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Friday, March 27 • 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Narrative Fragments: Art, Language, Algorithm

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We are interested in language on the Internet, how it is created, by whom, where it exists, and how it is used. Three examples: Google reads our emails, garners information from our personal messages and uses that profiling strategy to select “relevant” ads. It then displays those ads on the screen next to the very emails from which the information was initially taken. Facebook and other social media platforms use similar methods of securing and storing data — data that is paradoxically private and public, and all personal. Further, crowd-sourced encyclopedias like Wikipedia are shaping the way we read, learn, and think. Language is what links all of these sites together. All of the sites’ underlying organization and structures have been built to follow the logic we ourselves employ in using language. “Robots” read content, algorithms interpret it and databases memorize it. The impact of this process is no longer confined to the Internet, but has reached beyond it into our everyday lives. 

“Narrative Fragments” will start the discussion with an introduction of American Psycho, an artist book we produced in 2011. American Psycho was created by sending the entirety of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho through GMail, one page at a time. We collected the ads that appeared next to each email and used them to annotate the original text, page by page. When printing it as a perfect bound book, we erased the body of Ellis’ text and left only chapter titles and constellations of our added footnotes. What remains is American Psycho, told through its chapter titles and annotated relational GMail ads.

“Narrative” Fragments will continue with a broader discourse on the practices and implications of networks like Google, Facebook and Wikipedia, and the ways they affect our understanding of language. We have assembled a panel of artists, critics, and writers who will address this phenomenon from their own research and interests. The core question of this panel is: What can we learn about the invisible and mutable algorithms and structures that dominate our participation on the internet? The discussion will provide a richer perspective on the way language behaves online, and aims to uncover the systems that are changing the way we speak, think, read and learn.


Mimi Cabell

Mimi Cabell was born in Nanaimo, BC, Canada. She received her BFA in photography from Ryerson University, an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a second MFA in electronic writing from Brown University. She has shown her work in New York, Providence, Stuttgart, Germany, and Toronto, and presented at conferences in Edinburgh, London, Paris, and at MIT. Recently she received an Academic Commons Grant from the Rhode Island... Read More →

avatar for Liat Berdugo

Liat Berdugo

Liat Berdugo is an artist, writer, and curator based in Oakland, CA. Her work strives to create an expanded, thoughtful consideration for digital culture. Berdugo has been exhibited in galleries and festivals internationally, and her new book, The Everyday Maths, was published by Anomalous Press in 2013. She curates video art for Print Screen, Israel’s international festival of digital art, co-founded the Bay Area’s Living Room Light... Read More →
avatar for Jason Huff

Jason Huff

Jason Huff lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His works explore our relationship to technology with language, everyday objects, and the internet. His projects are included in the Library of the Printed Web and in the Special Collections at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2012 Traumawien Press published a limited edition of his collaborative text-based work, American Psycho. His work has been shown nationally and internationally in museums... Read More →

Nicholas O’Brien

Nicholas O’Brien is a net-based artist, curator, and writer. His work has appeared and featured in several publications including ARTINFO, Rhizome at the New Museum, Junk Jet, Sculpture Magazine, Dazed Digital, The Creators Project, DIS, Frieze d/e, San Francisco Art Quarterly, the Brooklyn Rail, and the New York Times. Currently he teaches as a visiting artist professor and gallery director for the Department of Digital Art at the Pratt... Read More →

Clement Valla

Clement Valla is a Brooklyn based artist. His recent solo show ‘Surface Survey’ at Transfer Gallery in New York was an Artforum Critic’s Pick. His work was included in the “Paddles On!” auction at Phillips, organized by Lindsay Howard. His work has also been exhibited at The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis; Museum of the Moving Image, New York; Thommassen Galleri, Gothenburg; Bitforms Gallery, New York... Read More →

Friday March 27, 2015 4:00pm - 5:15pm
Generator Bldg

Attendees (21)