Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

What is a digital object?

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in or organisation of workshop, seminar or course

See relations at Aarhus University

Maja Bak Herrie - Organizer

Aud Sissel Hoel - Organizer

Liv Hausken - Organizer

The modern world is into data. Data are everywhere and piling up, and so, the hopes for data-driven analyses and advanced statistical models for utilising the accumulating mass are many. As a result, novel methods for data processing are developed and applied in various fields of research, in modern policy decisions, in protocols of public health and medical practice, and in investment strategies and derivative instruments of finance capital (Gitelman 2013). But what else is brought about with these new techniques? What new ways of seeing, shaping, and acting in our world are presented alongside these models, what new aesthetic experiences and artefacts emerge?

In 1966, Louis Althusser described Freud’s theory of the unconscious as the theory of all the possible effects of the unconscious. “Like every theory”, he wrote, “it takes as its object not this or that real object, but an object of knowledge (and thus a theoretical object); it produces the knowledge of the possibility of the effects, and thus of the possible effects of this object in its real forms of existence”. Whereas Althusser’s idea of theoretical objects has an extended intellectual history in the field of political thinking, it has not yet been applied to or thought of in relation to data-driven analyses or other kinds of technologically conveyed knowledge production. The digital object is a theoretical term that points to the approach Althusser suggested: to an investigation of the recurring logic underpinning recent data-driven analyses and to the possible effects (on real subjects and objects) initiated by such reasoning.

In the seminar, we will investigate some of the possible aesthetic effects of new data-driven techniques of knowledge production and discuss the changes and challenges, they bring about, seen from the field of aesthetics theory.
2 Nov 2018


SeminarWhat is a digital object?
LocationDepartment of Media and Communikation, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo

ID: 133422500