[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 3: Social Media: algorithms, untruths and insurrection

himself at robbycollins.com himself at robbycollins.com
Wed Feb 17 09:00:42 AEDT 2021

Hello all, it's a pleasure to be here, 

This is a great discussion already, but I'll quickly introduce myself
and some relevant recent work which resonates here. 

I've been a random maker of things for a long time. Mostly artefacts
that amused me and made-physical my observations and interactions with
internet culture and agency. As a means to whip myself into some sort of
shape, I completed a masters in interactive media in 2016. 

The project started as a way for me to democratise critical design as I
saw it. I wanted to take it from the gallery space and use design
methodologies to workshop some of these objects, to understand them
better in a participatory way, and to try to redesign them for even more
effectiveness. I leaned heavily on Carl DiSalvo's ideas of designing
publics, agonistic spaces and Adversarial Design. 

What came out of it was a methodology that exceeded my expectations and
produced conversations around digital hegemony, privacy issues, the
voids (to borrow a phrase) of surveillance and algorithms which both
exploited the user and could also be exploited and subverted. The
coldness of data-driven systems towards poverty, mental health and
general human-ness was a big focus. 

Since then, I was distracted by work as a touring manager for Science
Gallery. Which now feels like a distant fever dream! But I find myself
returned to these areas again in this past year. 

I've been working with AI and building Twitter bots which ingest tweets
from conspiracy producers and spit it back out as its own material.
Sadly and pleasingly, they all got suspended in the great purge of
01/21, but this digital ethnography has fed into an object I am working
on - The Conspiracy Capitalizer. A physical interface which has all the
basic buttons, knobs and switches to describe yourself - or any
personality - to an AI which will then try to sell your product using
the conspiracy hashtags-de-jour. Blindly playing algorithm poker and
maybe helping me understand which came first - the conspiracy or the

Right now, as part of a PhD application, I'm diving back into More-Than
Human Centred Design. A movement towards developing a methodology beyond
human centred design which adds algorithms and AI as actors in the
design process and is striving to incorporate contestability into our
interactions. It feels like a positive direction, but it also gives me
undercurrents of concern, which I am trying to define. 

In the light of Alex's post, it feels like an accommodation of these
systems - but that is often design's function. I'll sleep on it and look
forward to getting more into this dialogue. 


