Category:Vernacular Language Processing

From Media Design: Networked & Lens-Based wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Vernacular Language Processing


Vernacular Language Toolkit

Knowledge and information organisation are deeply intimate acts, which relate to how we envision the world. However, in many fields such as computational linguistics, library & archive studies or data science in a broader sense, standardised tools are the norm. The Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK), for example, is a widely used collection of tools for data analysis and data organisation. NLTK provides ways in which to sift, weigh, or process textual information through what is called "natural language processing".

Starting from the premise that "it matters how we arrive at the places we do" (Ahmed, 2006), VLTK (Vernacular Language Toolkit) proposes a vernacular approach to processing language that rethinks how to orient by considering what it means to be orientated. VLTK is a research trajectory around vernacular knowledge grammars, such as categories, metadata, linked data, or tags, but also other ways of textual treatment that are not applicable to all of “natural language”, but instead are focused on a particular grouping of texts.

VLTK is a toolkit...

... that thinks about text processing tools, question them, talk about them, in order to explore their vernacular possibilities.

... that explores informal/vernacular/sociality aspects of formal text processing systems.

... that explores textual data as vernacular matter, through reading systems, exercises, small scripts, ...

... that plays with standards and taxonomies that shape structured data.

... that stays close to the specifics of the material it is processing.

... that resists the protocols of rigor as they have been traditionally manufactured.

... that gestures to what the textual matters do, rather than say.

... that prefers the anecdotal to officiating structures.

... that looks for the possibilities of movement within existing parameters.

The project is a collaboration between Manetta Berends, Julie Boschat Thorez and Cristina Cochior and will be launched in December 2021 as a print publication consisting of a series of interviews, prototypes and artistic contributions. For this trimester, the VLTK work will be channelled through Cristina Cochior.

Special Issue 16

What would vernacular processing look like?

For the Special Issue 16, we invite you to speculate with us on what VLP could be as a field. How do we align computational processing with the particularities of the textual material being structured? And how do the resulting "markers of difference" or "homing devices" shape the mode of navigation? How do we generate text in a vernacular way?

We will create a printed reader that will bring together your bibliographic work in relation to the subject. The reader will be launched during an evening of performances of the experiments in context-specific language processing.

In the weeks 2-4 of the trimester we will start gathering a collection of textual matter as possible material to work with. In groups of 3 or 4, we bring a collection item to each of the three sessions and discuss it altogether.

In the week 7 we fix the selected texts and ways of processing them.

In the weeks 8 and 9 we consider the publication as a whole.

In the weeks 10-13 we will focus on production.


Week 1

Tuesday, 21st of September

pad for today


  • Introduction to XPUB16
    • NLTK to VLTK, technofeminist vernacular, examples: vernacular processing / material / distribution, structure of the special issue


  • Introduction to prototyping classes
    • python, jupyter notebooks

Wednesday, 22nd September



Week 2

Monday, 27th of September

Prototyping, with Michael and Manetta

Tuesday, 28th of September


Cristina and Steve

  • In pairs of three/four, bring a text or an audio recording to discuss
  • What does it mean to be orientated? What is the relation between orientation and navigation?
  • Scores for orientating ourselves through the texts of the day

Main texts:

  • Orientation in a Big World: On the Necessity of Horizonless Perspectives, Patricia Reed
  • Queer Phenomenology - Introduction, Sara Ahmed

Further reading:

  • Dear Science, Katherine McKittrick
  • Vernacular Values, Ivan Illich
  • Control and Freedom, Wendy Chun
  • Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective, Donna Haraway

pad of today

wiki page for today

Week 3

Monday, 4th of October

Prototyping with Michael and Manetta

11:00-17:00 in the aquarium

pad of today:

Tuesday, 5th of October



  • In pairs of three/four, bring a text or an audio recording to discuss
  • Vernacular processing: what is a vocabulary?
  • How do structures orient us?
  • Annotating with magic words


  • Vernacular Order, Official Order, James Scott
  • Abstracting Otherwise: In Search for a Common Strategy of Arts and Computing, Goda Klumbytė and Loren Britton

Further reading:

  • Performative Materiality and Theoretical Approaches to Interface, Johanna Drucker
  • Eros in the library: Considering the aesthetics of knowledge organization, Melissa Adler
  • The Trouble with Access / Toward Reparative Taxonomies, Melissa Adler
  • On Decimals, Catalogs, and Racial Imaginaries of Reading, Laura E. Helton

pad of today

Wednesday, 6th of October



Link to session (wiki)

Week 4

Monday, 10 October

Prototyping with Michael

Tuesday, 12th of October

Manetta and Cristina

  • In pairs of three/four, bring a text or an audio recording to discuss
  • word2complex
  • x-dexing


  • On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big?, Timnit Gebru

Week 5

Autumn vacation

Week 6

No classes, self-study week

Week 7

Tuesday, 2nd of November


Clara Balaguer - matrix vernacular, the eye and the ewe

Week 8

Tuesday, 9th of November


Danny van der Kleij - vernacular in the software

Wednesday, 10th of November

Steve + Cristina + Michael + Manetta

  • editorial overview

Week 9

Tuesday, 16th of November


Clara Balaguer - individual tutorials

Week 10

Tuesday, 23rd of November


  • fixing outputs all together

Friday, 26 of November


Danny van der Kleij - group tutorial & check in

Week 11

Tuesday, 30th of November

  • preparation launch: spatial planning of launch, making the schedule of the evening, listing materials needed
  • event announcement is published

Week 12

Tuesday, 7th of December

  • preparation launch: last details

Week 13

Friday 17th December

Publication Launch @ Varia

Pages in category "Vernacular Language Processing"

This category contains only the following page.