Tracks, Traces: Engaging Algorithms

Someone in need of digital detox?

   His had been quaff’d too quickly, and he found
   The dregs were wormwood; but he fill’d again,
   And from a purer fount, on holier ground,
   And deem’d its spring perpetual; but in vain!
   Still round him clung invisibly a chain
   Which gall’d for ever, fettering though unseen,
   And heavy though it clank’d not; worn with pain,
   Which pined although it spoke not, and grew keen,
Entering with every step, he took, through many a scene.

from Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage edited by Jerome McGann.

Could be a fitting epigraph to a group show at InterAccess:

Scaffolds I can no longer see? reveals the unseen algorithms that govern digital infrastructures.

Here is a quotation from the paper keepsake authored by the curators, Sophia Oppel and Philip Leonard Ocampo

I am 67% apprehension / teased into scrolling
to lull myself to sleep / exhausted thinking of
all the money my body can exhibit / in whose
hands? / beyond that which appears constant
/ clicking at an intimate rate / my sight,
visionless but still selecting / redirecting
focus / the infinite choice of infinite error

paper keepsake - InterAccess - scaffolds - sophia opal - philip leonard ocampo

At the time this group show was on in Toronto, a call for paper was published on Humanist for a conference to be held in Malmö, Sweden.

Humanist 33.445 – events: actors, logics & cultures behind it all

Behind Data and Algorithms.

Call for papers attending to the actors, logics and/or cultures behind digital technologies for a conference co-organized by Malmö University Data Society research program (
& the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society in Berlin (

We seek papers discussing any of the following exemplary questions:

Actors: Who are the people and organizations that create and maintain algorithms and other digital technologies behind the communication interfaces of platforms, apps, search engines or games? What about diversity and diversity challenges in the software industry? Under which working conditions is software produced? What are the professional norms and values of software designers, programmers and engineers?

Logics: What are the processes and rules of the game in the production of algorithms and digital technologies? What are criteria for “good” code? What are the business models behind algorithms, “big data” and artificial intelligence? How do monopolies or hegemonic actors influence the production and the design of digital technologies?

Cultures: Which norms and values inform the production of algorithms and digital technologies? Are there any specific views, ideas, narratives or imaginations of the world that inform the creation of technologies? Is there a specific culture of software creation? Are there critical, Marxist, feminist or queer approaches, and what are their contributions?

Making chains visible. And so less bearable? I can drink to that. Even quaff deeply.

And so for day 2603

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