On 16/02/2021 13:38, Domenico Barra wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space---------------------- 
> Hello everyone and nice to know you all.  
> As mentioned in the email of introduction I would like to present you our ongoing project, White Page Gallery/s as it is, I believe, the project most on topic and that involves not just me but a large community of artists, curators, academics, events... 
> We all know that even if social media count billions of users and activities everyday, they can feel so small. Algorithms, not just acting like rules, silent and invisible authorities upon us, become a sort of boundaries. Especially for us artists that count on social media to reach our audience and the next opportunity that will make our career choice not a waste of time and our path will lead us to a sustainable possible income. Most of us fail to build an audience and reach our goals. Reasons are many. Lack of resources, time, social media skills, not everyone has the right attitude and confidence to build a credible, fashionable, "authentic", provocative, appealing social media persona. Sometimes, probably most of the time, if we do not play by the rules we become invisible to the algorithms, or the algorithms make us invisible. As everyone rely on social media, this can become a real struggle and worst, a frustration, a delusion. Social media contribute in triggering negative
feelings, creating barriers more than bridges, competions, augumenting hierarchies, creating new elites and new power, new gatekeepers, boosting excessively vanity, the devil's most foolish sin.  
> I have been in the digital art online scene for more or less 10 years, pushing my art online since the first days of MySpace. It has beed a good journey but also a tough one. I joined many communities, from glitch art to crypto art, I noticed in many artists, talented artists and young artists willing to learn, the same discomfort and most of the time caused by relying too much on social media success and being trapped within the social media boundaries hoping to be noticed and appreciated. But what happens to all of the talented artists that lack of social media skills, and luck? 
> White Page Gallery/s is born from this general discomfort aiming to reclaim our internet space and collaboratively create new opportunities sharing skills, know-how, being supportive and less competitve, and also share a share of our social media attention wealth and professional network. I dare to say a cultural revolution, or at least a shift of values and pratices. Curating as taking care.  
> You can reach our website here http://www.whitepagegallery.network, we are about 26 WPG/s online, some records of the first year here https://medium.com/@Altered_Data/one-year-of-white-page-gallery-s-4efaf1d028d3    
> And a text we wrote sometimes after the first lockdown https://medium.com/@Altered_Data/white-page-gallery-art-curating-and-human-values-8f119f4729e1 
> This is the first text I wrote, notes of my brainstorming aiming at creating a concept out from an idea. https://medium.com/@Altered_Data/white-page-gallery-cf9116c14d70 
> If you have questions, suggestions, I am very happy to answer and participate! 
> Thank you so much and have a nice day! 
> Domenico 
> Email : rockmyworld at dombarra.art 
> Website :  www.dombarra.art [2] 
> White Page Gallery/s : http://www.whitepagegallery.network 
> ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ 
> On Tuesday, 16 February 2021 01:32, Renate Ferro rferro at cornell.edu wrote: 
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space---------------------- 
>> Hello -empyreans- 
>> Many thanks to our Week 2 guests: Ana Valdés, Derek Curry, Jennifer Gradecki, and Geert Lovink. Also, thanks to our subscribers: Brian Holmes, Jon McKenzie and Amanda McDonald Crowley for joining in as participants. We appreciate all of your contributions and we hope that if your schedule permits that you will continue to post through Week 3. 
>> We welcome long-time subscriber Alex Taek-Gwang Lee for joining us once again on -empyre-. We always love to have Alex share with us his perspectives especially on the pulse of things in South Korea and Asia. A warm welcome to our new subscribers: 
>> Paul O'Neill, Domenico Barra, Robert Collins, Roisin Kiberd, Ricardo Castellini Da Silva, and Kerry Guinan. Their biographies are listed below. 
>> Looking forward to hearing more about each of your research areas and work as relates to this topic and extending our discussion. 
>> Best, Renate 
>> Paul O'Neill (IE) 
>> Paul O' Neill is a media artist based in Dublin, Ireland. His practice and research is concerned with the implications of our collective dependency on networked technologies and infrastructures. This discourse is reflected in his academic background, a graduate of Dublin City University with a BA International Relations, he followed this with a MSc Multimedia also from Dublin City University and then an MA in Digital Art from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Paul is currently completing a practice-based PhD which focuses on media art practices that critique and subvert techno-solutionist narratives and histories. 
>> www.aswemaysink.com [1] 
>> Domenico Barra (IL) 
>> Low resolution, High vision. Glitch is the event. Pixel is the element. My aesthetics is to be found in the realm of machines failures where I interpret the glitch in various environments and digital styles. The error. The limit. The unexpected. The diversity. The fragility. The imperfection. The vulnerability. Departing from these grounds of elaboration, I develop my research and practice on various topics related to temporality, functionality, accessibility, opportunity, the influence of new technologies, design and politics, have on human relations in terms of interactions and values, in the relation human and machine, with a focus on networks and community, behaviors and languages, memory and identity, how those contribute in the evolution of a new world, society, human, their conception and perception through machines, individuals new self-awareness. My works have been published on sites and magazines including Motherboard, Bullet Magazine, Hyperallergic, Monopol, Observer,
