[artinfo] CfP: Digital Technologies and the Anthropocene

Art & Education edu-news at mailer.e-flux.com
Thu Sep 9 12:32:18 CEST 2021

Call for papers: Incomputable Earth-Digital Technologies and the Anthropocene

Institute for Contemporary Art at Graz University of Technology

The forthcoming edited volume published by Bloomsbury stems from an 
ongoing investigation into the contemporary conditions of our 
data-driven culture where computation, technology and life on earth 
have become inextricably intertwined. Incomputable Earth-Digital 
Technologies and the Anthropocene examines the relation of the human 
(anthropos) to technology and to nature, as computation overhauls 
both at the scale of the planet. Its working thesis is that if 
calling the new geological era Anthropocene implies that the Earth 
has been rendered artificial by the impact of humanity, then we need 
a more specific focus on how we understand this process and this 
humanity. This would mean looking at how the capitalist engineering 
of this artificial earth has accelerated over the last few decades, 
and how this happened in parallel with the expansion of digital 
technological systems. This centrally includes artificial 
intelligence, itself a technology of extraction-from the earth 
minerals to the labor of low-wage information workers.

Thus, the book calls for a radical break with a conception of 
intelligence and value based on instrumentality and extraction, 
whether it is data or the earth that is under consideration. Such a 
call entails a radical epistemic shift based on abolishing the 
patriarchal gendering of both technology and nature and involves a 
multifaceted but fundamentally materialist critique of the current 
theoretical trends such as digital vitalism, and the hegemony of 
techno-positivist paradigms which echo the centrality of digital 
systems of economic optimisation and social control. The temporal and 
spatial scales we are confronting pose new challenges for the 
critical engagement needed to envision a future. The fact that 
computational power now has the capacity to make visible the 
magnitude of the climate breakdown does not make the complex 
entanglements behind it more thinkable. Rather, in many ways 
computational modeling actually forecloses our ability to grasp the 
imbrication of technical systems in the collapse of earth systems.

Investigating how unexpected forms of collective intelligence emerge 
against the backdrop of the epistemic regime of data positivism, 
algorithmic classification and prediction, this project starts from a 
demand to rethink the specificity of and relations among notions such 
as intelligence, technology, planetarity and general intellect, while 
considering what unique cognitive and political capacities we might 
need in order to grapple with the link between the breakdown of earth 
systems and the proliferation of planetary-scale digital 
technologies. The humanities currently lack common vocabularies for 
addressing the predicament of terrestrial life in the age of 
planetary computation. This book sets out to create a repository of 
building blocks-critical theory essays and art-based research-as 
tools to invigorate a thinking of earthly totality beyond the go-to 
technocratic paradigms which dominate debate on both computation and 
climate breakdown.

The volume is primarily geared towards the cultural, artistic and 
academic community and as such it also seeks to present current 
scholarly and artistic practices dealing with the entanglements of 
these two hyperobjects. We wish to host academic essays as well as 
artistic visual contributions, colliding the already established, if 
widely contested, category of the Anthropocene in the humanities with 
the emergent paradigm of planetarity taking shape both in critical 
theory and the techno-scientific registers as the computational core 
of the humanification of the earth.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:
-Digital technologies and environmental racism
-Intersections of data positivism and white supremacy in the digital realm
-New forms of nationalist environmentalism, neo-Malthusianism and eco-fascism
-Data positivism and the matrix of coloniality
-New solidarities on a broken planet
-Digital capitalism and ecological futures
-Futurism for broken naturecultural worlds
-Indigenous data justice movements

Deadline for abstracts (250 words): October 1, 2021; Send abstracts 
as a Word file to 
<https://email.e-flux-systems.com/campaigns/jf410ev1fs2f9/track-url/rj476aj0679d5/e4d515cdf6fc6facb54dc00136a8fd2a02f2eddb>antonia.majaca at gmail.com 
<https://email.e-flux-systems.com/campaigns/jf410ev1fs2f9/track-url/rj476aj0679d5/b138144c34d80c8fe8443d1d15110d68ccd49159>lola.pfeiffer at posteo.de.

Deadline for Chapters (6000-8000 words): December 15, 2021

The publication will follow Open Access principles freely available 
with a Creative Commons 4.0 International License.

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