Monthly Archive for June, 2009

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Many Points of Light: The Converging Aesthetics of Art, Design, and Science


Sara Diamond

Anderson (2008), the editor of Wired Magazine recently declared that ‘science is dead’, arguing that data processing and visualization were now more powerful instruments than mental models. Latour (1983) underscores the role of new instruments in provoking both new insights and authorizations. As data quantity and depth moves outside of the human conceptual grasp the question of where human knowledge and insight sits in relation to machine processing re-emerges from the debates on cognition and AI of the last century. These disputes and concerns suggest the importance of visual interventions that can allow new modes of experience and thought and new structures of power.

This paper explores the aesthetic debates amongst and between art, design and science in the ways that visualization practices and aesthetics are understood. Do visualizations return to a new fundamental realism? Is data pure matter? Is visualization a return to modernism as Manovich (2002, 2007) proposes? Or, is data visualization the twenty-first century sublime, as Javbratt (2005) suggests? What are the means through which matter, data structure and metaphor twine? What are the conclusions and pointers towards future research?
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In the Beginning There Was and Will Have Been Noise


Serena Kataoka

The digital holds promise of a universal technical structure. Arts once distinguished by their media can all be prefigured in code, and so all the arts will have been rendered digital. Art with a discreet capital 01 is conceived. Whatever the medium, rendering code into form becomes the basic technical problem. Traces of code linger as [blips], for example, which some artists struggle to extract (to make the form seem as though it were ‘in the round’), and which others try to amplify (to use the form to show off or critique the digital model). The novelty of engaging with these problems distracts from how doing so produces Art that is ushering in modern civilization, again. Thinking in and through an origin story inscribed by Our Father, Harold Innis, we will develop a sense that the apparent distinction between Art and Politics is no longer and not yet operative. There is only noise (aural and graphical).
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The Technological Unconscious, Animism and the Uncanny


Jackson 2bears

This paper takes an interdisciplinary approach to the question of technology by examining points of convergence between Jungian psychoanalysis and Indigenous philosophy. The theoretical trajectory of the text will consider traditional Haudenosaunee cosmologies as a way of re-thinking contemporary questions about our digital present and future, in turn proposing possible means of engagement and resistance. Central to the text is a critical analysis of select writings on the topic of dreams and the unconscious by Carl Jung, while at the same time reflecting on traditional Indigenous teachings extracted from the Haudenosaunee theory of dreams. The end goal of the text is to develop an Indigenous theory of technology that is faithful to traditional teachings, while addressing the uncanny essence of digitality in contemporary times.
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Becoming Dragon: An Epistemology of Transition


Micha Cárdenas

How are technologies of transformation facilitating new becomings, new modes of learning and new sites of knowledge? The performance Becoming Dragon sought to explore two lines of technology, Multi-User Virtual Environments and biotechnology. Following Anna Munster’s call for Transversal Technology Studies, this paper is an attempt to map two transversal lines between these two directions of technology: transition or becoming as a mode of being and mixing of realities, genders and sexualities as a strategy of subversion. The intersections of these lines of technology and transversal strategies of action will be examined as operating within and against two fields of knowledge production, phenomenology and what Ricardo Dominguez has called “science of the oppressed”.
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Can We Play ‘Fun Gay’? Disjuncture & Difference in Millenial Queer Youth Narratives


Mary Bryson

It has become commonplace for narratives concerning youth whose lives are situated within cultures saturated by convergent media, unproblematically to reproduce assumptions regarding the meliorative role of access to networked digital media. In these accounts, learning is co-extensive with play, access with participation, logging in with belonging, and the consumption of digital artifacts is read as meaningful engagement in networked socialities. Techno-rationalist accounts concerning Net Gen youth and new media likewise tend to consolidate in narratives that foreground a putative impact accorded to access to techno-social networks, the possibility to overcome inequities that would otherwise accrue as a function of problematic participation and citizenship in a public. This paper attends to the generative role of the Internet in accounts of sexual self-formation by millennial queer youth – youth whose adolescence is situated in a networked, digital culture. With particular attention to the contingent assemblage of gender, sexuality and other modes of identification, this research counters and complicates decontextualized, celebratory notions of queer youth and cyberspace.
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Code Drift


Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Code drift is the spectral destiny of the story of technology. No necessary message, no final meaning, no definite goal: only a digital culture drifting in complex streams of social networking technologies filtered here and there with sudden changes in code frequencies, moving at the speed of random fluctuations, always seeking to make of the question of identity a sampling error, to connect with the broken energy flows of ruptures, conjurations, unintelligibility, bifurcations. When the Book of Genesis gives way to the Book of (Information) Genetics, we are suddenly exited into a culture of epigenesis with code drifts as its primary impulse, all the human anxiety of being tethered to mobility its primary affect, and the novel historical experience of literally being skinned by technology as the body is increasingly wrapped in the new nervous system that is the global data genome.
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