an implicit acknowledgment that each half of the freedom/control binary contains and requires the other (9-10). I quote this passage at length in order to get at the way in which the ‘self-referential nature’ of policy discussion is here explained through a conceptual, and specifically literary, framing. Technology is always both imagined and built: this seems obvious, but it justifies reiteration because the material operations of technology are always metaphorically considered just as they are concretely manifest. The perilous circumstance this creates is played on in Cohen’s writing as she critiques constitutional policy that repeatedly cannot get at the embodied subject that uses digital technology; thwarted by the writing and rewriting of debate. In Cohen’s words this real situation is like the science fiction that is always-already seemingly like the real technology. Whether William Gibson’s ‘cyberspace’, a programmer’s speculative coding, or a lawyer’s articulation of copyright, there is no easy way to break apart the relationship between the imaginary and the actual of technoculture. Perhaps then what is called for is an explosion of the metaphors that pervade contemporary digital culture. To, so to speak, push metaphors until they give way; to generate critical discourse that tests the limits of metaphors, in an effort to see what pretext they may yield for our daily digital interactions. The articles in this issue all engage with exactly this kind of discourse. In Sophie Jones’ “The Electronic Heart”, the history of computing as one of women’s labour is used to reconfigure the metaphor of a computer as an ‘electronic brain’; instead asking whether cultural anxieties about computer-simulated emotion are linked to the naturalization of women’s affective labour. In “An Ontology of Everything on the Face of the Earth”, Daniel Rourke also considers computers as a sentient metaphor: uncovering an uncanny symbiosis between what a computer wants and what a human can effect with computing, through a critical dissection of the biocybernetic leeching of John Carpenter’s 1982 film The Thing. Finally, in “The Metaphorics of Virtual Depth”, Rob Gallagher uses Marcel Proust’s treatment of novelistic spacetime to generate a critical discourse on spatial and perspectival metaphor in virtual game environments. All these articles put into play an academic approach to metaphors of computing that dig up and pull out the stuff in between language and machine. In his introduction to Understanding Digital Humanities David M. Berry has argued for such an approach: [what is needed is a] ‘critical understanding of the literature of the digital, and through that [to] develop a shared culture through a form of Bildung’ (8).

Elysium A wheel in the sky: Neil Blomkamp's futuristic L.A. plays on the territorial paranoia of the U.S. over alien invasion and dystopian metaphors of digitally-mediated environments [Image used under fair dealings provisions]

I am writing this article a day after seeing Neill Blomkamp’s film Elysium (2013). Reading Cohen’s assertion regarding the cyclical nature of US digital rights policy debates on control and freedom, her allegory with science fiction seems entirely pertinent. Elysium is set in 2154; the earth is overpopulated, under-resourced, and a global elite have escaped to a man-made (and machine-made) world on a spaceship, ‘Elysium’. Manufacturing for Elysium continues on earth where the population, ravaged by illness, dreams of escaping to Elysium to be cured in “Med-Pods”. The movie focuses on the slums of near future L.A. and — perhaps unsurprisingly given Blomkamp’s last film District 9 (2009) — plays on the real territorial paranoia of the U.S. over alien invasion: that the favelas of Central and South America, and the political structures they embody, are always threatening ascension. In Elysium the “edge city” is the whole world, and the technocratic power base is a spaceship garden, circling the earth’s orbit. ‘Elysium’ is a green and white paradise; a techno-civic environment in which humans and nature are equally managed, and manicured. ‘Elysium’, visually, looks a lot like Disney’s Epcot theme park — which brings me back to where I started. In Tao Lin’s Taipei Paul’s disillusionment with technology is in part with its failure to be as he imagined, and his imagination was informed by the Disney-fied future of Epcot. In Taipei: Paul stared at the lighted signs, some of which were animated and repeated like GIF files, attached to almost every building to face oncoming traffic [...] and sleepily thought how technology was no longer the source of wonderment and possibility it had been when, for example, he learned as a child at Epcot Center [...] that families of three, with one or two robot dogs and one maid, would live in self-sustaining, underwater, glass spheres by something like 2004 or 2008 (166). Thinking through the metaphor of Elysium has me thinking toward the fiction of Epcot (via Tao Lin’s book). The metaphor-come-allegories at work here are at remove from my digitally mediated, embodied reality, but they seep through nonetheless. Rather than only look for the concrete reality that drives the metaphor, why not also engage with the messiness of the metaphor; its potential disjunction with technology as it is lived, and its persistent presence regardless.

CITATION: Zara Dinnen, "Digital Metaphors: Editor's Introduction," Alluvium, Vol. 2, No. 6 (2013): n. pag. Web. 4 December 2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.7766/alluvium.v2.6.04

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Wed, 11 Dec 2013 15:42:41 -0800 http://www.alluvium-journal.org/2013/12/04/digital-metaphors-editors-introduction/
<![CDATA[Artist Profile: Erica Scourti]]> http://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/oct/8/artist-profile-erica-scourti

The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have developed a significant body of work engaged (in its process, or in the issues it raises) with technology. See the full list of Artist Profiles here.   Daniel Rourke: Your recent work, You Could've Said, is described as "a Google keyword confessional for radio." I've often considered your work as having elements of the confession, partly because of the deeply personal stance you perform—addressing we, the viewer or listener, in a one-on-one confluence, but also through the way your work hijacks and exposes the unseen, often algorithmic, functions of social and network media. You allow Google keywords to parasitize your identity and in turn you apparently "confess" on Google's behalf. Are you in search of redemption for your social-media self? Or is it the soul of the algorithm you wish to save? Erica Scourti: Or maybe the algorithm and social media soul is now so intertwined and interdependent that it makes little sense to even separate the two, in a unlikely fulfillment of Donna Haraway's cyborg? Instead of having machines built into/onto us (Google glasses notwithstanding), the algorithms which parse our email content, Facebook behaviours, Amazon spending habits, and so on, don't just read us, but shape us. I'm interested in where agency resides when our desires, intentions and behaviours are constantly being tracked and manipulated through the media and technology that we inhabit; how can we claim to have any "authentic" desires? Facebook's "About" section actually states, "You can't be on Facebook without being your authentic self," and yet this is a self that must fit into the predetermined format and is mostly defined by its commercial choices (clothing brands, movies, ice cream, whatever). And those choices are increasingly influenced by the algorithms through the ambient, personalized advertising that surrounds us. So in You Could've Said, which is written entirely in an instrumentalised form of language, i.e. Google's AdWords tool, I'm relaying the impossibility of having an authentic feeling, or even a first-hand experience, despite the seemingly subjective, emotional content and tone. Google search stuff is often seen reflective of a kind of cute "collective self" (hey, we all want to kill our boyfriends sometimes!) but perhaps it's producing as much as reflecting us. It's not just that everything's already been said, and can be commodified but that the devices we share so much intimate time with are actively involved in shaping what we consider to be our "selves," our identities. And yet, despite being entirely mediated, my delivery is "sincere" and heartfelt; I'm really interested in the idea of sincere, but not authentic. I think it's the same reason spambots can have such unexpected pathos; they seem to "express" things in a sincere way, which suggests some kind of "soul" at work there, or some kind of agency,  and yet they totally lack interiority, or authenticity. In this and other work of mine (especially Life in AdWords) dissonance is produced by my apparent misrecognition of the algorithmically produced language as my own- mistaking the machine lingo as a true expression of my own subjectivity. Which is not to say that there is some separate, unmediated self that we could access if only we would disconnect our damn gadgets for a second, but the opposite—that autobiography, which my work clearly references, can no longer be seen as a narrative produced by some sort of autonomous subject, inseparable from the technology it interacts with. Also, autobiography often involves a confessional, affective mode, and I'm interested in how this relates to the self-exposure which the attention economy seems to encourage—TMI can secure visibility when there's not enough attention to go round. With the Google confessional, I'm enacting an exposure of my flaws and vulnerabilities and while it's potentially "bad" for me (i.e. my mediated self) since you might think I'm a loser, if you're watching, then it's worth it, since value is produced simply through attention-retention. Affective vitality doesn't so much resist commodification as actively participate within it…

