I've been feeling like my thesis statement isn't where I want it to be — though I was happy with the elevator pitch. Marijke suggested writing ten imperfect ones to get myself out of my head and so I did. Behold:
What I Have Now, Revised with Suggestions from Kate
The positivist and logico-totalitarian nature of computing culture (as currently constituted) manifests and influences everyday discourse — particularly through the way we understand and deploy information and data. Using standard sensors and the basic form of data visualization but nonstandard content — amorphous, incomplete, layered memory — provides for a system of ambiguous data collection and reflection that may stand as an alternative.
Oublie/Trouve is a system for collecting and recollecting memories. It offers myself and other artists a portal to a different relationship to computing memory and behavior in the hopes that we may imagine a more humane future of human-computer interaction.
O/t is a poetic system of hardware and software created as a prototype of a non-positivist non-information–based computing object. It serves a focus for research and speculation into a preferable future, where the humane and the binary are not seen as opposing forces.
O/t repurposes sensors and data collection for private and ambiguous ends in the search for a less aggressive human-computer interaction — one not animated by mid-century positivism. As a poetic object, O/t instantiates its objections.
O/t is an adaptive time travel device — collecting, recollecting, and recombining the narrative moments that add up to us. By repurposing sensors and data collection, O/t offers a different type of computing companion and thereby a different imaginative path.
By deploying limiting and containing technologies — namely sensors and data visualization — for ambiguous, incomplete, and private purposes, O/t proposes a reversed value proposition between humans and machines. By offering a system where the human’s capacity to reflect and layer is used to augment the machine’s limited facility for ambiguity, O/t offers a starting point for new dreams of the future.
What if Claude Shannon was wrong? What if information only made sense — what if it only lived — when embedded in its context and interpreted by a human mind? The Invested Object project takes up this inquiry by creating and testing O/t, a system for contextual memory and computer-aided suggestion, and thereby providing imaginative threads to artists and other observers of computing culture.
The current context-ignoring and surveillance-enabling focus of computing culture is the direct result of its origins in nineteenth century mathematics and twentieth century militaries — and the definition of information that proceeded from these. By creating works like O/t that instantiate a different view of information, we can embody a counter-theory of information — as the incomplete emergence of human knowing.
The teleology of computing machines has been determined by their mathematic births and the cybernetic tales told about the kinship between human brains and logic machines; since the 1950s people have been asked to fit themselves to machines and to understand themselves as imperfect squishy computers. O/t rectifies this error by demanding machines instead instantiate the theories of human memory outlined in Proust.
Computers are a cultural garbage fire because we let nineteenth century mathematicians — more enamored of machines that people — decide not just how they should work but what they should be used for. O/t attempts to redirect the flow of possibility by instantiating human wisdom, played in this work by Proust’s conception of memory and self-realization.
A system for collecting and displaying data in a format that can only be fully decoded by the human who saved it, O/t uses a pocket computer and networked object to enable time travel and insight in the place of surveillance and lifetime of feeding facts to a machine. It serves as an concrete objection to contemporary positivist narratives.
Though I want to explain everything, I know this is not possible. The exercise did make for some great phrases to Frankenstein together into
The Winner, For Now
The context-ignoring, surveillance-enabling beliefs and behavior of contemporary computing culture is the direct result of its origins in nineteenth century mathematics and twentieth century militaries — and the definition of information that proceeds from these. Using standard sensors and the basic form of data visualization but nonstandard content — amorphous, incomplete, layered memory — Oublié/Trouvé embodies a counter-theory of information and thereby dangles imaginative threads to artists and other observers of computing culture.