Sean Dockray: Performing Algorithms: Automation and Accident (2019)

22 November 2019, dusan

Performing Algorithms: Automation and Accident investigates how artists might stage encounters with the algorithms driving our post-industrial, big-data-based, automatic society. Several important theories of this contemporary condition are discussed, including control societies, post-industrial societies, the automatic society, the cybernetic hypothesis, and algorithmic governmentality. These concepts are interwoven with histories of labour and automation, recent developments in machine learning and neural networks, and my own past work.

Through a series of expanded lecture performances that describe our algorithmic condition while setting it into motion, this research seeks to discover ways in which to advance new critical positions within a totalizing technical apparatus whose very design preempts it. The included creative works have been performed, exhibited, and published between 2014 and 2018. They are made available online through an artificially intelligent chatbot, a frequent figure in the research, which here extends the concerns of that research through to how the work is framed and presented.

The thesis focuses on both generative art and the lecture performance, which converge in performing algorithms but are generally not discussed in connection with one another. They emerged in parallel as artistic methods, however, at a time when management and computation were taking root in the workplace in the 1960s. Furthermore, as the Internet became widespread from the 1990s, generative art and the lecture performance each found renewed prominence.

With human language and gesture increasingly modelling itself on the language of computation and work constantly reshaped by the innovations of capital, this project identifies “not working” both in terms of the technological breakdown and also as a condition of labour under automation. A discussion of the first fatal accident involving a self-driving vehicle illustrates this dual condition. Shifting from glitch art’s preoccupation with provoking errors to a consideration of not working, this research proposes artistic strategies that learn to occupy rather than display the accident.”

PhD dissertation
Publisher Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne, 2019
146 pages

PDF (eds.): tektonik: New Social Onthology in the Time of Total Communication (2004) [English/Serbian]

5 May 2011, dusan

“tektonik is a collection of texts, transcripts of lectures and interviews with researchers, theoreticians, artists and activists who have been guests of the kuda.lounge program between 2001 and 2004 at the New Media Center. The selected texts, lectures and interviews in this edition are a kind of research intersection in the domain of new technologies, culture and society, research of phenomena such as globalization, technological systems of control, mass communication and the Internet, new social movements, the new proletariat and new economy, the problem of intellectual property rights, and biotechnology. Given that society at the beginning of the twenty-first century is a media-saturated global society, particular focus has been directed towards the problem of the mediation of information which creates current reality.

From the very outset kuda.lounge has been a platform for discussion, argumentation and dialog, in the framework of which more than fifty presentations, lectures and workshops have been organized. In inviting key names involved in critical thinking and social theory and practice, has attempted to offer the local public an insight into contemporary social questions in the world and to establish frequent and lasting communication and cooperation between local theoriticians and activists and an international network. At the public has had the opportunity to hear lectures from Saskie Sassen, Steve Kurtz, Geert Lovink, Konrad Becker, Cindy Cohn and many others.

The development of information and communication technologies has introduced a new social ontology which has manifested itself on the political, cultural, economic and psychological plane. In a time when the promises of a techno-utopia are being transformed into highly-operationalized intelligent machines which serve economic interests, or into trainee virtual units for future conflicts (parallel education and training via computer games as combat simulation, unmanned flying craft – predators), the question is, to what extent can new technologies be used to fulfill some of the promises, pressing in the eighties and early nineties, in the prime of the so-called California ideology? Those promises included social prosperity, creative work, the creation of new workplaces, shortened working hours, global peace in an era of global enlightenment enabled by technology.

Via the texts in this collection we come face to face with warning projections of a dehumanized future determined by the interests of capital, a telling critique of technical-science as the ultimate generator of the capitalist machine. In opposition to this, we can see models of how the potential of new information and communication technologies can be used for democratization and realization of the project of a “better society”.

During the nineties the Balkans was a real battlefield where these global theories “fell in the water” and intersected with specific local interests. A particular idiosyncracy of the local context in the countries of the former Yugoslavia was the comprising of socialism as an idea, the direct or indirect threat of war, life in authoritarian centralism or in a neo-liberal framework of roughshod transition, which also precipitated distrust in broader social action. Parallel with the wars of the nineties, in Serbia a model of accelerated privatization of the public space and an ‘accelerated end’ of the industrial society was carried out, after which Serbian society found itself in limbo between its industrial past and an information-based future, waiting for the reopening of factories that would never be reopened.

The goal of the lectures and discussions was to critically analyze certain socio-political phenomena, to point to the root of the problem and present this to a wider public. The center opens the possibility and space of different interpretations and models of the past, present and future social context, mapping those processes which could potentially endanger human freedom using the sophisticated methods of a high-tech society in a time of the knowledge economy. With the publication of this collection we conclude a cycle which has integrated subjects detecting general social problems, and in a “classical” print medium present them to a wider public.”

Contributions by Saskia Sassen, Micz Flor, Geert Lovink, Konrad Becker, Steve Kurtz, Kristian Lukic, Relja Drazic, Raqs Media Collective.

Serbian title: tektonik: Nova društvena ontologija u vreme totalne komunikacije
Publisher Futura publikacije, Novi Sad, 2004 series, 001
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0 License
ISBN 8671880265
150 pages


PDF, PDF (updated on 2018-6-17)

Surveillance and Society journal, Vol. 1, 6-8 (2002, 2009-2011)

27 January 2011, dusan

Surveillance & Society is the premier peer-reviewed free access electronic journal of surveillance studies.

Surveillance & Society exists to publish innovative and transdisciplinary work on surveillance; encourage understanding of approaches to surveillance in different academic disciplines; promote understanding of surveillance in wider society; encourage policy and political debate about surveillance.

Vol 8, No 3 (2011): Marketing, Consumption and Surveillance. Edited by Jason Pridmore and Detlev Zwick
Vol 8, No 2 (2010): Surveillance and Empowerment
Vol 8, No 1 (2010): Open Issue
Vol 7, No 3/4 (2010): Surveillance, Children and Childhood
Vol 7, No 2 (2010): Surveillance, Performance and New Media Art
Vol 7, No 1 (2009): Open Issue
Vol 6, No 4 (2009): Gender, Sexuality and Surveillance
Vol 6, No 3 (2009): Surveillance and Resistance. Guest Editors: Laura Huey and Luis A. Fernandez
Vol 6, No 2 (2009): Health, Medicine and Surveillance
Vol 6, No 1 (2009): Relaunch Issue: Revisiting Video Surveillance
(2002) Launch Issue

Editorial team: David Murakami Wood (Managing Editor), Sarah Cheung (Editorial Assistant), Kevin D Haggerty (Book Review Editor), Nils Zurawski (Web Manager)
Published by Surveillance Studies Network
ISSN 1477-7487

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