Matthew Plummer-Fernandez: The Art of Bots: A Practice-based Study of the Multiplicity, Entanglements and Figuration of Sociocomputational Assemblages (2018)

11 July 2019, dusan

“This thesis examines and analyses an emerging art practice known as artbots. Artbots are internet-based software applications that are imbued with character and configured to engage and entertain online audiences. This form of practice, and the community of practice leading it, was found to be underrepresented and misunderstood. I argue that this artform is original and warrants a more thorough understanding. This thesis develops a conceptual framework for understanding artbots that focuses on and enables questioning around pertinent aspects of the practice.

A wide range of literature was reviewed to provide theoretical underpinnings towards this framework, including literature on algorithm studies, science and technology studies, and software architecture. The devised framework examines artbot case studies through the notions of multiplicity, entanglement, and figuration, having understood artbots as heterogenous sociocomputational assemblages comprised of software components and human intraactivity.

The research followed a varied methodology that encompassed participant observation and my own practice-based experiments in producing artbots. The study resulted in several original works. In addition, a showcase titled Art of Bots brought together key proponents and artbots, further providing material that is analysed in this thesis. The study helped identify and discuss artbots with attention to how they utilise modular software components in novel arrangements, how normative human and nonhuman relations of interaction are being eschewed in favour of entangled interrelations, and how artbots challenge common narratives dictating technological constructs by inventing unique characters and figurations.”

Doctoral thesis
Publisher Goldsmiths, University of London, 2018
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND License
218 pages

Publisher

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ZIP (Supplemental material, 20 GB)

Jonas Staal: Propaganda Art from the 20th to the 21st Century (2018)

26 July 2018, dusan

“This study by artist Jonas Staal explores the development of propaganda art from the 20th to the 21st century. Staal defines propaganda as the performance of power by means of the equation propaganda = power + performance. Through his work as a propaganda researcher and practice as a propaganda artist, he argues that different structures of power generate different forms of propaganda and therefore different forms of propaganda art. Whereas in the context of the 20th century Staal discusses the differences between avant-garde, totalitarian, and modernist propaganda art, in the 21st century he proposes the categories of War on Terror Propaganda Art, Popular Propaganda Art, and Stateless Propaganda Art. By means of concrete examples of artists and artworks within each of these categories, he attempts to show how the performance of power in the 21st century translates into different visual forms, and how they shape and direct our reality. Staal’s study shows that power and art exist in continuous interaction. Propaganda and propaganda art are not terms that only refer to the past, but concepts and practices through which we can understand the construction of reality in the present.”

PhD Dissertation, Faculty of Humanities, University of Leiden
Open access
425 pages

Publisher

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Video (12 min)

Eric Snodgrass: Executions: Power and Expression in Networked and Computational Media (2017)

15 August 2017, dusan

“This book looks at questions of power and expression as they are composed in various ways within networked and computationally-informed situations of the present. Drawing from the term as it is originally invoked in practices of computing, the research puts forward execution as a central conceptual framework for its investigations. In a computer program, a program becomes executable when it is able to execute a set of procedures within a designated set of relations and affordances. Similarly, the concept of execution developed here looks at the ongoing negotiations of various formative relations and affordances (technical, cultural, material, political) in practices of execution, describing certain notable techniques applied towards the task of making things executable.

The examples looked at include several dominant media and technology practices of the present, as well as several alternative practices that point to other possible modes of execution. In doing so, the research highlights certain politically-orientated issues involved in questions of execution, working to further develop specific approaches aimed at describing, questioning and intervening into practices of execution as they occur in the world.”

Doctoral Dissertation in Media and Communication Studies
Publisher Malmö University, Malmö, 2017
New Media, Public Spheres and Forms of Expression series, 11
Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0 International
ISBN 9789171045065
332 pages
via fcr

Publisher

PDF, PDF (5 MB)