Data-driven ideals and the work of culture

Public talk by Professor Olga Goriunova, Royal Holloway University of London.

This talk begins by exploring the data-intensive condition that promises personalization across all domains of life, from cultural meaning to politics and health. It investigates how data analytics profiles people, and what such abstract people might look like. These new kinds of abstractions of individuals and groups of people, while continuing some old tendencies, also multiply predictions and offer projected ideal forms of the future that then act back on lived reality. This dynamic sets out the way in which big data and artificial intelligence intervene in what culture and art always did and did well: the making of ideals which re-chart the horizon of possibility. When people come to desire new abstractions, it is a question of what work is to be done to emphasise art as a site of the invention of ideals and reinvent ideals as multiplicities of the future. 

Olga Goriunova is a professor at the Royal Holloway University of London. She is the author of Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet (Routledge, 2012) and Bleak Joys. Aesthetics of Ecology and Impossibility (with M. Fuller, University of Minnesota Press, 2019). Editor of Fun and Software, Exploring Pleasure, Pain and Paradox in Computing (Bloomsbury, 2014), she was a co-curator of software art platform (2003) before the age of social platforms. She also published seminal articles on new media idiocy, memes and lurkers. She has curated multiple exhibitions across several European countries and worked on funded international projects, focusing on digital images, virtual reality, post-humanities and media art. Her new book focuses on machine learning, data and subject formation. 

The talk is arranged by the Text, Image, Sound, Space (TBLR) - Norwegian Researcher Training School in collaboration with the research project The Platformisation of Culture: Cultural Policy, Art Museums & Digital Communities, funded by the Arts Council Norway and the Danish Arts Foundation.

Organised by: Knut Ove Eliassen, Professor in Comparative Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology & Bjarki Valtýsson, Associate Professor at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen.