Out Now: Network Ecologies

NetworkEcologies

Network Ecologies is a great new open-access collection edited by Amanda Starling Gould and Florian Wiencek and published by the Duke Franklin Humanities Institute. The collection takes advantage of the Scalar publishing platform to include a variety of media alongside scholarly texts. Among other things, it includes a collection of artworks by Karin Denson and myself, which we developed for an exhibit at Duke in 2015 (also organized by Amanda Starling Gould) and which grew out of a collaboration with the Duke S-1: Speculative Sensation Lab. There is also an archive of videos from a 2013 symposium, including contributions from Jussi Parikka, Mark Hansen, Stephanie Boluk, Patrick LeMieux, and many others. Lots of great things to discover here–check it out!

 

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/

Sculpting Data (& Painting Networks) — Full Video

Above, a video explaining the collaborative art/theory work that my wife Karin and I have been doing lately — both as a part of the Duke S-1 Speculative Sensation Lab‘s Manifest Data project and in a spin-off project that will be going on display at Duke University next month. The video is being shown right now (at the time of this posting) at North Carolina State University — at the 6th annual AEGS conference “How do you do humanities?,” where Karin is representing the two of us and presenting alongside Amanda Starling Gould, Luke Caldwell, Libi Striegl, and David Rambo.

Wish I could be there, but I’ve got another panel here at SCMS in Montreal today…

Manifest Data @ Media Arts + Sciences Rendez-Vous

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This Thursday, March 5, 2015 (4:15pm, Bay 10, Smith Warehouse at Duke University), members of the S-1 Speculative Sensation Lab, including Amanda Starling Gould, Luke Caldwell, David Rambo, and myself, will be presenting our collaborative art/theory project Manifest Data. As usual, there will be drinks and light refreshments!

Manifest Data: Presentation Audio and Slides

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Click the image above to view the slides and hear the audio track recorded at our January 21, 2015 presentation of Manifest Data, a collaborative art/theory project by the Duke University S-1 Speculative Sensation Lab (directed by Mark B. N. Hansen and Mark Olson). This is an ongoing project, with further elaborations/iterations and presentations/exhibitions in the planning (more soon!).

The presentation took place at The Edge, the new digital and interactive learning space at Duke’s Bostock Library. The presenters (in the order of their appearance) were: Amanda Starling Gould, Luke Caldwell, Shane Denson (me), and David Rambo.

For more info about the project, see here and here — and stay tuned for more!.

Manifest Data

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On January 21, 2015 (3:00-4:00pm), the S-1 Speculative Sensation Lab will be presenting a collaborative artwork titled Manifest Data at The Edge, the new space in Duke University’s Bostock Library devoted to “interdisciplinary, data-driven, digitally reliant or team-based research.”

Manifest Data brings together programmers, 3-D printing specialists, sculptors, and theorists to reflect on the production of value in the digital age, the materiality of information, and the (non-)place of mediated relations.

Code written by Luke Caldwell captures data that would otherwise be leaked as we browse the web, and exploited by the likes of Google and Facebook; in a second step, this data is transformed into a coordinate system that can be mapped as a 3D object. In collaboration with other lab members, artist Libi Striegl prepares and prints out the resulting “data creatures.” Karin Denson has reimagined these forms as beautifully grotesque garden gnomes — thus reappropriating a figure that has become a symbol for 3D printing and a marketing tool for companies like MakerBot. Together, Karin and I have further translated these figures into the hybrid spaces of augmented reality, planting the gnomes strategically and in such a way as to instantiate a very personal system for creating value that — dare we hope? — is immune to corporate cooptation. Lab members David Rambo and Max Symuleski, among others, round out the project with artistic-theoretical statements connecting the project of Manifest Data with a critical questioning of contemporary manifest destiny and a new phrenology for the digital age.

The S-1 Lab is directed by Mark B. N. Hansen and Mark Olson in the Media Arts + Sciences Program at Duke. The Manifest Data project was initiated by Amanda Starling Gould, who has continued to provide it with a guiding aesthetic-theoretical vision.

More information about the presentation, which happens to be the inaugural presentation in the “What I Do With Data” series of the Digital Scholarship Services at Duke, can be found here.