User:Andre Castro/2.1/seminar-year1-works description

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Description of my works int past year

Rewind and go back to what I did last year. Do not trow it out of the window. An effort should be made to find out common points and reoccurring topics, which will probably will also manifest themselves this year.


To begin with I started by writing on the performativity of code. Departing from Katherine Hayle's notion of code performativity and I went on looking at how does code perform us, how it has the capacity to change things, to similarly to performative speech-acts, but with a more direct and material effect. The text also boroughs ideas from Douglas Rushkoff 'Program of Be Programmed', addressing how heavy technology users most of us are, and how little do we know about and intervene on that same technology.


Simultaneously I developed and online map of the streets of Rotterdam. This map - a striped-down version of the map of Rotterdam - displaying only the city street names against a black background, on the browser. By clicking on each street a request was made to the City of Rotterdam's Archive to provide information on that particular street's name origin. That information was then displayed alongside the map.

What seemed to create here was an interface to access city's archive through a different channel. By having the indexes of the archive - the street names - displayed on my screen I might see and ask for information on streets that I wouldn't be normally interested in knowing about. It opened up the possibility for a serendipitous navigation through the city name's history (archive).


The same serendiptous exploration made its way to the next project, the next work - Radio Liberté Egalité Beyoncé. RLEB was an online radio-station with a schedule composed of audio content fetched form Internet Archive. One-hour long cycles presented the listener with ten-minutes chunks of various sound materials, picked at chance, from within a specific categories, such as french talk-shows, hiphop, poetry readings, ambient music, etc. The design of website where RLEG was hosted presented a drawing of radio, with which the listener had to interact in order to get the radio playing.


The essay written alongside the RLEB began by tracing the archive's historical ties to power, functioning as a legitimator of power and knowledge. It also remarked on the ideology which underlies any archive, even folkloric archive such as Youtube. The ideology, can be best perceived through what is kept from entering the archive. However, in the essay I mention two important differences between a physical offline archive and a digital online one: the latter has the potential of a wider access, and also has the potential to let its item been taken by visitors, without impoverishing it. These difference result in an invitation for the individuals' appropriation and transformation of the archived material. When one of its items is taken and transformed, a new version of it appears, and a certain confusion emerges over its origin - which one is the original and which is fictitious? When remixed versions surface, they change the archive into a space of dialogue, and emergence of discourses, rather than a site aimed at legitimizing power and knowledge. The essay goes on mentioning artistic projects that try to address and remix large chunks of online archives, which only can be accomplished by the intervention of computer code. Curiously in these cases code is put to perform in order to bring a more humane sensibility (or intelligibility) to the archive. But that also demonstrates that code can perform quite beyond the reach of a single human.


Data Factory looked at direct marking companies' acquisition of consumers data, with the aim to target individual consumers with products which they might be more inclined to buy. It consisted of a small archive of recordings from phone-calls made to such companies in which I tried to sell them the of their business main ingredient - consumer data - being the consumer here only myself. Through the reactions to this simple short-circuit the ideology behind such business model became more apparent. The calls were gathered together in a website, with a certain corporate style, in which they could be listened to them, joined by pictures illustrating or ridiculing what was being said.


In the essay The Work of Audiences revolved around Dallas Smythe's concept of the work of audiences. In his view audiences have the job of creating demand for advertised goods. What advertisers buy when placing a advert on a magazine, TV-show of website is the audiences' attention and capacity to buy what is being advertised. It happens that this work-force is further explored in web 2.0, where it not only create demand for the advertised products, but also work on producing many of the contents that make up the web. Following that line of thought I asked whether there was a difference from the work of audiences on platform like Youtube and ones like Wikipedia. The answer to this question was that difference lies in the fact that a project like Wikipedia (apart from being non-profit), allows audiences to engage with it in more through way, having to understand how the platform works and discuss its policies and structure. It is still work, but more conscious and engaged one, and which becomes a common resource.