From Building Dwelling Thinking to Making Mining Networking

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Making Mining Networking, a collection of works by Karin Denson and myself, opened yesterday at Duke University’s digital research, collaboration, and exhibition space The Edge, as part of the Network Ecologies project organized by Amanda Starling Gould. Also on display are fascinating works by Rebecca Norton. The show will run until Fall, so check it out if you get a chance. Be sure to bring along your smartphone or tablet with a QR scanner installed, as all of our pieces are scannable, interactive works that will open an augmented reality browser.

I have previously posted our exhibition statement (here), and our video “Sculpting Data (and Painting Networks)” offers the best introduction to what we’re trying to do in the exhibit. For what it’s worth, though, I also wanted to post a few additional remarks about the title of the collection that I made yesterday in our talk:

The title of our current collection, “Making Mining Networking,” includes a kind of oblique – possibly awkward – reference to Martin Heidegger’s essay “Building Dwelling Thinking” (Bauen Wohnen Denken). This is not in any way a “Heideggerian” exhibit, though; as you’ll see, it includes Marxist subtexts throughout that should militate against that. We are skeptical, in particular, of Heidegger’s Romanticism, but we think that the oblique reference serves to highlight a few things:

First of all, if building and dwelling were the quintessential human activities for Heidegger, our title suggests the possibility of some developments that couldn’t have been anticipated by him and that have to do with the advent of digital media, among other things.

“Building,” which for Heidegger opened up spaces and gathered “worlds” for communities that came into being around the Greek temple or the bridge across a romantic German river, gives way today to more local, far less grand practices of “making”; the maker culture that centers around 3D printing, physical computing, and other technologies might be emblematic of this shift.

And “dwelling,” which for Heidegger described the supposedly authentic mode of existence of mortals upon the earth, becomes infinitely minable today, as mining comes to name physical and virtual processes that transform the mere fact of living into the source of a surplus value that can be accumulated, processed, and exploited.

And finally “thinking,” which for Heidegger implied a profound sort of “questioning,” aimed at getting to “the ground” of Being in all its Romantic mystery, has perhaps given way to a more superficial, also not unproblematic, mode of relating things: the pervasive mode of “networking,” which connects people and things in both systematic and haphazard ways.

Finally, though, the reference to Heidegger is also meant to signal our commitment to interrogating these developments in terms that might indeed resonate, if only awkwardly, with Heidegger’s mode of questioning – in terms, that is, of the impacts that making, mining, and networking, as characteristic activities of our contemporary moment, have on our lifeworlds and on the reorganization of spatial realities through the addition of virtual and augmented layers.

We hope, however, that our mode of interrogating these things is a bit more playful, a lot less earnest, and a lot more fun than Heidegger would approve of…

In that spirit, go check out our data-driven garden gnomes, who are currently residing both in The Edge and all around Duke’s West Campus:

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Network Ecologies Arts in the Edge

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Poster for the Network Ecologies exhibition, which pairs Rebecca Norton‘s affine geometry-based work with the data-driven, generative, and AR-enhanced pieces that Karin and I have assembled under the title “Making Mining Networking.”

Opening event next Monday, April 20, 2015:

Full Schedule
All events in the Edge Workshop Room unless otherwise specified

2:00: Exhibit Opens (Edge Open Lab), Artists available for questions

3:00 Formal events begin: Welcome & Introduction

3:30 Artist Talk, Shane + Karin Denson + Q&A
4:00 Artist Talk, Rebecca Norton + Q&A

4:30 Mini Hands-on Digital Arts Workshop with Artist Rebecca Norton – make your own digital affine image!

Reception to follow.

Registerhttp://tinyurl.com/edge-netcologies
#netcologies

More info here: http://sites.duke.edu/digital/training-events/

Video: Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory, Part 3: Patricia Pisters, “The Filmmaker as Metallurgist” — #SCMS15

Above, Patricia Pisters’s talk “The Filmmaker as Metallurgist” — the third of five videos documenting the “Post-Cinema and/as Speculative Media Theory” panel I chaired on March 27, 2015 at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference in Montreal.

See here for more information and a general introduction to the panel.

Up next: Adrian Ivakhiv. Stay tuned!