DR: You mention agency. When it comes to the algorithms that drive the current attention economy I tend to think we have very little. Active participation is all well and good, but the opposite—an opting out, rather than a passivity—feels increasingly impossible. I am thinking about those reCaptcha questions we spend all our time filling in. If I want to access my account and check the recommendations it has this week, I'm required to take part in this omnipresent, undeniably clever, piece of crowd-sourcing. Alan Turing's predictions of a world filled with apparently intelligent machines has come true, except, its the machines now deciding whether we are human or not. ES: Except of course—stating the obvious here—it's just carrying out the orders another human instructed it to, a mediated form of gatekeeping that delegates responsibility to the machine, creating a distance from the entirely human, social, political etc structure that has deemed it necessary (a bit like drones then?). I'm very interested also in the notion of participation as compulsory—what Zizek calls the "You must, because you can" moral imperative of consumerism—especially online, not just at the banal level (missing out on events, job opportunities, interesting articles and so on if you're not on Facebook) but because your actions necessarily feed back into the algorithms tracking and parsing our behaviours. And even opting out becomes a choice that positions you within a particular demographic (more likely to be vegetarian, apparently). Also, this question of opting out seems to recur in conversations around art made online, in a way it doesn't for artists working with traditional media—like, if you're being critical of it, why not go make your own Facebook, why not opt out? My reasoning is that I like to work with widely used technology, out of an idea that the proximity of these media to mainstream, domestic and wider social contexts makes the work more able to reflect on its sociopolitical implications, just as some video artists working in the 80s specifically engaged with TV as the main mediator of public consciousness. Of course some say this is interpassiviity, just feebly participating in the platforms without making any real change, and I can understand that criticism. Now that coded spaces and ubiquitous computing are a reality of the world—and power structures—we inhabit, I do appreciate artists who can work with code and software (in a way that I can't) and use their deeper understanding of digital infrastructure to reflect critically on it. DR: You've been engaged in a commision for Colm Cille's Spiral, sending personal video postcards to anyone who makes a request. Your interpretation of the "confessional" mode seems in this piece to become very human-centric again, since the work is addressed specifically at one particular individual. How has this work been disseminated, and what does your approach have to do with "intimacy"? ES: I've always liked Walter Benjamin's take on the ability of mediating technologies to traverse spatial distances, bringing previously inaccessible events within touching distance. With this project, I wanted to heighten this disembodied intimacy by sending unedited videos shot on my iPhone, a device that's physically on me at all times, directly to the recipients' inbox. So it's not just "sharing" but actually "giving" them a unique video file gift, which only they see,  positioning the recipient as a captive audience of one, unlike on social media where you have no idea who is watching or who cares. But also, I asked them to "complete" the video by adding its metadata, which puts them on the spot—they have to respond, instead of having the option to ignore me—and also extracting some labor in return, which is exactly what social media does: extracting our affective and attentive labor, supposedly optionally, in exchange for the gift of the free service. The metadata—tags, title and optionally a caption—became the only viewable part of the exchange, since I used it to annotate a corresponding black, "empty" video on Instagram, also shared on Twitter and Facebook, so the original content remains private. These blank videos record the creative output of the recipient, while acting as proof of the transaction (i.e. that I sent them a video). They also act as performative objects which will continue to operate online due to their tagging, which connects them to other groups of media and renders them visible—i.e. searchable—online, since search bots cannot as yet "see" video content. I wanted to make a work which foregrounds its own connectedness, both to other images via the hashtags but also to the author-recipients through tagging them on social media. So the process of constantly producing and updating oneself within the restrictive and pre-determined formats of social media platforms, i.e. their desired user behaviours, becomes almost the content of the piece. I also like the idea that hashtag searches on all these platforms, for (let's say) Greece, will bring up these blank/ black videos (which by the way, involved a little hack, as Instagram will not allow you to upload pre-recorded content and it's impossible to record a black and silent video...). It's a tiny intervention into the regime of carefully filtered and cropped life-style depictions that Instagram is best known for. It's also a gesture of submitting oneself to the panoptical imperative to share one's experience no matter how private or banal, hence using Instagram for its associations with a certain solipsistic self-display; by willingly enacting the production of mediated self on social media I'm exploring a kind of masochistic humour which has some affinities with what Benjamin Noys identified as an accelerationist attitude of "the worse the better." And yet, by remaining hidden, and not publicly viewable, the public performance of a mediated self is denied.

