Year: 2018

On the Concept of Recognition in Media Art

Now available: proceedings from the fantastic Politics of the Machines: Art and After (EVA Copenhagen) conference that was held in May are now online. I have a paper here which is my first working through the concept of recognition and how it might be useful in thinking politically about the media artwork, particularly artworks that explore the automated recognition of human emotions by computers that rely on a biometric analysis of the body. ABSTRACT On the Concept of Recognition in Media Art: Emotional Reactions, Empathetic Interactions Biometric technologies have transformed recognition into an empirical and automated activity. But recognition is not just a matter of identification or surveillance. As computer systems become capable of detecting human emotion, we are reminded of philosophical approaches to recognition that place it as central activity of human self-realization and social existence. Bringing together these dual notions of recognition, this paper considers how artists are taking hold of the technical possibilities of recognition to make political the media artwork. Specifically, it turns to Karen Palmer’s interactive film RIOT (protoype) (2016), …

Media History from the Margins

I was fortunate enough to participate this August in the Media History from the Margins summer seminar in Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland. The call for this fantastic retreat originally stated: The summer seminar aims to rethink media history from the margins and to place at the center of our attention neglected, alternative, or censured media texts, uses, and technologies. By shifting the discussion from hegemonic actors, dominant institutions, and successful mass media to the fringes of media history, it pursues the double objective of rewriting media history into media histories, and of opening a space to rethink historiographical practices and methods. The writing of marginal histories is inseparable from a reflection on the modes of operation and politics of historical writing: bringing together established and emerging scholars, the seminar investigates what has been left over by hegemonic mass media and hegemonic historical narratives. I highly recommend perusing the  extended abstracts from the programme, as well as the PhD students’  blog posts to get a feel for our discussions on the margins of media history. There …

CFP – Biometrics: Mediating Bodies

Special issue #60 of PUBLIC: Art/Culture/Ideas Publication Fall 2019 Biometrics refers to the way that bodies are measured and identified. It uses the logic of calculation to reduce the identity of a body to a set of data. In her work on facial recognition, Kelly Gates (2011) reminds us that biometric identification is a way of addressing the “problem of ‘disembodied identities,’ or the existence of visual and textual representations of individuals that circulate independent of their physical bodies,” a situation that has been particularly exacerbated with the rise of media technologies since the nineteenth century. This issue of PUBLIC works to understand the many ways that biometrics reinserts the body into mediated communication. Signatures are one pre-digital example of the ways that we have extracted something produced by the body as a form of authoritative representation. Today, features of the body itself—such as the face, heartbeat, gait, fingerprint, DNA, voice—are used not only by humans to recognize each other, but also as a way to program computers, machines and electronic systems to read bodies …

“Nano-Optical Image-Making” in Leonardo

This article has been a long time coming but it is finally available in online form in Leonardo’s Just Accepted (and on my Academia page). Nano-Optical Image-Making: Morphologies, Devices, Speculations ABSTRACT This article provides a technical overview of nano-optical image-making produced between the author, engineering scientists at the Ciber Lab in Vancouver, and the artists Christine Davis and Scott Lyall. It situates the work in relation to other optical technologies like holographs, to the primary application of nano-optical images as authentication devices, and to other artistic practices interested in nanoscale interactions of light and matter. The paper articulates the convergence of visual technologies and designed materials by explaining how the principles of structural color can be used for the production of images. Building a discussion on the shift from device to medium that is anchored around questions of remediation and reproducibility, it concludes with a speculation on informatic matters, or the convergence of mediating functions at the surface of things.

Artefact Lab

The Artefact Lab is new space for research and exploration in the field of media studies in the Department of Communication at the UdeM. Privileging a reflection on media materialities across scales, time periods, cultures, and practices, the activities of the lab are located at the intersection of the following research axes: Media archaeology and history Technical and biological materials and matters of mediation Imaginaries, representations and cultural dimensions of the technical universe Practices and aesthetics at the crossroads of art and technology, including electronic, media and bio arts Digital infrastructures and emerging technologies Media spaces, environments and milieux Philosophy and epistemology of the arts, science and technology The lab is organized and directed in collaboration with my colleague Ghislain Thibault. It will host monthly meetings of its members and graduate students, reading groups, invited speakers, and other special events. Website