References and Reading List

(still unsorted; papers and books we have been reading)


  • Esposito, Elena (2017), Artificial Communication? The Production of Contigency by Algorithms. Zeitschrit für Soziologie Vol. 46 No. 4, pp. 249–265. DOI: 10.1515/zfsoz-2017-1014

    [annot {hhr, 180208}]: interesting proposal to make algorithms a sociological subject by dropping the misleading concept of 'intelligence' in favour of 'communication' as defined by Luhmann and characterised by "double contingency" (the reciprocal experience of contingency of both communicative partners). In many ways, the proposal breaks down over the difficulty of asserting boundaries; for example, there is an insistence on the difference between human-human and human-algorithm communication (the title has a questionmark, and towards the conclusions we do not hear any longer about algorithmic communication but merely about interaction), a footnote distancing this from Hayles' "hybridisation". The meat of the article is the section on "virtual contigency" which gets somehow lost in the problem of relating algorithmic theory and practical observations, falling back to the optical metaphor of "reflections", necessarily simplifying the human-machine process as opposed to a richer description for example with Barad's "diffractions". In the end, nothing is said about the prerogative of the human authors and intenders, and programs become simply indirections from somebody that constructs an algorithm for communication (e.g. a social network) and the users. Nevertheless, the article opens many interesting questions worth further discussion.

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Note that this is a work-in-progress, a place where we can keep bookmarks; this is the reason this page appears in the 'blog' exposition; further references can be found in our own publications.

{hhr, 201216}

Added this to my reading list:

  • Strathern, Marilyn (1991), Partial Connections.


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{hhr, 201114}

Someone pointed out to me the following quote by Ada Lovelace, about the pure operationality of machines:

The operating mechanism can even be thrown into action independently of any object to operate upon (although of course no result could then be developed). Again, it might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations, and which should be also susceptible of adaptations to the action of the operating notation and mechanism of the engine.

(in: Sketch of The Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage, Translator Note A)

{hhr, 210125}

Is the solution to binary oppositions and dialogues to move on to the number of three? “co-existing ecosystems that share … a common force”. Methods of Indirection: a trialogue between Patrizia Bach, Howard Eiland, and Luis Berríos-Negrón about Walter Benjamin and translating The Arcades Project (2020).

In a way, in Almat we did the three-role playing, but I think we failed to clearly distinguish the project team's roles. This is something we should enfore more vigorously in the new project.

“Our tendency is to view any three people interacting together in classic dramatic terms, but the structure of Threeing is not a narrative structure.”


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