DR: An accelerationist Social Media artwork would have to be loaded with sincerity, firstly, on the part of the human (artist/performer), but also, in an authentic attempt to utilise the network completely on its terms. Is there something, then, about abundance and saturation in your work? An attempt to overload the panopticon? ES: That's a very interesting way of putting it. I sometimes relate that oversaturation to the horror vacui of art that springs from a self-therapeutic need, which my work addresses, though it's less obsessive scribbles, more endless connection, output and flow and semi-ritualistic and repetitive working processes. And in terms of utilizing the network on its own terms, Geert Lovink's notion of the "natural language hack" (rather than the "deep level" hack) is one I've thought about—where your understanding of the social, rather than technical, operation of online platforms gets your work disseminated. For example my project Woman Nature Alone, where I re-enacted stock video which is freely available on my Youtube channel—some of those videos are high on the Google ranking page, so Google is effectively "marketing" my work without me doing anything.  Whether it overloads the panopticon, or just contributes more to the babble, is a pertinent question (as Jodi Dean's work around communicative capitalism has shown), since if the work is disseminated on commercial platforms like YouTube or Facebook, it operates within a system of value generation which benefits the corporation, involving, as is by now well known, a Faustian pact of personal data in exchange for "free" service. And going back to agency—the mutability of the platforms means that if the work makes use of particular features (suchas YouTube annotations) its existence is contingent on them being continued; since the content and the context are inextricable in situations like this, it would become impossible to display the original work exactly as it was first made and seen. Even then, as with Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied's One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age, it would become an archive, which preserves documents from a specific point in the web's history but cannot replicate the original viewing conditions because all the infrastructure around it has changed completely. So if the platforms—the corporations—control the context and viewing conditions, then artists working within them are arguably at their mercy- and keeping the endless flow alive by adding to it. I'm more interested in working within the flows rather than, as some artists prefer, rejecting the dissemination of their work online. Particularly with moving image work,  I'm torn between feeling that artists' insistence on certain very specific, usually high quality, viewing conditions for their work bolsters, as Sven Lütticken has argued, the notion of the rarefied auratic art object whose appreciation requires a kind of hushed awe and reverence, while being aware that the opposite—the image ripped from its original location and circulated in crap-res iPhone pics/ videos—is an example of what David Joselit would call image neoliberalism, which sees images as site-less and like any other commodity, to be traded across borders and contexts with no respect for the artist's intentions. However, I also think that this circulation is becoming an inevitability and no matter how much you insist your video is viewed on zillion lumens projector (or whatever), it will most likely end up being seen by the majority of viewers on YouTube or on a phone screen; I'm interested in how artists (like Hito Steyerl) address, rather than avoid, the fact of this image velocity and spread. DR: Lastly, what have you been working on recently? What's next? ES: I recently did a series of live, improvised performance series called Other People's Problems direct to people's desktops, with Field Broadcast, where I read out streams of tags and captions off Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook, randomly jumping to other tags as I went. I'm fascinated by tags—they're often highly idiosyncratic and personal, as well as acting as connective tissue between dispersed users; but also I liked the improvisation, where something can go wrong and the awkwardness it creates. (I love awkwardness!) Future projects are going to explore some of the ideas this work generated: how to improvise online (when things can always be deleted/ rejigged afterwards), how to embrace the relinquishing of authorial control which I see as integral to the online (or at least social media) experience, and how to work with hashtags/ metadata both as text in its own right and as a tool.   Age: 33 Location: London, Athens when I can manage it How long have you been working creatively with technology? How did you start? 14, 15 maybe, when I started mucking around with Photoshop—I remember scanning a drawing I'd made of a skunk from a Disney tale and making it into a horrendous composition featuring a rasta flag background... I was young. And I've always been obsessed with documenting things; growing up I was usually the one in our gang who had the camera—showing my age here, imagine there being one person with a camera—which has given me plenty of blackmail leverage and a big box of tastefully weathered photos that, despite my general frustration with analogue nostalgia, I know I will be carrying around with me for life. Where did you go to school? What did you study? After doing Physics, Chemistry and Maths at school, I did one year of a Chemistry BA, until I realized I wasn't cut out for lab work (too much like cooking) or what seemed like the black-and-white nature of scientific enquiry. I then did an art and design foundation at a fashion college, followed by one year of Fine Art Textiles BA—a nonsensical course whose only redeeming feature was its grounding in feminist theory—before finally entering the second year of a Fine Art BA. For a while this patchy trajectory through art school made me paranoid, until I realised it probably made me sound more interesting than I am. And in my attempt to alleviate the suspicion that there was some vital piece of information I was missing, I also did loads of philosophy diploma courses, which actually did come in handy when back at Uni last year: I recently finished a Masters of Research in moving image art. What do you do for a living or what occupations have you held previously? Do you think this work relates to your art practice in a significant way? At the moment I'm just about surviving as an artist and I've always been freelance apart from time done in bar, kitchen, shop (Londoners, remember Cyberdog?) cleaning and nightclub jobs, some of which the passage of time has rendered as amusingly risqué rather than borderline exploitative. After my B.A., I set up in business with the Prince's Trust, running projects with what are euphemistically known as hard-to-reach young people, making videos, digital art pieces and music videos until government funding was pulled from the sector. I mostly loved this work and it definitely fed into and reflects my working with members of loose groups, like the meditation community around the Insight Time app, or Freecycle, or Facebook friends. I've also been assisting artist and writer Caroline Bergvall on and off for a few years, which has been very helpful in terms of observing how an artist makes a life/ living. What does your desktop or workspace look like? I'm just settling into a new space at the moment but invariably, a bit of a mess, a cup of tea, piles of books, and both desktop and workspace are are covered in neon post-it notes. Generally I am a paradigmatic post-Fordist flexi worker though: I can and do work pretty much anywhere—to the occasional frustration of friends and family. 

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Tue, 08 Oct 2013 07:30:18 -0700 http://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/oct/8/artist-profile-erica-scourti
<![CDATA[Spy Kids - By Charles Stross | Foreign Policy]]> http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/28/spy_kids_nsa_surveillance_next_generation?page=full

In the 21st century, the U.S. National Security Agency (and other espionage agencies) face a storm of system-wide problems that I haven't seen anybody talking about. The problems are sociological, and they threaten to undermine the way the Western security state operates.

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Thu, 29 Aug 2013 07:39:45 -0700 http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/28/spy_kids_nsa_surveillance_next_generation?page=full
<![CDATA[Artist Profile: Nick Briz]]> http://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/jul/15/artist-profile-nick-briz

Part of an ongoing series of interviews with artists who have developed a significant body of work but may not (yet) be well known to our readers. Nick Briz is an artist/educator/organizer living in Chicago, and co-founder of the conference and festival GLI.TC/H. This interview took place via Google Drive.