Participatory Poverty (after Hito Steyerl)

This piece collects a variety of images circulating online and thinks about the status of what Hito Steyerl calls “the poor image.” Of particular interest is the conjunction of technological, political, socio-economic, and aesthetic facets, factors, and practices that Steyerl identifies in her provocative essay on the subject. Significantly, Steyerl breaks with both nostalgic or backwards-looking approaches to the “end” or “death” of cinema and with the one-sided celebration of a so-called “participatory culture,” which tends to ignore the capitalist framework within which fan-based acts of appropriation and expansion are themselves appropriated as “immaterial labor” in the service of big-business entertainment franchises. This project seeks to highlight the ambivalent status of the poor image, utilizing techniques of datamoshing and databending, themselves fan-based techniques for image impoverishment that have also been employed in high-profile projects (e.g. big-budget music videos) and projects with a high-cultural cachet (e.g. gallery art).

In order to question the confluence of technical and socio-economic/political considerations at work in the poor image while avoiding too much editorial interference or interpretation on my part, the video above works generatively – drawing materials from YouTube and collating them according to the itinerary dictated by the search results for the term “poor image.” That is, the first 44 search results (from a query conducted on April 8, 2015) are cycled three times, in the order of their appearance in the list of results – initially taking the first ten seconds of each clip, then the next five, and finally the next second. After combining the images, in this order, all I-frames were removed (so-called “datamoshing”), thus establishing unexpected – and, I think, interesting and sometimes telling – connections between the clips.

Making Mining Networking

MakingMiningNetworking-Poster-small On April 20, 2015, Karin and I will present our collaborative art project Making Mining Networking at the opening of the Network Ecologies exhibition at The Edge at Duke University. Also participating will be Rebecca Norton, whose work will make up the other half of the exhibition, which will be on display from April 20 until August 2015. We are very excited to show our work in this venue! (Stay tuned for the program of events on the 20th.) Above, our exhibit statement (scan the QR code for a brief video “user’s guide” that will give you a taste of what you can expect at the exhibit). Finally, here is the info about the exhibition posted on the Duke Libraries + Digital Scholarship website:

apr 20 Digital Studio KEYNOTE EVENT, Network Ecologies Arts in the Edge, Rebecca Norton & Karin + Shane Denson (The Edge, Bostock Library, Level 1, West Campus, Duke University campus map) The Network Ecologies Arts in the Edge exhibition will bring together two collaborative collections that will be featured in the Network Ecologies digital scalar publication. Combining machinic and human agencies in the form of generative sculpture, painting, and augmented reality (AR), the works by Karin + Shane Denson probe the material and virtual valences of “mining” in today’s networked ecology. Rebecca Norton uses affine geometry to explore actions and intuitions of intermediacy – what she describes as a feeling of being suspended in the middle stages of a process.  For this exhibition, Rebecca will be presenting a range of works, created in collaboration with Eddie Eliot, Erik S Guzman, and Kari Britta Lorenson, that include paintings, digital interactive artworks, and image stills from her current video project. This exhibition is an extension of Amanda Starling Gould’s multipart Ecology of Networks project which has already produced an online scholarly conversation (2012), a successful in-person Network_Ecologies Symposium at Duke University that featured keynotes Mark BN Hansen and Jussi Parikka (2013), a live-blogged digital scholarly publication design sprint and a second round of contribution accompanied by an innovative internal, ‘networked’ peer review process (2014), and plans to culminate in a multiauthored curated digital scalar publication, co-designed with Florian Wiencek, to be completed in winter 2015. The Ecology of Networks project has been sponsored by the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) and the Duke PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge, and generously supported by various Duke University departments. The core Network Ecologies Arts in the Edge exhibition will be open from April 20, 2015 – August 2015. On April 20, 2015 we will have an opening event with artist talks, hands-on demonstrations, and one-day exhibitions by our artists that will include a giant AR gnome, an AR treasure hunt, and a screening of a networked video that will be projected onto the walls of the Duke Edge Digital Research Commons. The Network Ecologies Arts in the Edge exhibition and event will be co-sponsored by the FHI, the Duke PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge, and Duke Digital Scholarship Services. Rebecca Norton: rebeccajnorton.com Shane Denson: medieninitiative.wordpress.com  Karin Denson: thenewkrass.wordpress.com For full event details, stay tuned here on our Duke Digital Scholarship Services Events Calendar. #netcologies

Audiovisualities Lab — Film Screening and Project Showcase

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On April 8, 2015, I will be participating in this event, hosted by the Duke Audiovisualities Lab. During the “project showcase” portion of the event, several of the people involved in Bill Seaman and John Supko‘s Generative Media Authorship seminar — including Eren GumrukcuogluAaron Kutnick, and myself — will be presenting generative works. I will be showing some of the databending/glitch-video work I’ve been doing lately (see, for example, here and here). Refreshments and drinks will be served!