KIM is happy to announce a partnership with transmediale festival for a panel on algorithmic activism that brings forward the engagement of the Art Research and Media Philosophy department of HfG with the contemporary issues of data privacy, security and sovereignty. The panel is combined with a student workshop to study and reveal the way in which Facebook algorithms track online and offline behaviours. The workshop is an attempt to propose a format of ‘algorithmic literacy’ also for schools and universities.
Affects Ex-Machina: Unboxing Social Data Algorithms
Presented and moderated by: Ariana Dongus (KIM HfG Karlsruhe). With: Ramon Amaro (Goldsmith University), Claudio Agosti and Nayantara Ranganathan (ALEX – Algorithm Exposed campaign), Caroline Sinders (machine learning designer and artist).
Conventional media have long filtered information and influenced public opinion. In the age of social media, this process has become algorithmic and targeted, separating the whole of society into thousands of small filter bubbles that construct collective orientations and pilot viral phenomena. This panel examines how machine learning and obscure algorithms analyze and manipulate individual affects into political sentiments, eventually amplifying class, gender, and racial bias. Is it possible to reverse engineer the expanding capturing of emotional data? Which forms of resistance are possible against social data algorithms? From upcoming European elections to data surveillance in India, the speakers will discuss and present new projects and strategies of algorithmic activism and data sovereignty.
Claudio Agosti is a self-taught hacker who since the late 90ties has gradually become a techno-political activist as technology has begun to interfere with society and human rights. In the last decades, he worked on whistleblower protection with GlobaLeaks, advocated against corporate surveillance, and founded “facebook tracking exposed.” He is a research associate in UvA, DATACTIVE team, vice president of the Hermes Center for Digital Human Rights.
Ramon Amaro (@SambaRhino) is a Lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London as well as in the Centre for Research Architecture where he teaches the MA special subject ‘Conflicts & Negotiations’, and the BA courses ‘Fact of Blackness’ and ‘Space and Time’. Previously he was Research Fellow in Digital Culture at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam and visiting tutor in Media Theory at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, NL (KABK). Ramon completed his PhD in Philosophy at Goldsmiths, while holding a Masters degree in Sociological Research from the University of Essex and a BSe in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has worked as Assistant Editor for the SAGE open access journal Big Data & Society; quality design engineer for General Motors; and programmes manager for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). His research interests include machine learning, design/engineering, black ontology, and philosophies of being.
Nayantara Ranganathan is a researcher based in Bangalore, working on a feminist politics of data and infrastructures, and free speech. A core part of her work is building tools and resources that help situate stakes in “digital rights” issues for the larger human rights movements.
Caroline Sinders is a machine learning design researcher and artist. She is the founder of Convocation Design + Research, a design and research agency focusing on the intersections of machine learning, user research, designing for public good, and solving communication difficult problems. As a designer and researcher, she’s worked with groups like Amnesty International, Intel, IBM Watson, the Wikimedia Foundation as well as others. She is also a research fellow with Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Policy. Caroline has held fellowships with BuzzFeed, Eyebeam, SOHO20 Gallery, the Yerba Buena Centers of the Arts, the Studio for Creative Inquiry, the International Center of Photography as well as others. Her work has been featured at the Victoria and Albert Museum, MoMA PS1, the Houston Center for Contemporary Art, Slate, Quartz, the Channels Biennale, as well as others. Caroline holds a master’s degree from New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Concept: Matteo Pasquinelli (KIM HfG) and Daphne Dragona (transmediale)
Bring Your Metadata: A Practical Analysis of the Facebook Algorithm
With: Claudio Agosti and Nayantara Ranganathan (ALEX – Algorithm Exposed campaign)
Metadata are data about data, secondary information about our data footprint that can be used to fully reconstruct individual profiles and collective behaviours. Even if they are anonymized, they remain the invisible and most important currency of the digital economy. What are the risks for individual privacy and what can be revealed by metadata analysis? In this workshop, metadata will be used not to study people, but to examine the logic and structure of algorithmic control. Facebook datasets and tracking techniques will be under scrutiny. By exploring and playing with this metadata, participants will understand the impact that algorithms have on individuals and society as a whole.
Building a Feminist Data Set
With: Caroline Sinders (machine learning designer and artist)
This workshop explores how data collection can be used as an artistic practice and a collaborative, community practice. It involves a lecture on machine learning, data, and design thinking, but ultimately is collaborative and a facilitated process towards building a feminist data set from the ground up. Exploring the potential of data to disrupt larger systems by generating new forms of agency, the following questions are addressed: Can data collection itself function as an artwork? Can it act as a form of protest? The creation of this feminist data set will act as a means to combat bias and introduce the possibility of data collection as a feminist practice, aiming to produce a slice of data to intervene in larger civic and private networks.