Nick Briz, The Glitch Codec Tutorial (2010-2011). Screenshot from YouTube video. Daniel Rourke: You are involved in an "improvisational realtime/performance media art event" at the moment called "No Media," where participants are explicitly discouraged from preparing before they take part, or from creating documentation of any kind. I was lucky enough to see the first iteration of No-Media at GLI.TC/H 2112. I think my favourite performance involved a collaboration between Evan Kühl (of Vaudeo Signal), Curt Cloninger and yourself, scrambling to get something, anything, to work. The mania of this performance stood out because of its simplicity. At base I was watching a blindfolded anarchic poet stammering over ambient noise, but it really felt as if something important had happened. I wanted to start from this stripped-back position. Before we talk about media, why no media? Nick Briz: NO-MEDIA was initially a performance experiment proposed by Jason Soliday for GLI.TC/H 2112 >> && Jason + Jeff + I have continued organizing 'em since. The premise is this: artists w/any kind of performative discipline (realtime A/V, jazz, dance, expanded cinema, noise, comedy, spoken word, etc) sign up. They get randomly paired w/two other performers at a random point in the evening (no one knows when or who until their names show up on the screen). They perform for 10mins. You’re not allowed to prepare any material (bring what tools/gear/props you want but there's NO time set aside for preparation) and there's NO documentation.  So far they've been a lot of fun, very messy + very inspiring. Re:my performance with Curt and Evan at the first NO-MEDIA, I'm not totally sure if this is the "something" you refer too... but for me there was a point a few mins into the performance where I realized what I was trying to do (some google chrome live coding) wasn't going to work... and I stopped... and I looked over at Evan and Curt... and totally changed my game plan... I don't want to go into detail re:what I started to project on a blindfolded Curt Cloninger... cause I don’t want to break the second rule of NO-MEDIA (no documentation ;) DR: Your recent video essay, an open letter to Apple Computers, garnered a lot of support from glitch art / (new) media art communities. Can you talk about the politics of this work, and how it relates to glitch art methodologies?

Nick Briz, Apple Computers (2013). Single-channel video with sound. NB: My personal relationship w/Apple is as complicated as it is b/c of glitch >> intentionally invoking glitches is usually a kind of misuse... and when you misuse Apple technology the (often invisible) politix embedded in their systems become very clear + am forced to reconcile 'em. The video is about that impossible reconciliation between my tech dependencies && my politix. I made the video for a screening organized by jonCates of remixes of work from the Phil Morton Memorial Archive + is a [re]mix/make of his 1976 video tape General Motors, where Phil, an artist and professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago at the time, addresses similar issues re:his + his community's relationship to && dependence on technology && tech-industries. As a professor at the same school + artist w/in the same community (nearly 40yrs later) dealing w/very similar problems w/similar industries... it seemed an appropriate issue to tackle && appropriate format to tackle it in. 

Extract from Phil Morton, General Motors (1976). Single-channel video with sound. DR: Many of your projects tap into the “democratizing” potential of digital art, from your work to crack open codecs, through to your recent New Media One-Liner on The New Aesthetic, where you programmed and openly distributed a heap of scripts and libraries for anyone and everyone to mess around with. NB: Yea, one thing those two pieces have in common is my interest in the "tutorial" as a form (+  pedagogy in general). theNewAesthetic.js is an executable-essay / open-source javascript artware-library for quick [re]production of "New Aesthetic" compositions and related new-media art tropes. So by that I mean it's literally a functional tool/utility with thorough documentation, examples and video tutorial, but it's also an essay + my comment/critique on the whole NA conversation. The source code to the library can be read as a kind of code-essay. Similarly, the Glitch Codec Tutorial is a lesson in hacking video codecs to make glitch art, but also a video essay on the assumptions/influence digital systems make/have on us + their embedded politix + glitch's potential (as a practice) to make us aware of these assumptions/influence.

