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Humanizing Technology through Post-digital Art

Time: Thu 2018-04-12 13.00

Location: R1, Reactor Hall (Reaktorhallen), Drottning Kristinas väg 51, KTH Campus

Subject area: Human-Computor Interaction

Doctoral student: Vygandas Simbelis , Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign (MID)

Opponent: Professor John Bowers

Supervisor: Professor Kristina Höök


I draw upon the idea of the post digital to create (1) art for humanization of technology and (2) art as manifestations of digital qualities in the physical world, e.g., through digital-analog convergence, or through enriching our experiences with hybrid constellations of techniques, concepts and aesthetics.

My work consists of two parts: practice-based research in the arts and conceptualizations arising from my practice. Four art projects are presented in this thesis: Metaphone, Delete By Haiku, S T R A T I C, and Panorama Time. My post-digital approach is manifest through the hacking activities, disruptive techniques and aesthetic approaches I apply. These thrive on a set of constitutive concepts: machine aesthetics, digital upcycling, aleatoricism and chance, deletion, repetition, fault aesthetics and glitch aesthetics. My post-digital aesthetic principles depend on machinic, systematic behaviors in the technologies I explore. Machine aesthetics expose operational and mechanical principles and behaviors. Digital upcycling is a repurposing design process wherein function follows form to add value to old defunct objects. I deploy chance in the design process through a “rolling a dice” approach. I use both deletion and insertion repetitively as design principles. In my work, I also induce technical faults and take deliberate control of machine glitches. These are all aesthetic approaches that help transform the “cold” appearance of information technologies and bring them closer to people, thereby humanizing technology. Some of the aesthetic principles (e.g., machine aesthetics or glitch aesthetics) might not seem “natural” or “human” but I use them to explore digital materiality analogously to how steel, iron and other materials were approached from the early phases of the industrial revolution and Modernism. As such these aesthetic principles are ways of interrogating the digital thriving o a cultural-historical point of view.

Link to thesis in Diva

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Last changed: Mar 23, 2018