29.4.2022, 1-3 pm
The seminar, venue: Joutila, TAU Päätalo, E-wing, third floor, E325
Dr Ariel Caine: Geo Endoscopies: forming counter constellational optical architectures of the sensed
Yelyzaveta Glybchenko: Virtual Reality Peace Work by A/R/T-itecture: Spatial Imaginal Critical Play for Security and Peace
Dr Rune Saugmann Andersen: Machine vision, security knowledge, and the parameters of assembled subjectivity
Geo Endoscopies: forming counter constellational optical architectures of the sensed
Our present-day camera systems are formed out of multi-sensor arrays, synchronised, and held in constellations by timekeeping mechanisms. Simultaneously, contemporary politics and conflict operate through increasingly dense optical media and data environments. Investigative practices of optical media have therefore become a way through which we can understand and challenge the dynamic relations between; Politics – media – and the physical configurations of space in which they take place.
In this presentation, I wish to focus on a project called “Geo Endoscopies: forming counter constellational optical architectures of the sensed”, centred on a site in occupied East Jerusalem where dense networks of optical media are central to ongoing processes of archaeology, geology and construction but also, those of colonisation, security, dispossession and resistance struggles between Israeli organisations and the local Palestinian population. Through It, I wish now to unpack some aspects between computational imaging systems and human interaction, between black-boxed technologies and DIY, open-source, and open hardware prototyping. I will discuss how through media practice we can mobilise trace finding and preservation of memory within the context of human rights struggle.
Virtual Reality Peace Work by A/R/T-itecture: Spatial Imaginal Critical Play for Security and Peace
Given the recent increase in usage of virtual reality (VR) technologies in (digital) peace efforts, this essay explores VR tools for peace work by zooming in on their components – images, and the processes of image-making as critical play. The images are investigated as spaces and places of security and peace, which could not only be ‘immersive experiences’ for learning and briefing, but also themselves serve as tools to perform peace work. The essay adopts the critically playful approach of A/R/T-itecture in considering VR tools as spaces and places through the lenses of Art, Research and Technology. Creating original pieces of toy photography, the essay argues that images can be designed to enhance security in/and peace, if the process of constructing them is thought through along the following three lines: a) people on the grassroots level (co-)design VR pieces, b) VR pieces target pro-peace transformation instead of communicating every experience on the ground, c) VR pieces allow virtual visitors to re-design virtual environments by interacting with selected single images as spaces/places of security/peace. A VR environment1 and a short animated movie, developed by the author to complement critique and recommendations of the essay, invite digital visitors to explore the essay’s ideas and potentially become peace workers through virtual interaction and image-transformation.
Rune Saugmann Andersen
Machine vision, security knowledge, and the parameters of assembled subjectivity
How are digital images turned into security knowledge, and what does this ‘turning into’ do to the subjects of (in)security? For a long time, security and military techno-vision was related to the optical qualities of the human eye. It was either about enhancing the natural human eye, seeing further, seeing in less light, seeing from different locations, or about mimicking the human eye, creating spatial awareness and navigation capabilities from the singular point of the eye/camera. In today’s ‘sensor society’, seeing is not the problem for security bureaucracies, understanding is. The knowledge problem is about the mind rather than the eye, to use the anthropomorphic language that dominates high-tech discourse, not about overcoming invisibility but rather about making sense of a flood of billions of mundane and opaque images. This challenge has seen military bureaucracies in charge of putting security policy into effect delegating image interpretation to artificial intelligence. Doing so, military bureaucracies are increasingly mimicking or merging with the technological ways in which social media platforms mediate our collective debate use computer vision to sort, segment and show (or, mostly, hide) the billions of images they handle. In this paper, I explore current machine vision technologies, illustrate how they integrate into security debate through how social media platforms handle images, and into security management through surveillance. I ask what these different ways of handling digital images can tell about our understanding of algorithmic understanding in security agency, and about how digital visual subjects are made and become available for computational security politics and governance.