Adrian Mackenzie: Machine Learners: Archaeology of a Data Practice (2017)

22 June 2018, dusan

“If machine learning transforms the nature of knowledge, does it also transform the practice of critical thought?

Machine learning—programming computers to learn from data—has spread across scientific disciplines, media, entertainment, and government. Medical research, autonomous vehicles, credit transaction processing, computer gaming, recommendation systems, finance, surveillance, and robotics use machine learning. Machine learning devices (sometimes understood as scientific models, sometimes as operational algorithms) anchor the field of data science. They have also become mundane mechanisms deeply embedded in a variety of systems and gadgets. In contexts from the everyday to the esoteric, machine learning is said to transform the nature of knowledge. In this book, Adrian Mackenzie investigates whether machine learning also transforms the practice of critical thinking.

Mackenzie focuses on machine learners—either humans and machines or human-machine relations—situated among settings, data, and devices. The settings range from fMRI to Facebook; the data anything from cat images to DNA sequences; the devices include neural networks, support vector machines, and decision trees. He examines specific learning algorithms—writing code and writing about code—and develops an archaeology of operations that, following Foucault, views machine learning as a form of knowledge production and a strategy of power. Exploring layers of abstraction, data infrastructures, coding practices, diagrams, mathematical formalisms, and the social organization of machine learning, Mackenzie traces the mostly invisible architecture of one of the central zones of contemporary technological cultures.

Mackenzie’s account of machine learning locates places in which a sense of agency can take root. His archaeology of the operational formation of machine learning does not unearth the footprint of a strategic monolith but reveals the local tributaries of force that feed into the generalization and plurality of the field.”

Publisher MIT Press, November 2017
ISBN 9780262036825, 0262036827
272 pages
via A.B.

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (removed on 2018-8-20 upon request from publisher)
Draft and code samples on GIT

Glass Bead, 2: Site 1: Logic Gate, the Politics of the Artifactual Mind (2017) [English/French]

6 December 2017, dusan

The first issue of the journal was dedicated to repositioning art in the landscape of reason. This issue is focused on the fabric of reason itself, and the ways in which it is currently altered by the emergence of artificial intelligence.

While the capacities of thought are being externalized in machines that increasingly mirror human intelligence, the question of the technical artifactuality of mind and its political ramifications becomes particularly pressing.

For us, far from being limited to the computational instantiation of intelligence, understanding the politics of these developments in artificial intelligence requires acknowledging that mind has always been artifactual.

Site 1: Logic Gate, the Politics of the Artifactual Mind proposes to explore the formal, philosophical and scientific dimensions of this question, so as to consider the role art might play in the lucid unfolding of its possibilities.”

With contributions by Danielle Macbeth, Gary Tomlinson, Matt Hare, Ben Woodard, Nina Power, Matteo Pasquinelli, Benjamin Bratton, Nora Khan, Hito Steyerl, Ian Cheng, Catarina Dutilh Novaes, Reviel Netz, Peli Grietzer, Lee Gamble, Dhanveer Singh Brar, T’ai Smith, and James Trafford.

Edited by Fabien Giraud, Jeremy Lecomte, Vincent Normand, Ida Soulard, and Inigo Wilkins
Publisher Glass Bead, November 2017

HTML, PDFs (English)
HTML, PDFs (French)
See also Issue 1

Alfred H. Barr, Jr.: Cubism and Abstract Art: Painting, Sculpture, Constructions, Photography, Architecture, Industrial Art, Theatre, Films, Posters, Typography (1936)

16 September 2016, dusan

The catalogue of the first MoMA’s retrospective of modernism, held 2 March-19 April 1936, laid the theoretical foundation of the museum. Its jacket contains a notorious chart of modernist art history, the Diagram of Stylistic Evolution from 1890 until 1935.

“The catalogue remains an important historical document (as does that for Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism). It set abstraction within a formalist framework that—ignoring the intellectual byways of French symbolism, German idealism, and Russian Marxism of the previous thirty years—was shaped by the scientific climate that had started a century before. … The exhibition together with the widespread dissemination of its influential catalogue, established Cubism as the central issue of early modernism, abstraction as the goal.” (Sybil Gordon Kantor, 2003)

The exhibition later traveled to another 7 cities: San Francisco, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Baltimore, Providence, and Grand Rapids.

Publisher Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1936
249 pages
via MoMA

Commentary: Meyer Schapiro (Marxist Quarterly, 1937), Susan Noyes Platt (Art Journal, 1988), Astrit Schmidt Burkhardt (Word & Image, 2000).

Publisher (incl. master checklist and press releases)
WorldCat

PDF (47 MB)