International Un-conference in Medialab Prado, Madrid, 21-22 July 2015
Keynote: Karen Barad. University of California Santa Cruz
Deadline to Apply: June 20, 2015
Hacking Big Data Brother: From Biometrics to Intra-action
In the year 2015 Big Data, the sophisticated processing of infinite data bases, is advancing a new era of ubiquitous control and surveillance that traverse all actual and virtual strata of matter, bodies and affects, configuring a new economy, a new ontology and a new politics that is yet to be accounted for.
In this scenario biometrics, understood as the reduction of bodies, movements and affects to measurable parameters, acquires unprecedented dimensions, while having a long history of biologization of bodies, species, genders and races going at least back to the XVIII century, a moment identified by Foucault as the birth of biopolitics. By the 1870s with the beginning of photography and specially cinema, nature studies, the theory of evolution, eugenics, psychology, anthropology and other sciences,there was a turning point in the processes leading to biometrics.It involved measurementgathering,the interpretation and standardization of gestures and emotions, and their massive dissemination. It also implied theinstallment of the belief that the results (“data”) unquestionably represented what they claimed to measure through technical and aseptic means and that the emotions read in certain gestures-movements were universal.
A new turning point took place with the birth of information in the mid 20th Century and with the emergence of ubiquitous computing, mobile computing and cloud computing in the 21st century. These “data”, whose aim is to portray us actually end up being incorporated into and comprising us, excluding anything that is removed in the process of their creation, and thus creating new behaviors that in turn reinforce biometric theories.
This scenario demands new ontologies, histories and politics, for new modes of hacking Big Data in which it seems of primary importance to understand data, how they come about, what they leave out. It is essential to analyze the origins and changes in biometrics, its practices, tools, performativity, the role of biometric apparatuses in the generation of scientists’ identities, the interpretations involved in the understanding of their results and the gradual conversion thereof into disembodied “data”, alongside the social and cultural implications, whereby what escaped measurements was and is categorized as irrelevant or abnormal.
Is all reality discreet, or is it made discreet by very precise perceptual, epistemological and ontological processes? Is politics reduced to operating within Big Data, visualizing what is yet unrepresented, or can we mobilize a politics of devisualisation in which to become illegible to Big Data Brother?
In this scenario the paradigm of intra-action, as proposed by Karen Barad, points to a relational ontology of agential realism in which agencies, rather than entities, co-constitute in emergent processes. Intra-action as a mode of posthuman performativity that traverses all scales of matter and meaning production, may provide a creative ground for escaping biometrics while reinventing ourselves beyond it, since it potentially questions the very ontology of data, bodies and space-time as given and measurable items.
We will propose to take the paradigm of intra-action further into redefinitions of movement, bodies, space-time, affects and desires: how to build an intra-active architecture for an ontological politics capable of responding to the new challenges of Big Data Brother, for a social ecology to come?
- Ontology and history of Big Data
- Ontology and history of data
- Ontology and history of Biometrics
- Antibiometrics and Biometric failure
- Biometric hacking and Big Data hacking
- Posthuman performativity
- Posthuman queerness
- Agential realism
- Intra-active architecture
- Biometrics, Big Data and ecology
If you are interested in participating in this conference, please send a proposal of no more than 300 words for a 15 minutes presentation to the emails: firstname.lastname@example.org by 20th June, 2015.
Jaime del Val – Reverso
Eva Botella Ordinas – Depto. Historia Moderna, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid