Juli 2022

Do07Jul19:30Do21:30Abstraction and AbjectionGespräch mit Alan Díaz Alva | Seb Franklin | Özgün Eylül İşcen | Marina Vishmidt

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There is currently a growing body of research on the role that digital technologies play in the reproduction and perpetuation of racial and gender-based inequalities. The way in which AI-fueled technologies of facial recognition and predictive policing reproduce and intensify racial and gender discrimination, for instance, have been well documented and critiqued. Often, these critiques have addressed these phenomena as representational errors stemming from the all-too-human biases embedded in their training databases and/or from the limitations of techniques for statistical pattern recognition.

However, another recent strand of inquiry in the digital humanities has argued that the relationship between these forms of social differentiation and digitality reaches much further back in history, insisting on the importance of crafting genealogies of our digital world that are not restricted to the history of (purportedly neutral) computational technologies, but that rather attempt to trace the co-evolution and historical imbrication of the digital with other previous forms of abstraction.

In his recent book The Digitally Disposed, Seb Franklin argues that the “practices and conceptual structures” of digital culture “are forged and bound together by the value abstraction centuries before the language of digitality takes shape around the electronic digital computer.” Drawing from Marxian value-critique, postcolonial, feminist, and black studies, he develops both an informatic theory of value as well as a value-theoretical reading of informatics and cybernetics, showing how our contemporary digital culture is still tightly interwoven with the past and present of racial capitalism.

In conversation with Marina Vishmidt and Özgün Eylül İşcen around the topics of his book, we will discuss the intertwined histories of economic abstraction, digital representation, and racialized violence.


Pandemic: The event will be held in accordance with current COVID-19 regulations. The room is equipped with air filtration devices, but given the persistent viral situation, we would also like to ask you, if possible, to test yourselves with a rapid test ahead of the event.

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