Nick Briz, theNewAesthetic.Js (2012). Screenshot from online tutorial. DR: Now that "the glitch" has broken through into mainstream culture as a technical, aesthetic trope, does the glitch still have this political potential? Or is it merely a visual style? NB: As far as glitch's political/social potential specifically, sometimes folks have a hard time understanding the obvious political ramifications b/c they conflate glitch (as a concept, a moment, a break) with the aesthetic its more commonly associated with; it's becoming more important to separate these two things: glitch art && glitch aesthetics (or better: the aesthetics of digital artifacts). There's obviously a venn-diagram overlap going on here, but not everything that loox "glitchy" is actually a "glitch" (or break in a system). For example, a datamoshing filter in a title sequence of a hollywood film might render the text with digital artifacts, but nothing's actually "glitching" (technically or conceptually). Likewise, not all glitch art loox 'glitchy.' A great example is Glitchr, the online [ facebook, tumblr && twitter ] handle of artist + social media Interventionist, Laimonas Zakas. Glitchr has made it his mission to find + exploit bugs + holes w/in social media systems. His work is often formally "glitchy" but not in the compression artifact sense, but in the "zalgo" (overlapping/spilling unicode characters) sense. Though, my favorite glitchr posts aren't formally "glitchy" at all. A couple of times he's managed to post animated images on a facebook post && folks go crazy; a barrage of comments quickly follow below along the lines of "OMG how did you do that? show me show me show me" ...and shortly after facebook will "fix" the bug/work. This leaves a frozen image the comments below now functioning as testimonials, and in that moment these [often] invisible politix embedded w/in the system are brought to the fore.   Glitchr (aka Laimonas Zakas), Twitter account (ongoing). Screenshot. This is the kind of perspective/approach many of us involved in the GLI.TC/H (as in the confernece/festival/gathering, not to be confused w/ your project glti.ch karaoke) are interested in. While most of us are also interested in the aesthetics of artifacts, this is different from (though it overlaps w/) our interest in the glitch as a break, a tactic, a slippage, an intervention—this is where it can become political. DR: I can read your work as a network of attempts to intervene in the course of things (for better or worse; with aesthetic, technical and/or social results). But the role of human intent in that disruption is trickier to determine. You motivate subjects to empower themselves through instigated complexities or stumbled upon accidents” [1] that are by definition beyond their control. How do you deal with this contradiction? Is there a "glitch politics"? And if so, is it more about human intervention or the intervention of the glitches themselves? NB: [ the perceived contradiction ]: can encouraging a digital practice like glitch art which compromises control still grant folks digital agency? Absolutely (we're only compromising partial control afterall). Databending101 (a la stAllio!) for example: pick the pic you wanna hack (choice) + where && by which means (choice), then see what happens (chance); while the details w/in the composition of artifacts are usually beyond our control, it's in peaking under the hood + the realizations/perspective that comes w/it that as practitioners/users/netizens we gain agency... not in the production of objects/artifacts. I like this "network of attempts to intervene," I think definitely the majority of my better projects are nodes in an "intervention network" >> I'm thinking my artwarez, tutorialz, installations (virtual+physical), courses && organizational efforts >> worx/efforts which require participation. Personally, I'm less interested in aesthetic functionalism—in producing an object/artifact which is itself an end meant to be "experienced" or contemplated for its own sake. I'm interested in adding nodes to a larger network >> participating in specific conversations [ internet culture, digital rights, intellectual property, media && digital literacy, human>computer interface/relationships, etc ]; I do this by contributing projects that are often literally meant to be "used," usually as a way to introduce/enable others to a convo + share my point/poke on/in/at a convo. Again, this is why I'm so interested in tutorials as a form, it can be a utility and an essay simultaneously. in re:to "glitch politi[x]" + human/glitch: I think glitches are human artifacts more so than digital ones. Computers don't make mistakes, People do; programmers leave memory leaks, users input bad data... the computer will "bug" out in the same predictable way given the same bad data, we only call that moment a "glitch" when it catches us off guard. That moment can then become political when we leverage it as a tactic for political use: to call out the influence of predominantly invisible systems.  Second-Half Questionnaire: Age: 27 Location:Chicago, IL ▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒   ✶  ✶  ✶  ✶ ▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒ How long have you been working creatively with technology? How did you start? + Describe your experience with the tools you use. How did you start using them? + Where did you go to school? What did you study? I’m lucky to have a mom who as early as I was born (I was 0yrs she was 21yrs) gave me a sketch pad + pencils but also sat me down in front of her computer, which she built (she was an amatuer painter getting her BA in computer science). My mom taught me how to use Office95 when it came out (I was 9yrs) and I started making "games" with PowerPoint's presentation mode. In middle-school/high-school I got way more into traditional media (illustration, photography and video) + went to film school (at the University of Central Florida) convinced I wanted to be a filmmaker. Even though I had been working commercially in wwweb dev since high school (with my cousin Paul Briz who taught me HTML in NotePad! O__O), it wasn't till later in college that I realized... "oh shit! this is what I should be making wurk with && about" and quickly abandoned all the romantic-notions/fetishes I had for analog materials (like film). In college I found my way to Rhizome && UbuWeb + came across rad wurk folks were making in Chicago &&thus decided that's where I needed to be >> applied to SAIC for grad-school >> moved to Chi + am wurking/living here now.   What traditional media do you use, if any? Do you think your work with traditional media relates to your work with technology? I call myself a 'new-media artist' because I use predominantly digital technologies to make wurk about digital culture. But I guess I could just as well call myself a conceptual +/or political +/or contemporary artist. I use the media which most appro[pirate]ly gets the job done... it's 2013, so these tend to be wwweb/digital media.  Are you involved in other creative or social activities (i.e. music, writing, activism, community organizing)? yea definitely, I usually refer to myself as an artist/educator/organizer, the lines between these are blurry (ex: I'm really interested in the 'web video tutorial' as a kinda essay-video form + makewurk in this form, but thesevideos I make are also simultaneously/literally tutorialz + I also simultaneously teach the same material atactualinstitutions). I mentioned before I make wurk with but also about digital culture + a major focus the last few years for me has been digital rights && digital literacy >> I make wurk about this + I teach courses on these subjects + I organize lots of events (shows/festivals/conferences) around these themes ...these are blurry distinctions. Who are your key artistic influences? ...should I list 'em? I've stolen ideas from a lot of folks >> some of them are dead: Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Stan Brakhage, some of them are alive + I follow 'em online: Joshua Davis, Cory Doctorow, jodi, Evan Roth, Squarepusher, Elisa Kreisinger, Cornelius, Mary Flanagan, Olia Lialina, Alexei Shulgin + many of them are my friends/collaborators/students: jonCates, jon.satrom, Rosa Menkman, Evan Meaney... actually imma stop there and let that list feed into the next question... Have you collaborated with anyone in the art community on a project? With whom, and on what? Mos definitely yes!!! + my most valuable xperiences stem from these collaborations + revolve around community + this is why I moved to Chicago: to partake in these communities. For me these collaborations usually take the form of project/event-organizational ventures, the largest of which is probably the GLI.TC/H festival/conference/gathering, which I've been co-organizing (with lots of people, namely jon.satrom +Rosa Menkman) for over 3yrs now. I mentioned before the lines between artist/educator/organizer are pretty blurry >> what I mean by this is nuanced [save detailz] this is a mode of operating familiar to lots of Chicago [dirty] new-media folks which I've adopted + learned predominantly from wurking with jonCates (whose practice is much more nuanced/complex than I can get into + whose had an undeniable && guileful influence on me + many others here in Chi). I also wurk a lot w/jon.satrom [undoubtedly one of my biggest influences + one of the most brilliant artists on the planet] + currently working w/other local artists/educators/organizers like Christy LeMaster (on splitbeam) +Jason Soliday && Jeff Kolar (on NO-MEDIA) +Joseph (yyolk) Chiocchi (on 0p3nr3p0.net) + am constantly inspired by + partaking in new-media adventures w/other presently chicago-based folks: Aaron Zarzutzki, Adam Trowbridge, Alex Halbert, Alex Inglizian, Alfredo Salazar-Caro, Andrew Rosinski, Ben Baker-Smith, Ben Syverson, Beth Capper, Bryan Peterson, Dave Musgrave, Ei Jane Janet Lin, Emily Kuehn, Entro MC,  Eric Fleischauer, Evan Kühl, Grayson Bagwell, Harvey Moon, Jake Elliott, James Connolly, Jessica Westbrook, Josh Billions, Kevin Carey, Lisa Slodki, Lori Felker, Mark Beasley, Monica Panzarino, Nick Kegeyan, Patrick Lichty, Paul Hertz, Ryan T Dunn, Sam Goldstein, Shawne Holloway, Tamas Kemenczy, Theodore Darst, William Robertson... ...ok, imma stop there >> I realize this may read as an obnoxiously long list, but these are all folks w/out whom my wurk/reality would be very different, these are the folks I chat w/on a regular basis +/or collaborate w/ +/or participate w/ +/or am inspired by. I like to think the wurk I do is about larger digital issues (digital rights, digital literacy, networked culture, intellectual property, etc) accessible/applicable to a global village/community well beyond my local one... but these are folks I regularly steal all my ideas from... and happen to be local. What do you do for a living or what occupations have you held previously? Do you think this work relates to your art practice in a significant way? yea I think this is always a great question, my students always want to know how new-media artists (at least in the States) make their monie$ >> for me it's pretty modular: I teach new-media && digital art/literacy courses at a couple institutions here (the Marwen Foundation && the School of the Art Institute of Chicago) + I develop miscellaneous digital projects (apps, wwweb, installations) for different clients w/ Branger_Briz (my cousin's agency, the same one who taught me HTML in high-school). I'd say it definitely relates to my practice... or rather that it is my practice in that I'd probably be doing something else entirely if I wasn't a 'new-media artist/educator/organizer' ...again, these are blurry distinctions. [imma combine these]: Do you actively study art history? + Do you read art criticism, philosophy, or critical theory? If so, which authors inspire you? yes && yes. I'm xtreamly interested in the parallel/perpendicular + complementing/contradicting + fringe && mainstream narratives that make up the histories of the conversations I'm invested in: media art histories, computer science histories, digital folk histories, Chicago histories, activist histories, piracy histories, etc. I read lots of criticism/philosophy/theory... I'm inspired by lots of folks: lots of contemporary/mainstream digital culture folks (Lessig, Shirky, Jenkins, Benkler, Stallman) + netstream new media art folks (Lialina, Galloway, the "software studies" crowd) + academix/bloggers/podcasters I follow closely (Katie Salen, Larisa Mann, Yoani Sánchez, Anita Sarkeesian) + the writings of many of my collaborators like Rosa Menkman && jonCates. And then of course the theoretical giants that influence most of us, in particular ideas like Martin Heidegger's notion of 'enframing', that rather than looking at technologies simply as tools, we're better served by considering how they are symptomatic of our particular world view. This has been key to my understanding of technologies as indicative of prevailing ideologies >> McLuhan's perspectives too, specifically the medium-is-the-message angle, rather than getting lost in the content the media carries (and similarly the utility a technology provides) we should consider how the technology itself changes (often completely turns on its head) our relationship to each other and the world. Are there any issues around the production of, or the display/exhibition of new media art that you are concerned about? christ... that's a can'o'worms. I've got lots of vibez here, but I'll keep it short... one thing I think a lot about (for ex) is new-media art archives. I'm a fan of bittorrent as a technology: it's distributed/redundant && (especially for small institutions/projects) xtreamly efficient. Why don't we have more new-media art archives leveraging this technology? Where can I get the ArtBase torrent? There's precedence for it (thinking Jason Scott && the Archive Team's GeoCities torrent) but it’s also been stigmatized + somehow branded as anti-artist-interest. Similarly, for as much as the new-media art wurldz likes to talk about "Open Source" conceptually, we've got a lot to learn (especially structurally) from that community. Why aren't more new-media art archives versioned like open-source projects? this would solve all kinds of exhibition headaches that arise when attempting to display new-media pieces that are 3+ yrs old (and thus require 'antiquated' technology)... again, this is a much larger convo, I’m being a little flippant... but I'm happy to have nuanced convos w/interested parties at more length elsewhere :)  cool! thnx for the chat Daniel ^__^ ../n!ck

