This conference is a precursor for the upcoming Spring 2015 exhibition, Autonomous:Sensing, that will start on April 9 and run through June 5 in the gallery@calit2.
New technologies and savvy design make it possible to imagine a world where machine sensing and natural sensation come together in new ways and lead toward unprecedented capabilities for knowing and experiencing the world. These technologies emerge from combinations of different techniques: energy harvesting from artificial leaves; epidermal microelectronics; embedded sensors, including nanoscale chemical sensing; machine vision; deep and universal addressing protocols, and more — all supported by truly ubiquitous, networked computation. Together they point toward more than just a platform for the production of information: they imply a radically pervasive distribution of touch, communication, and intelligence into the fabric of the world itself.
We anticipate a functional blending of material surfaces sensing the world and skin touching things in the world. In sharing both information and experience, they may combine ways of knowing with ways of doing, and locate agency throughout expanded networks of sensing and sensation. Within these landscapes, autonomy is always relative and relational. It is a function of the material technologies that now enable both human sensation and machine sensing. When real affective information is moving in and out, no object can withdraw into itself.
The blending of organic and inorganic sensing, from molecular to landscape scale and back again, has provocative implications for art and design, computer science and engineering, as well as ecological monitoring, cognitive science and philosophy. This conference and subsequent exhibition pursues these lines of inquiry by drawing on multiple disciplinary vantage points. We hope to sketch a new program for the modeling and development of synthetic intelligence. The resulting intelligence is not made as a disembodied artificial mind but, in this case, emerging along with forms of distributed networked sensation shared by both biological and computational agents.
Ryan Bishop is Professor of Global Art and Politics at the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. He co-edits the journal Cultural Politics (Duke UP) with John Armitage and Doug Kellner, edits the Global Public Life sections of Theory Culture & Society with John Phillips, edits the Theory Now series for Polity and co-edits with Armitage and Joanne Roberts the new series Technicities for Edinburgh UP. His new books include Virilio and Visual Culture (EUP 2013), co-edited with John Armitage, Comedy and Cultural Critique in American Film (EUP 2013), Otherwise Occupied (Al-hoash, Third Text 2013) and Modernist Avant-Garde Aesthetics and Contemporary Military Technology: Technicities of Perception (EUP 2011), co-authored with John Phillips.
Benjamin H. Bratton is a theorist whose work spans Philosophy, Art and Design. He is Associate Professor of Visual Arts, and Director of D:GP, The Center for Design and Geopolitics at UC San Diego. Starting in Summer 2014, he is also Professor at The European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. His research is situated at the intersections of contemporary social and political theory, computational media & infrastructure, architectural & urban design problems, and the politics of synthetic ecologies and biologies. Current work focuses on the political geography of cloud computing, highly-granular universal addressing systems, and alternate models of ecological governance. His next book, The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, is forthcoming.
Jordan Crandall is a media artist, writer, and performer, and Professor in the Visual Arts Department at UC San Diego. He is the 2011 winner of the Vilém Flusser Theory Award for outstanding theory and research-based digital arts practice, given by the Transmediale and the Vilém Flusser Archive of the University of Arts in Berlin. His research explores ontologies of distributed systems and the status of the human in a militarized landscape increasingly dependent on automated technology. His current project, UNMANNED, was most recently performed at V2_ Institute, Rotterdam, is a blend of performance art, political theater, philosophical speculation, and intimate reverie. Crandall is founding director of the Active Structures + Materials research studio, an interdisciplinary test-site for new theories of materiality and new forms and methods of material practice.
Ed Keller is Director of the Center for Transformative Media at The New School, New York, and Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design. He is a designer, professor, writer, musician and multimedia artist. With Carla Leitao he co-founded AUM Studio, an architecture and new media firm that has produced residential projects, competitions, and new media installations in Europe and the US. His work and writing has appeared widely, in venues including Punctum, Praxis, ANY, AD, Arquine, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Architecture, Precis, Wired, Metropolis, Assemblage, Ottagono, and Progressive Architecture. He speaks on architecture, film, technology and ecology internationally. Current research seminars at Parsons include Post-Planetary Design, and The Radical Future of Guitar, a collaboration with Ola Strandberg.
Jussi Parikka is Professor in Technological Culture & Aesthetics at University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art. He has published on media theory, media archaeology and the biopolitics of network culture. Parikka's books include Digital Contagions (2007), The Spam Book (2009, with Tony Sampson), Insect Media (2010), Media Archaeology (2011, with Erkki Huhtamo), What is Media Archaeology (2012) and the short ebook Anthrobscene (2014). Parikka's next book A Geology of Media is out in Spring 2015 and the co-edited volume on the Finnish media artist Erkki Kurenniemi in Fall 2015. http://jussiparikka.net
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