Center for Advanced Visual Studies/MIT, 265 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor, Room N51-390, Cambridge, MA.
Transnetworks Abstract: The rhetoric of networks has entirely infiltrated contemporary discourse about digital media. Nevertheless, there is a lack of focus on the actual infrastructure of the networks themselves: how different networks function as a result of different infrastructures, and what role contemporary cultural production has in conceptualizing alternative network designs. We need to focus on the proverbial (by now) “lines of flight” that makes the links between heterogeneous networks visible, but additionally breaks the networks open through acts of resistance, of the unexpected link to an alternative network. This is an actualization of an ethico-aesthetic paradigm, the playful-serious, the “-” ever more important as the link we make ourselves between that-which-we-must-find-out and that-which-we-want-instead.
This talk will present two recent projects that foreground instances of alternative notions of network infrastructures. The first, Fluid Nexus, is a mobile phone project designed to enable activists and relief workers to communicate independent of a centralized network. Considering people and mobile phones together, this project sees human and non-human assemblages as fluid and ever-forming and -breaking:
people become engaged in ad-hoc networks and are enrolled as carriers of data.
The second, MAICgregator, is a Firefox extension that aggregates information about colleges and universities embedded in the military-academic-industrial complex (MAIC). The extension replaces information on university websites with alternative sources from government funding databases, private press releases, and public information about trustees. By forcing these networks of organizations and data to intersect, the project works as a critique of contemporary university priorities while also suggesting one possible technique of dealing with the commodification of the web.
Nicholas Knouf is a PhD student in information science at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. His research explores the interstitial spaces between information science, critical theory, digital art, and science and technology studies.
Past and current work has been recognized by a number awards, including an Honorary Mention by Prix Ars Electronica in [the next idea] category (2005), the Leonardo Abstracts Service (LABS) for his master’s thesis (2008), a memefest Award of Distinction (2008), a special transmediale “Online Highlight” (2009), and a “Turbulence Spotlight” (2009). Additionally, his work has been discussed in print and online media, including ID Magazine, the Boston Globe, CNN, Slashdot, and Afterimage.
More information can be seen at his website, zeitkunst.org.