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Cryptopolitics - contentious visibilities in cloud geographies

Kunst und Architektur, Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften
Online via Zoom

Lecture by Jaya Klara Brekke within the Online Lecture Series OUT OF THE EYE  – Drawing Perspectives and Profiling Figures in Architecture Winter 2020/Summer 2021 organized by IKA and IKW.

Zoom-Meeting-ID: 955 9613 7613
Zoom-C ode: G=RG^7

What if seeing with the eyes is accomplished or substituted by cameras that provide data for algorithms to profile patterns and figures? What if the visualization of these figures and patterns is no longer related to the realms of visibility and perception? What if the production of data-based images masks the very disappearance of visual qualities?

Architecture structures space and its perception, not least on the basis of the points of view and perspectives that it offers. Architecture is and always has been a viewing machine that wants to be looked at as well. Yet the issue of seeing and the capacity of the (human) eye is challenged by processes of digitalisation and artificial intelligence that offer new perspectives – or, to put it in more radical terms: a mode of perception that is related less to seeing than it is based on the recognition of patterns and quantifications. The (visual) perspective is substituted by an algorithmic process of reading data. The results are perceived as (visual) images to a lesser extent, even if that is what they look like, because the identification of objects or situations is based on (ir-)regularities of and in patterns. The (earlier) notions of view and perspective thus appear redundant. What is left of perspective is the point of view that reality and presence appear as a thread. The question of forecasting and planning is not so much a political issue as a task of programming and tinkering with data. Out of the Eye looks at politics out of the political.

The presence of (surveillance) cameras and the tracking of (social) media use constantly produce data and feed databases. Genetic algorithms tinkering with data to find patterns (of individual interests, social contacts, traces of mobility, etc.) produce profiles that are based on figures. The volume of data, and the production or finding of patterns and relations between them, exceeds human capacity and depends on technical support and performance. In the context of calculating risks and pre-emptive measures against threats, it is the logic of (algorithmically) programmed figures that fuels the fields of imagination and predictions. Your personal history is waiting to be profiled and summarized. Biometric data and the traces of personal information produced by the individual use of media create a constantly synchronized and continually updated portrait that is evaluated and rated on the basis of indices and indicators. Emerging patterns are subsequently decisive for jobs offered or denied, proposed sets of (private or professional) relations, or the fact that you are identified as solvent or suspicious. There are infinite images and perspectives to see and to choose from, and yet the actual production of patterns and profiles remains invisible because it is based on data and figures. The narration (or narrative structure of a biography) is substituted by mined possibilities beyond the classical structure of cause and effect. Yet we can be confronted with effects without a (reasonable) reason – or because of a reason based on (randomly or contingently) emerging patterns. At the same time, genetic algorithms can also provide solutions for problems we have not been aware of, or optimize tools beyond human capacity.

The lecture series wants to reflect on the concept of perspective in the context of media technologies that substitute the actual performance of seeing and looking with the recognition of patterns that only algorithms can “see”, which they do by “profiling (e-merging) figures”.

The lecture series Out of the Eye, a collaboration between IKA and IKW, is organized and curated by Christina Jauernik, Andreas Spiegl and Wolfgang Tschapeller.

All lectures start at 7pm and will be held via Zoom; To receive the Zoom-link to the event, please send a registration to .

9 November 2020, 7pm
Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth
Seeing through Artificial Intelligence
Ursula Schmidt-Erfurth is Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University Eye Hospital, Vienna, Austria, one of the largest academic institutions in ophthalmology in Europe. Professor Schmidt-Erfurth’s clinical activities include surgical and medical retina. Her scientific research focuses on the development of innovative diagnostic techniques in retinal imaging such as machine learning and the clinical introduction of novel therapeutic strategies in retinal disease. She is an inventor on the patent for photodynamic therapy which became the gold standard in the treatment of neovascular AMD following photocoagulation and before anti-VEGF therapy was introduced. She has founded the Vienna Study Center (VSC), which serves as the principal site for multi-center clinical trials, and is the founder and scientific director of the Vienna Reading Center (VRC), an independent institution for digital imaging performing image analysis for over 800 clinical sites worldwide. She is also the leader of the OPTIMA project, a Christian Doppler Laboratory for Ophthalmic Image Analysis, which introduces means of artificial intelligence (AI) such as machine learning into retinal medicine. She holds several patents for the development of novel imaging analysis methods. She has published more than 460 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals and 14 book chapters and is the editor of the European guidelines for the management of retinal disease series edited by EURETINA.
Beyond her field, Prof. Schmidt-Erfurth has been actively promoting European healthcare initiatives, as the vice president of the European Forum Alpbach responsible for the Healthcare Forum bringing together experts in politics, medicine and science to discuss and define solutions for advances in healthcare for European citizens with the motto: “health in all policies”.

25 January 2021, 7 pm
Jaya Klara Brekke

Cryptopolitics - contentious visibilities in cloud geographies
Cryptography is becoming an increasingly fine-grained art of shaping conditions of visibility in the digital realm: encryption can make data unreadable unless in the possesion of the correct decryption key; cryptographic proofs can prove statements about data without revealing the underlying information. Machine learning algorithms on the other hand depend on the ready availability of data, drawing connections and correlations across vast datascapes otherwise not visible to the human eye. This talk will draw up the alliances and rebellions that are taking place at the intersection of cryptography and Machine Learning algorithms.

Jaya Klara Brekke, writer and geographer of technology, Magma Collective/ Durham University
Jaya Klara Brekke is a geographer of cryptography. She speaks, writes and does research on how cryptographic techniques affect digital geopolitics at the intersections of power, visibility and value. She is a founding member of Magma Collective and recently Assistant Professor at Durham University, where she completed her PhD titled Disassembling the Trust Machine: three cuts on the political matter of blockchain. She is expert advisor to the European Commission on decentralised data infrastructures and is based in London from where she contributes to European cultural, policy and industry debates on power, visibility and the political economies of decentralisation. Her current research focuses on the intersection of cryptography and machine learning technologies.

Date to be announced soon
Philippe Parreno

Conversation with Philippe Parreno
The artist Philippe Parreno (born 1964) lives and works in Paris, France. He studied at Ècole des beaux-arts de Grenoble and at Institut des hautes études en arts plastique, Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Since 1990ies he has exhibited his work widely, e.g. recently at Esther Shipper, Berlin, 2019 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; at Watari Museum of Contemporary Arts, Tokyo; Gladstone Gallery, New York. 2018 at Espace Louis Vuitton, Bejing; Gropius Bau in Berlin; 2016 in Tate Modern, Turbine Hall, London. He participated e.g. in 2019 at 48th International Film Festival Rotterdam; 2017 in Shanghai and Bogotá, 2016 at 11th Gwangju Biennal or 2015 at 56th Venice Biennale.

31 May 2021, 7 pm
Jutta Weber

Tinkering with the 'Theoryless': The New Epistemology of Contemporary AI

Information concerning the Lecture Format: Please notice that the lecture will be recorded. When entering the meeting, you will be prompted to consent. In order to have a pleasant experience for all viewers, please keep your video turned off and your microphone muted at all times. Refrain from using the general chat during the lecture as it might disturb the person talking.  It is advised to hide all participants without video, therefore go to the ^-sign next to the “start/stop video” button and in the video-settings tab enable “hide non-video-participants”. After the presentation there will be the possibility to ask questions via the chat or in person. If you want to enter the discussion please raise your hand digitally by pressing the blue icon-hand in the participants-panel. The questioners are ordered chronologically and the moderation will then ask you to “unmute audio/show video“ and join the discussion.

June 2021
Wendy Chun