[1] Briz, Nick. Glitch Art Historie[s]:  contextualising glitch art - a perpetual beta, in “READER[R0R], GLI.TC/H 20111”. pg. 55. http://gli.tc/h/readerror, 2011. 

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Mon, 15 Jul 2013 07:41:17 -0700 http://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/jul/15/artist-profile-nick-briz
<![CDATA[Kipple and Things II: The Subject of Digital Detritus]]> http://machinemachine.net/text/ideas/kipple-and-things-ii-the-subject-of-digital-detritus

This text is a work in progress; a segment ripped from my thesis. To better ingest some of the ideas I throw around here, you might want to read these texts first: - Kipple and Things: How to Hoard and Why Not To Mean - Digital Autonomy

Captured in celluloid under the title Blade Runner, (Scott 1982) Philip K. Dick’s vision of kipple abounds in a world where mankind lives alongside shimmering, partly superior, artificial humans. The limited lifespan built into the Nexus 6 replicants  [i] is echoed in the human character J.F. Sebastian,[ii]whose own degenerative disorder lends his body a kipple-like quality, even if the mind it enables sparkles so finely. This association with replication and its apparent failure chimes for both the commodity fetish and an appeal to digitisation. In Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility, mechanisation and mass production begin at the ‘original’, and work to distance the commodity from the form captured by each iteration. Not only does the aura of the original stay intact as copies of it are reproduced on the production line, that aura is actually heightened in the system of commoditisation. As Frederic Jameson has noted, Dick’s work ‘renders our present historical by turning it into the past of a fantasized future’ (Jameson 2005, 345). Kipple piles up at the periphery of our culture, as if Dick is teasing us to look upon our own time from a future anterior in which commodity reification will have been: It hadn’t upset him that much, seeing the half-abandoned gardens and fully abandoned equipment, the great heaps of rotting supplies. He knew from the edu-tapes that the frontier was always like that, even on Earth. (Dick 2011, 143) Kipple figures the era of the commodity as an Empire, its borders slowly expanding away from the subjects yearning for Biltong replicas, seeded with mistakes. Kipple is a death of subjects, haunted by objects, but kipple is also a renewal, a rebirth. The future anterior is a frontier, one from which it might just be possible to look back upon the human without nostalgia. Qualify the human subject with the android built in its image; the object with the entropic degradation that it must endure if its form is to be perpetuated, and you necessarily approach an ontology of garbage, junk and detritus: a glimmer of hope for the remnants of decay to assert their own identity. Commodities operate through the binary logic of fetishisation and obsolescence, in which the subject’s desire to obtain the shiny new object promotes the propagation of its form through an endless cycle of kippleisation. Kipple is an entropy of forms, ideals long since removed from their Platonic realm by the march of mimesis, and kippleisation an endless, unstoppable encounter between subjectness and thingness. Eschewing Martin Heidegger’s definition of a thing, in which objects are brought out of the background of existence through human use, (Bogost 2012, 24) Bill Brown marks the emergence of things through the encounter: As they circulate through our lives… we look through objects because there are codes by which our interpretive attention makes them meaningful, because there is a discourse of objectivity that allows us to use them as facts. A thing, in contrast, can hardly function as a window. We begin to confront the thingness of objects when they stop working for us… (Brown 2001, 4) This confrontation with the ‘being’ of the object occurs by chance when, as Brown describes, a patch of dirt on the surface of the window captures us for a moment, ‘when the drill breaks, when the car stalls… when their flow within the circuits of production and distribution, consumption and exhibition, has been arrested, however momentarily’. (Brown 2001, 4) We no longer see through the window-object (literally or metaphorically), but are brought into conflict with its own particular discrete being by the encounter with its filthy surface. A being previously submersed in the continuous background of world as experience, need not necessarily be untangled by an act of human-centric use. The encounter carries the effect of a mirror, for as experience stutters at the being of a thing, so the entity invested in that experience is made aware of their own quality as a thing – if only for a fleeting moment. Brown’s fascination with ‘how inanimate objects constitute human subjects’ (Brown 2001, 7) appears to instate the subject as the centre of worldly relations. But Bill Brown has spun a realist [iii] web in which to ensnare us. The object is not phenomenal, because its being exists independent of any culpability we may wish to claim. Instead a capture of object and human, of thing qua thing, occurs in mutual encounter, bringing us closer to a flat ontology ‘where humans are no longer monarchs of being but are instead among beings, entangled in beings, and implicated in other beings.’ (Bryant 2011, 40)

