The project lies within the research area of software studies and addresses a current shift in networked computing exemplified by the capturing and processing of “big data” in “ubiquitous computing”, and in the business models of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google. The main assumption is that the computational processes in such phenomena are over-layered by, and influence aesthetics: they affect what can be sensed and perceived, and as such, also our cultural forms and behaviors. The expected outcome is an aesthetics and critique of contemporary interface culture: a deeper reflection on how data-capture takes part in our everyday lives and transforms our cultural forms and sense-perception. In this, the research will contribute to an outline of contemporary software art practices.
Many current information technologies apply a specific spatial logic (a “vector space”) where any kind of data (of consumer behavior, management processes, environmental models, etc.) contributes to generalizable models of anticipation. This allows for new insights into mental, social and environmental processes (cognitive processes, the formation of social relations, or the development of a climate crisis), and for new forms of expressions (e.g., data visualizations).
However, an aesthetics of vector space also calls for a critique that can answer how our cultural forms and social meanings are affected by/of contemporary networked computing. The proposed critique involves questioning both the interplay between technology and mental, social and environmental processes (respectively), and questioning how technology binds these domains together.
A key assumption is that the interplay between technological and cultural layers is addressed in art practices. In pursuing this, the research project further wishes to answer what the consequences of data-capture on contemporary software art practices and aesthetics, and to give an outline of such art forms.