003.5: Ten Terrible Thesis Statements

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.

1
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.

2
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.

3
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.

4
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.

5
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.

6
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.

7
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.

8
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.

9
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.

10
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.