edited journals

Biometrics: Mediating Bodies

I co-edited a special issue of the journal PUBLIC: Art/Culture/Ideas on Biometrics.

This issue maps out some of the ways that bodies have been measured and identified based on biometrics ever since the rise of media technologies, from nineteenth century anthropometry to modern day computational science. From case studies and interventions detailing the history and politics of biometrics, to creative and critical applications and visualizations of the biometric body, the authors and artists included here work across diverse theoretical approaches and disciplinary traditions to engage the machine-readable body. The contributions are organized around five conversations—History of Measurement; Politics and Governance; Aesthetics; Narratives and Experiences; and Design—that reflect the reach of biometrics today. One the one hand, they consider the quantified and objectified body as it becomes part of systems of identification and recognition, such as in contexts of security or surveillance. On the other, they highlight the new narratives, aesthetics, and experiential mediations of the body that surface in fields like health, cinema, media art, and curation. Along the way, these articles take on biometric technologies through a variety of questions and angles, including those of standardization and normalization, identification, infrastructures, verification protocols and algorithmic methods, but also perspectives centered on the representations, renderings, imaginings, and experiences of measured and monitored bodies.

Spring 2020 (vol. 30, issue 60), 296 pages, full colour

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Read the introduction

Table of contents

  • INTRODUCTION: Biometrics: Mediating Bodies, Aleksandra Kaminska and David Grondin
  • APPROACHES TO EXPERIMENTAL SOUND ART: Towards a Posthuman Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, Erin Gee and
  1. HISTORIES OF MEASUREMENT
  • WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN BIASED: Measuring the Human Body from Anthropometry to the Computational Social Sciences, Kevin Donnelly
  • THE DRAFTED BODY, Gabriel Schaffzin
  • PHOTOGRAPHIC PASSPORT BIOMETRY, Liv Hausken
  1. POLITICS & GOVERNANCE
  • BIOMETRIC ALGORITHMS AS BORDER INFRASTRUCTURES, Mediation, the Security/Mobility Nexus, and the Smart Borders Discourse, David Grondin
  • THE CARCERAL AIRPORT: Managing Race as Risk through Biometric Systems and Technologies, Constantine Gidaris
  • “THE LIVING DEAD”: Orphaning in Aadhaar-enabled Distribution of Welfare Pensions in Rajastha,. Ranjit Singh
  1. AESTHETICS
  • BIOMETRIC AESTHETICS: Towards a Critical Theory of the Biometric Body, Rob Heynen
  • BIOMETRICS AND ITS RESISTENCE: Lea Laura Michelsen
  • A GLUT OF FACES: Investigating the Resonance of Biometric Technologies in Contemporary Portraiture, Kristina Fiedrich\
  • DIGI SONUS and EYES: Biometric Data Arts using Fingerprint and Iris Data, Yoon Han
  1. NARRATIVES & EXPERIENCES
  •  HEALTH BIOMETRICS AND THE NARRATIVE SELF, Daniel Laforest
  • THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE: Biometric Data, Medical Imaging, and Embodied Narrative, Rachel Conrad Bracken
  • ANIMATING THE KINETIC TRACE: Kate Bush, Hatsune Miku, and Posthuman Dance, Hilary Bergen
  • THE QUANTIFIED AND CUSTOMIZED MUSEUM: Measuring, Matching, and Aggregating Audiences, Caroline Wilson-Barnao
  1. DESIGN
  • BEFORE BODY SCANNING THERE WAS LOOKER” Building the Proto-Digital Hollywood Actor circa 1981, Alana Staiti
  • DIGITAL DRAPERY AND BODY SCHEMA-TICS: Collaborative Authorship in Motion Capture Performance, Dan Leberg
  • VIRTUAL BODIES INC.: Framing Corporate Mediations of Bodies in VR, Daniel Harley

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