Brown’s appraisal of things flirts with the splendour of kipple. Think of the landfill, an engorged river of kipple, or the salvage yard, a veritable shrine to thingness. Tattered edges and featureless forms leak into one another in unsavoury shades of tea-stain brown and cobweb grey splashed from the horizon to your toes. Masses of broken, unremarkable remnants in plastic, glass and cardboard brimming over the edge of every shiny suburban enclave. The most astonishing thing about the turmoil of these places is how any order can be perceived in them at all. But thing aphasia does diminish, and it does so almost immediately. As the essential human instinct for order kicks in, things come to resemble objects. Classes of use, representation and resemblance neatly arising to cut through the pudding; to make the continuous universe discrete once again. You note a tricycle wheel there, underneath what looks like the shattered circumference of an Edwardian lamp. You almost trip over a bin bag full of carrot tops and potato peel before becoming transfixed by a pile of soap-opera magazines. Things, in Brown’s definition, are unreachable by human caprice. Things cannot be grasped, because their thingnessslips back into recognition as soon as it is encountered: When such a being is named, then, it is also changed. It is assimilated into the terms of the human subject at the same time that it is opposed to it as object, an opposition that is indeed necessary for the subject’s separation and definition. (Schwenger 2004, 137) The city of Hull, the phrase ‘I will’, the surface of an ice cube and an image compression algorithm are entities each sustained by the same nominative disclosure: a paradox of things that seem to flow into one another with liquid potential, but things, nonetheless limited by their constant, necessary re-iteration in language. There is no thing more contradictory in this regard than the human subject itself, a figure Roland Barthes’ tried to paradoxically side-step in his playful autobiography. Replenishing each worn-out piece of its glimmering hull, one by one, the day arrives when the entire ship of Argo has been displaced – each of its parts now distinct from those of the ‘original’ vessel. For Barthes, this myth exposes two modest activities: - Substitution (one part replaces another, as in a paradigm) – Nomination (the name is in no way linked to the stability of the parts) (Barthes 1994, 46) Like the ship of Argo, human experience has exchangeable parts, but at its core, such was Barthes’ intention, ‘the subject, unreconciled, demands that language represent the continuity of desire.’ (Eakin 1992, 16) In order that the subject remain continuous, it is the messy world that we must isolate into classes and taxonomies. We collate, aggregate and collect not merely because we desire, but because without these nominative acts the pivot of desire – the illusionary subject – could not be sustained. If the powerful stance produced in Dick’s future anterior is to be sustained, the distinction between subjects aggregating objects, and objects coagulating the subject, needs flattening. [iv] Bill Brown’s appeal to the ‘flow within the circuits of production and distribution, consumption and exhibition’ (Brown 2001, 4) partially echoes Dick’s concern with the purity of the thing. Although Dick’s Biltong were probably more of a comment on the Xerox machine than the computer, the problem of the distribution of form, as it relates to commodity fetishism, enables ‘printing’ as a neat paradigm of the contemporary network-based economy. Digital things, seeming to proliferate independent from the sinuous optical cables and super-cooled server banks that disseminate them, are absolutelyreliant on the process of copying. Copying is a fundamental component of the digital network where, unlike the material commodity, things are not passed along. The digital thing is always a copy, is always copied, and is always copying: Copying the product (mechanical reproduction technologies of modernity) evolves into copying the instructions for manufacturing (computer programs as such recipes of production). In other words, not only copying copies, but more fundamentally copying copying itself. (Parikka 2008, 72) Abstracted from its material context, copying is ‘a universal principle’ (Parikka 2008, 72) of digital things, less flowing ‘within the circuits’ (Brown 2001, 4) as being that circuitry flow in and of itself. The entire network is a ship of Argo, capable, perhaps for the first time, [v]to Substitute and Nominate its own parts, or, as the character J.F. Isidore exclaims upon showing an android around his kippleised apartment: When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. [my emphasis] (Dick 1968, 53) Kipple is not garbage, nor litter, for both these forms are decided upon by humans. In a recent pamphlet distributed to businesses throughout the UK, the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign made a useful distinction: Litter can be as small as a sweet wrapper, as large as a bag of rubbish, or it can mean lots of items scattered about. ENCAMS describes litter as “Waste in the wrong place caused by human agency”. In other words, it is only people that make litter. (Keep Britain Tidy Campaign, 3) Garbage is a decisive, collaborative form, humans choose to destroy or discard. A notion of detritus that enhances the autonomy, the supposed mastery of the subject in its network. Digital networks feature their own litter in the form of copied data packets that have served their purpose, or been deemed erroneous by algorithms designed to seed out errors. These processes, according to W. Daniel Hillis, define, ‘the essence of digital technology, which restores signal to near perfection at every stage’. (Hillis 1999, 18) Maintenance of the network and the routines of error management are of primary economic and ontological concern: control the networks and the immaterial products will manage themselves; control the tendency of errors to reproduce, and we maintain a vision of ourselves as masters over, what Michel Serres has termed, ‘the abundance of the Creation’. (Serres 2007, 47) Seeming to sever their dependency on the physical processes that underlie them, digital technologies, ‘incorporate hyper-redundant error-checking routines that serve to sustain an illusion of immateriality by detecting error and correcting it’. (Kirschenbaum 2008, 12) The alleviation of error and noise, is then, an implicit feature of digital materiality. Expressed at the status of the digital image it is the visual glitch, the coding artifact, [vi]that signifies the potential of the digital object to loosen its shackles; to assert its own being. In a parody of Arthur C. Clarke’s infamous utopian appraisal of technology, another science fiction author, Bruce Sterling, delivers a neat sound bite for the digital civilisation, so that: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic (Clarke 1977, 36) …becomes… Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from [its] garbage. (Sterling 2012)  

