Today we live in environments where computation and life have become inextricably intertwined. Terms such as “the anthropocene” and “the technosphere” are attempts to articulate and represent this phenomenal switch in the relationship of computation, technology, media and life. But perhaps our era might more appropriately be titled “The Age of The Algorithm”, and we have become homo algorithmus; for it is logically legible codes from DNA to FICO scores that often define and structure our subjectivities, agencies, and fates. It is also the logics of algorithmically driven finance and economies that introduce ideas and practices of “optimization” and “resilience” into our supply chains, extraction industries, urban spaces, and built environments.
This algorithmic condition also comes with its desires and aspirations. What is seemingly not computable is precisely the location of fantasy, projection, and technical intervention. There is no stability in the ontology of the algorithm.
What then are algorithms? And if algorithms have already so thoroughly penetrated our living bodies and lives then where does one species begin and another end? Is this a new evolutionary era? Do we need a new world view? Another schema for ordering the world?
So if the anthropocene defines a new “geological” age then we need a new “natural” history! A new taxonomy for life, techne, and earth! This workshop will produce a new “field” guide to identify, classify, and intervene (perhaps even re-imagine) that most distinct phylum of agents—the Algorithms.
The goal of this workshop, therefore, is to critically, seriously, and yes also humorously;-) engage with how to study, classify, identify, and intervene in, with, on, and eventually, even reimagine what an algorithm is and what it means to live within algorithmically managed (or at least imagined to be so) systems.
To do so, you will be asked to work in groups to develop a “field” guide, in the spirit of ornithology, ethology, and ecology, of “Algorithms”. You are invited to come up with a classification system, descriptive nomenclature, genealogy, and representational schema for these new found entities populating our world.