Reading group: Organized by Roxanna Fabius & Federico Pérez Villoro
(human) learning is a study group focused on technology and aesthetics with shifting participants, locations and collaborators. It was initiated by Roxana Fabius and Federico Pérez Villoro in New York City in 2016.
During the summer of 2016 (human) learning was hosted by P! in New York City. Sessions took place on July 19, August 02, and August 23.
(human) learning was born from the sensation that our understanding of the world will soon change dramatically. We are designing intelligent systems which are increasingly influencing what we read, how we communicate, where we go, and what we consume. These systems are based on the ways humans think and behave. However as technology gains complexity, and algorithmic types of intelligence become more prevalent, its human origins are being surpassed in favor of manifestations beyond our power of cognition and our capacity for abstraction.
The time and space we are at might be an opportunity to think about questions like: How can art and design prepare us for uncertainty? What are the tools we need to develop to empathize with synthetic entities? What would be the language of a human-decentralized world? This study group will speculate on possible future technologies and what their projections into aesthetics could be. Sessions will be comprised of readings and discussions of both theory and fiction, to hopefully become aware of the many shades of gray between 0s and 1s.
-Federico Pérez Villoro
-Staci Bu Shea
The sessions of the study group are broadcast live on the project’s website. Holly—a custom software—writes down the conversations while they happen. Through this we want to consider digital platforms as performative spaces for algorithmic types of intelligence.
Currently, Holly uses WebKit speech for text transcription. In its next version Holly will incorporate code that will learn from the deciphering of the natural language it records and simultaneously displays as text and images. As Holly processes more datasets it will modify its ruleset and determine its own aesthetic decisions.
Holly neutralizes individual voices by rendering conversations as single discourses. Through reinterpretations and misinterpretations, the ever-evolving software embodies the increasing disconnection between complexity in technology and human cognition—further problematizing the relationship between reality itself and its digital construction.
Holly is a collaboration between Roxana Fabius, Federico Pérez Villoro and Christopher Hamamoto.
-The Disconnection Thesis, David Roden
-Designing Graphic Interpretation, Johanna Drucker
-The Thousand Dreams of Stellavista, JG Ballard
-The Stack (excerpt), Benjamin Bratton
-Undoing the Demos (excerpt), Wendy Brown
-On Exactitude in Science, Jorge Luis Borges
-A Cyborg Manifesto (excerpt), Donna Haraway
-What Would Feminist Data Visualization Look Like, Catherine D’Ignazio
-The Belonging Kind, John Shirley and William Gibson
-The Posthuman (excerpt), Rosi Braidotti
Roxana Fabius (b. Uruguay, 1982) is a curator, and art historian, currently serves as director at A.I.R. Gallery in New York and managing editor at aCCeSsions. Her research is focused on the intersection between aesthetics, design, technology, rationalism and feminist theory.
Federico Pérez Villoro (b. Mexico, 1987) is an artist and designer. He is interested in the critical spaces of design and the political implications of communication technologies. He is currently doing a teaching fellowship at the California College of the Arts and researching on notions of identity and language in the post-human era.