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Archaeology of a Data Practice

Machine learning—programming computers to learn from data—has spread across scientific disciplines, media, entertainment, and government. Medical research, autonomous vehicles, credit transaction processing, computer gaming, recommendation systems, finance, surveillance, and robotics use machine learning. Machine learning devices (sometimes understood as scientific models, sometimes as operational algorithms) anchor the field of data science. They have also become mundane mechanisms deeply embedded in a variety of systems and gadgets.

Mobile Media, Design, and Gender

For many of our interactions with digital media, we do not sit at a keyboard but hold a mobile device in our hands. We turn and tilt and stroke and tap, and through these physical interactions with an object we make things: images, links, sites, networks. In The Fabric of Interface, Stephen Monteiro argues that our everyday digital practice has taken on traits common to textile and needlecraft culture.

Today, in the age of CCTV, drones, medical body scans, and satellite images, photography is increasingly decoupled from human agency and human vision. In Nonhuman Photography, Joanna Zylinska offers a new philosophy of photography, going beyond the human-centric view to consider imaging practices from which the human is absent.

The War Between Data and Images

If the twentieth century was tyrannized by images, then the twenty-first is ruled by data. In Technologies of Vision, Steve Anderson argues that visual culture and the methods developed to study it have much to teach us about today’s digital culture; but first we must examine the historically entangled relationship between data and images. Anderson starts from the supposition that there is no great divide separating pre- and post-digital culture.

Teens, Teachers, and Mobile Media in a Los Angeles High School

Schools and school districts have one approach to innovation: buy more technology. In Good Reception, Antero Garcia describes what happens when educators build on the ways students already use technology outside of school to help them learn in the classroom. As a teacher in a public high school in South Central Los Angeles, Garcia watched his students’ nearly universal adoption of mobile devices.

Cognition, Computing, Art, and Embodiment

In Making Sense, Simon Penny proposes that internalist conceptions of cognition have minimal purchase on embodied cognitive practices. Much of the cognition involved in arts practices remains invisible under such a paradigm. Penny argues that the mind-body dualism of Western humanist philosophy is inadequate for addressing performative practices. Ideas of cognition as embodied and embedded provide a basis for the development of new ways ofspeaking about the embodied and situated intelligences of the arts.