Artribune, Exibart, Widewalls and Digicult. I am listed in the second volume publication about art and technology promoted by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs. I took part in many curatorial projects, my works exhibited at the DAM Gallery in Berlin, at the Media Center in New York, at the Galerie Charlot in Paris, at the Digital Art Center in Taipei, online at World Intellectual Property Organization [WIPO], at the Central Academy of Fine Arts [CAFA] in Beijing, at the MediaLAB of the University of Brasilia, at the Wrong Biennale and in many other galleries and cultural art events worldwide, and also included in academic talks and lectures at international institutes and universities. I directed the organization of the first Glitch Art group show in Italy, Tactical Glitches, curated by Rosa Menkman & Nick Briz. In 2016 I was among the artists invited by the School of Art Institute of Chicago [SAIC] for its 150th anniversary where I gave a lecture and a public talk about piracy
pratices, the impact of the internet and digital media on the production, distribution and consumption of NSFW materials. I am part of the curatorial projects of Sedition Gallery, ELEMENTUM and Snark.Art. I collaborated with the MoCDA Museum, Hard Disk Museum and The Wrong Biennale. I teach glitch art and dirty new media at the Rome University of Fine Art [RUFA] and I give lectures and presentations about glitch art and related topics at academies, schools and festivals. I am the creator of the online art network and community White Page Gallery/s. 
>> Alex Taek-Gwang Lee (KR) 
>> Alex Taek-Gwang Lee is a professor of cultural studies at Kyung Hee University in South Korea and a visiting professor at Jamia Millia Islamia University in India. He is a member of the advisory board for The International Deleuze and Guattari Studies in Asia, Asia Theories Network and the board member of The International Consortium of Critical Theory (ICCT). 
>> Robert Collings (IE) 
>> Robert Collins is an artist and designer based in Ireland.His work explores the inherent noise and saturation of information in contemporary society, through speculative objects, abstract interfaces and digital ethnography.Recently he has moved into the area of Post-Industrial Design, seeking to explore design methodologies which can empower the public to answer the questions raised by Critical and Speculative Design. He holds an MSc in Interactive Media, where he explored the creation of spaces for adversarial discussion and common ground. 
>> http://www.robbycollins.com 
>> Roisin Kiberd (IE, DE) 
>> Roisin Kiberd is a writer from Dublin, currently living (on and off) in Berlin. Her essays and journalism on technology and culture have been published in the Dublin Review, the White Review, the Stinging Fly, the Guardian, Vice and others. Her first book, The Disconnect, will be published by Serpent's Tail in March 2021. 
>> Ricardo Castellini DaSilva (BR, IE) 
>> Dr Ricardo Castellini da Silva is a media literacy educator with an interest in studies and practices at the interface between education and communications, especially in relation to digital media, multimodal learning and new literacy studies. His research investigates the many ways in which new digital technologies can be used to promote media literacy for secondary students and enhance teachers' practices in the use of technology in the classroom. Since 2015, Ricardo has been designing and delivering workshops on media literacy to both teachers and students in secondary schools in Ireland. He also teaches on undergraduate and graduate programmes at both Dublin City University and Trinity College Dublin. Ricardo holds a PhD in Media Literacy from Dublin City University, and a MA in Media, Culture and Education from the Institute of Education, University College London 
>> Kerry Guinan (IE) 
>> Kerry Guinan is a conceptual artist based in Limerick, Ireland. Her multi-disciplinary practice 
>> critiques capitalist relations through interventions, performances, and digital media. She also writes, curates, consults, teaches, and organises politically. Recent projects include a residency in Bill Drummond's Curfew Tower in Antrim (2019), the curation of TULCA Festival of Visual Arts: TACTICAL MAGIC (2019) in Galway, and the solo exhibition 'Our Celestial Sphere' at Pallas Projects/Studios, Dublin (2019). Upcoming projects include a public art commission for The Museum of Everyone, Offaly and exhibitions at Rua Red, Dublin, the Glucksman, Cork, and Govan Project Space, Glasgow. 
>> In 2018, Guinan was awarded the Arts Council of Ireland's prestigious Next Generation Award to develop her practice. She is currently a research scholar at the Limerick School of Art and Design where she is developing the practice of relational socialist realism: an artistic methodology that gives form to global social relations. 
>> www.kerryguinan.art 
>> Renate Ferro 
>> Visiting Associate Professor 
>> Director of Undergraduate Studies 
>> Department of Art 
>> Tjaden Hall 306 
>> rferro at cornell.edu 
>> empyre forum 
>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au 
>> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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[1] http://www.aswemaysink.com
[2] http://www.dombarra.art
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