Notes on Transmediale (Saturday)

These are my notes from the Saturday sessions. The Friday notes are here.

The morning started with “Deplatformization and the Ethics of Exclusion”. Eva Marie Giraud began the session talking about food and its communal politics. From this, she raised the questions about how boundaries materialise and the came back to the point that, as a community, we need to acknowledge the exclusions and to take responsibility for them. I felt that this echoed Ulises Mejias’s talk about what was not in the network.

This was followed by Roel Roscam Abbing and Aymeric Mansoux used J.K Gibson-Graham’s use of theory as a way of opening a field, Diverse economies: performative practices for `other worlds’ (needs login). They set up the 7 theses of ongoing critique and openness – memes, openness and universality, pluralism, move from technical to social understandings of privacy, data sharecropping and forced labour, new kind of usership and renewal of F/LOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) critiques. These opened up the debate in a different way for me, although since then I have come across a similar tack in Geert Lovink’s book on networks. Both really got me thinking, and excited, about the use of theory as practice.

The afternoon contained the second highlight for me, John Longwalker and Geert Lovink‘s talk on Sad by Design. The talk and musical session went across the book’s concerns but he circled back to the critique and experiments as a way of engaging with the Web and thinking about techno-epistemology. Something to think about is the difference between web and apps and the differing relationships with technology. I hope to think about this more in the coming months for a different project.

Matteo Pasquinelli‘s session on neural networks rounded off the two days. He spoke about his forthcoming book from Verso and how humans see the world through AI and how AI sees the world. Stephanie Dick‘s talk on the history of computing was intriguing. Drawing on machines as plodding thinkers and modelling as self-fulfilling prophecy, when reading can bring forth the state that it describes, as per Propublica’s research into re-offending and AI for justice and sentencing. Katherine Jarmul spoke about hacking AI and the various strategies that can be taken to temporarily throw noise at the machines watching and listening, such as adversarial fashion. Tega Brain echoed this in her talk and raised questions about issues of human in the machine.

There was so much more that I missed or have forgotten but, for me, that is the sign of a decent and rich set of sessions. Various pointers appeared in the talks and threads that I want to pull on through the following months. First, I need to do some more on my PhD research.

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