Dataism

Clemens Apprich
Institute of Fine Arts and Media Art, Media Theory
2023W, scientific seminar (SEW), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S04797

Description

What is data? And how do contemporary forms of dataism shape the ways we measure, abstract, and categorize ourselves and the world around us? This course begins by considering recent approaches to data in contemporary media and social theory, especially the belief that all areas of life can – and should – be transformed into quantifiable data. But beyond computers, statistics, and machine learning, this course will explore how computational imaginaries and data paradigms seep into other areas of cultural and political life. This includes ideas about bodily capacities, sexuality, race, wellness, attention, and intelligence, as well as emergent pharmacological regimes and rituals that utilize data to animate new self-making projects and projects of social reproduction.

Extending datafication debates (e.g. van Dijck, Couldry/Mejias, Gitelman), the semester will examine the proliferation of data-driven substances and vitalities – from (smart) drugs and wellness apps to neurotech devices and mood conditioning practices – including the habitual, experimental, and prescriptive ways that these substances enter our bodies and milieux. In addition to readings, lectures, screenings, and site visits, the class will create a collaborative pharmacopeia that identifies and explains the key substances in our contemporary data pharmacy.

Examination Modalities

Students will contribute to a collaborative pharmacopeia, including a creative project and critical essay. The final essay (ca. 15.000 characters, including spaces and footnotes, but excluding appendices, references, or figures) is due by the end of the term. The essay should demonstrate a critical engagement with the topic of the lecture, applying the discussed literature. Examples will be provided in class.

Comments

The seminar will be held in English. A detailed course outline with assigned readings will be made available online.

This course is taught together with Joshua Neves from Concordia University. In preparation of the seminar, have a look at Joshua's recent publication on Technopharmacology. 

Key Words

media theory, critical data studies, pharmacology, medientheorie

Dates

11 October 2023, 14:30–16:00 Seminar Room 33 (preliminary discussion)
25 October 2023, 12:30–16:00 Seminar Room 33
08 November 2023, 12:30–16:00 Seminar Room 33
29 November 2023, 12:30–16:00 Seminar Room 33
13 December 2023, 12:30–16:00 Seminar Room 33
24 January 2024, 10:00–16:00 Seminar Room 33

Course Enrolment

The online registration was already closed

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