Working notes from the Scandinavian Institute for Computational Vandalism

Tag Archives: cultural technique

Geoff Cox, from Speaking Code to algorithms

Geoff Cox discussing the ecology of algorithms at the occasion of the launch of the Cqrrelations website. “What would algorithms say if they could speak? We could say the same of data of course. If it was allowed to speak what would it say about itself? It probably wouldn’t say it is raw and unmediated. […]

Algorithms before computers

“The only way you could formulate a complete rule (in premodern sensibility): you had to foresee the exceptions, it is both specific and supple. The habit doesn’t simply enforce the rule, it embodies it, just like this spearbearer statue embodies the canon of male beauty. More than that the habit’s discretion is not supplementary to […]

In the cage

It had occurred to her early that in her position–that of a young person spending, in framed and wired confinement, the life of a guinea-pig or a magpie–she should know a great many persons without their recognising the acquaintance. That made it an emotion the more lively–though singularly rare and always, even then, with opportunity […]

Native contours

In this experiment [Hochberg & Brooks, 1962], a human baby was raised until the age of 19 months under the constant supervision of his parents who avoided exposing the child to line-drawings or two-dimensional pictures of any kind. Although the baby accidentally had opportunities to glance at some pictures on a few occasions, at no […]

Bochman’s face recognition system

The Major Bochmann was head of the passport division on the Eastern side of Checkpoint Charlie […]. He developed a facial recognition system, designed to teach the border guards to scrutinize faces and look for features that cannot be altered. The aim was to assess the authenticity of passport photos for those who were trying […]

What have you done to it? What have you done to its eyes?

They Live, or an image OCR for ideology

“The plot of They Live is deceptively simple. Roddy Piper’s character, a semi-homeless day laborer named Nada (Spanish for “nothing”) discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to identify the extraterrestrials who have infiltrated the Earth’s populace.” (Read more about the story plot on salon.com) In a fashion very similar to computer vision procedures, […]

Francis Galton’s Composite Portraiture meets Wittgenstein’s camera

Galton also devised a technique called “composite portraiture” (produced by superimposing multiple photographic portraits of individuals’ faces registered on their eyes) to create an average face. In the 1990s, a hundred years after his discovery, much psychological research has examined the attractiveness of these faces, an aspect that Galton had remarked on in his original […]

Black boxing conversion

[…] Bernhard Siegert: In a way, you can describe the business of cultural techniques as the opening up of black boxes. If you think of concepts or even symbols as black boxes, when you open them up, what comes out are cultural techniques. One of the things I have been studying recently is the very […]