Footnotes [i] A label appropriated by Ridley Scott for the film Blade Runner, and not by Philip K. Dick in the original novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, who preferred the more archaic, general term, android. Throughout the novel characters refer to the artificial humans as ‘andys,’ portraying a casual ease with which to shrug off these shimmering subjects as mere objects. [ii] A translated version of the character, J.F. Isidore, from the original novel. [iii] Recent attempts to disable appeals to the subject, attempts by writers such as Graham Harman, Levi R. Bryant, Bill Brown and Ian Bogost, have sought to devise, in line with Bruno Latour, an ontology in which ‘Nothing can be reduced to anything else, nothing can be deduced from anything else, everything may be allied to everything else;’ (Latour 1993, 163) one in which a discussion of the being of a chilli pepper or a wrist watch may rank alongside a similar debate about the being of a human or a dolphin. An object-oriented, flat ontology (Bryant 2011) premised on the niggling sentiment that ‘all things equally exist, yet they do not exist equally.’ (Bogost 2012, 19) Unlike Graham Harman, who uses the terms interchangeably, (Bogost 2012, 24) Bill Brown’s Thing Theory approaches the problem by strongly asserting a difference between objects and things. [iv] I have carefully avoided using the term ‘posthuman,’ but I hope its resonance remains. [v] The resonance here with a biological imperative is intentional, although it is perhaps in this work alone that I wish to completely avoid such digital/biological metonyms. Boris Groys’ text From Image to Image File – And Back: Art in the Age of Digitisation, functions neatly to bridge this work with previous ones when he states: The biological metaphor says it all: not only life, which is notorious in this respect, but also technology, which supposedly opposes nature, has become the medium of non-identical reproduction.

[vi] I have very consciously chosen to spell ‘artifact’ with an ‘i’, widely known as the American spelling of the term. This spelling of the word aligns it with computer/programming terminology (i.e.’compression artifact’), leaving the ‘e’ spelling free to echo its archaeological heritage. In any case, multiple meanings for the word can be read in each instance.

Bibliography Barthes, Roland. 1994. Roland Barthes. University of California Press. Bogost, Ian. 2012. Alien Phenomenology, Or What It’s Like to Be a Thing. University of Minnesota Press. Brown, Bill. 2001. “Thing Theory.” Critical Inquiry 28 (1) (October 1): 1–22. Bryant, Levi R. 2011. The Democracy of Objects. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.9750134.0001.001. Clarke, Arthur C. 1977. “Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination.” In Profiles of the future?: an inquiry into the limits of the possible. New York: Popular Library. Dick, Philip K. 1968. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Random House Publishing Group, 2008. ———. 2011. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Eakin, Paul John. 1992. Touching the World: Reference in Autobiography. Princeton University Press. Hillis, W. 1999. The Pattern on the Stone?: the Simple Ideas That Make Computers Work. 1st paperback ed. New York: Basic Books. Jameson, Fredric. 2005. Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. Verso. Keep Britain Tidy Campaign, Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS). YOUR RUBBISH AND THE LAW a Guide for Businesses. http://kb.keepbritaintidy.org/fotg/publications/rlaw.pdf. Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. 2008. Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. MIT Press. Latour, Bruno. 1993. The Pasteurization of France. Harvard University Press. Parikka, Jussi. 2008. “Copy.” In Software Studies?: a Lexicon, ed. Matthew Fuller, 70–78. Cambridge  Mass.: MIT Press. Schwenger, Peter. 2004. “Words and the Murder of the Thing.” In Things, 135 – 150. University of Chicago Press Journals. Scott, Ridley. 1982. Blade Runner. Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller. Serres, Michel. 2007. The Parasite. 1st University of Minnesota Press ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Sterling, Bruce. 2012. “Design Fiction: Sascha Pohflepp & Daisy Ginsberg, ‘Growth Assembly’.” Wired Magazine: Beyond The Beyond. http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2012/01/design-fiction-sascha-pohflepp-daisy-ginsberg-growth-assembly/.

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Sat, 25 Aug 2012 10:00:00 -0700 http://machinemachine.net/text/ideas/kipple-and-things-ii-the-subject-of-digital-detritus
<![CDATA[Obama Ordered Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran]]> http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/obama-ordered-wave-of-cyberattacks-against-iran.html?_r=1&smid=tw-share

Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.

At a tense meeting in the White House Situation Room within days of the worm’s “escape,” Mr. Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, Leon E. Panetta, considered whether America’s most ambitious attempt to slow the progress of Iran’s nuclear efforts had been fatally compromised.

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Sat, 02 Jun 2012 09:39:02 -0700 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/world/middleeast/obama-ordered-wave-of-cyberattacks-against-iran.html?_r=1&smid=tw-share
<![CDATA[Re:Thinking Games]]> http://www.furtherfield.org/researchpublicatios/artists-rethinking-games

Digital games are important not only because of their cultural ubiquity or their sales figures but for what they can offer as a space for creative practice. Games are significant for what they embody; human computer interface, notions of agency, sociality, visualisation, cybernetics, representation, embodiment, activism, narrative and play. These and a whole host of other issues are significant not only to the game designer but also present in the work of the artist that thinks and rethinks games. Re-appropriated for activism, activation, commentary and critique within games and culture, artists have responded vigorously.

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Wed, 25 Jan 2012 03:50:56 -0800 http://www.furtherfield.org/researchpublicatios/artists-rethinking-games
<![CDATA[The Battle Over Zomia]]> http://chronicle.com/article/The-Battle-Over-Zomia/128845/

Over the past two millennia, "runaway" communities have put the "friction of terrain" between themselves and the people who remained in the lowlands, he writes. The highland groups adopted a swidden agriculture system (sometimes known, pejoratively, as "slash and burn"), shifting fields from place to place, staggering harvests, and relying on root crops to hide their yields from any visiting tax collectors. They formed egalitarian societies so as not to have leaders who might sell them out to the state. And they turned their backs on literacy to avoid creating records that central governments could use to carry out onerous policies like taxation, conscription, and forced labor.

Scott's thesis puts people who have been an afterthought in Asian-area studies in the spotlight. Moreover, he "manages to give them more agency than most scholars have been able to attribute to them," says Prasenjit Duara, a professor of humanities at the National University of Singapore.

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Mon, 05 Sep 2011 05:20:41 -0700 http://chronicle.com/article/The-Battle-Over-Zomia/128845/
<![CDATA[Samir Chopra and Laurence F. White: A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents, University of Michigan Press]]> http://press.umich.edu/titledetaildesc.do?id=356801

RT @XiXiDu: A Legal Theory for Autonomous Artificial Agents http://t.co/RioYhh3

x #agency #ai #law #politics #books #autonomy

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Mon, 15 Aug 2011 01:47:50 -0700 http://press.umich.edu/titledetaildesc.do?id=356801