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

PDF, PDF (10 MB)
ZIP (Supplemental material, 20 GB)

Algolit: Data Workers (2019) [English/French]

27 March 2019, dusan

Data Workers is an exhibition of algoliterary works, of stories told from an ‘algorithmic storyteller point of view’ taking place at the Mundaneum in Mons, Belgium, from 28 March until 29 April 2019

“Companies create artificial intelligence (AI) systems to serve, entertain, record and learn about humans. The work of these machinic entities is usually hidden behind interfaces and patents. In the exhibition, algorithmic storytellers leave their invisible underworld to become interlocutors. The data workers operate in different collectives. Each collective represents a stage in the design process of a machine learning model: there are the Writers, the Cleaners, the Informants, the Readers, the Learners and the Oracles. The boundaries between these collectives are not fixed; they are porous and permeable. At times, Oracles are also Writers. At other times Readers are also Oracles. Robots voice experimental literature, while algorithmic models read data, turn words into numbers, make calculations that define patterns and are able to endlessly process new texts ever after.

The exhibition foregrounds data workers who impact our daily lives, but are either hard to grasp and imagine or removed from the imagination altogether. It connects stories about algorithms in mainstream media to the storytelling that is found in technical manuals and academic papers.”

“All works visible in the exhibition, as well as the contextual stories and some extra text material have been collected in a publication, which exists in French and English.”

Texts: Cristina Cochior, Sarah Garcin, Gijs de Heij, An Mertens, François Zajéga, Louise Dekeuleneer, Florian Van de Weyer, Laetitia Trozzi, Rémi Forte, Guillaume Slizewicz.

Publisher Constant, Brussels, 2019
Free Art License

Book website

HTML (English)
HTML (French)
Git

Clemens Apprich, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Florian Cramer, Hito Steyerl: Pattern Discrimination (2018)

14 November 2018, dusan

“Algorithmic identity politics reinstate old forms of social segregation—in a digital world, identity politics is pattern discrimination. It is by recognizing patterns in input data that Artificial Intelligence algorithms create bias and practice racial exclusions thereby inscribing power relations into media. How can we filter information out of data without reinserting racist, sexist, and classist beliefs?”

Publisher meson press, Lüneburg, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota Press, 2018
In Search of Media series
CC-BY-NC 4.0 International License
ISBN 9781517906450
xii+123 pages

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF, PDF