NCAD | The Digital Hub co-hosted Digital Cultures Webinar Series 2021

A webinar series to focus on the transformative nature of emerging technologies, attending to artistic practice, academic research and industry.

Thursday, 18th March - Thursday, 10th June 2021

 
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Image: Rosa Menkman, Vernacular of File Formats (2009-2010).


In the spring of 2021, the National College of Art and Design, Dublin (NCAD) and The Digital Hub announced a new partnership with an inaugural In Public webinar series to focus on the transformative nature of emerging technologies, attending to artistic practice, academic research, and industry. This programme of talks invites artists, designers, thinkers and innovators to create a transdisciplinary dialogue on topics such as artificial intelligence, digital ethics, digital identities, and online environments.

The NCAD & The Digital Hub partnership builds on stakeholder participation at the intersection of artistic practice, technology and society. This programme is designed to bring together audiences from key industry figures; academics and thinkers; students and alumni; the arts sector and the wider general public. The spring 2021 talks programme is convened by The Digital Hub artist in residence and NCAD Alumna, Elaine Hoey and NCAD lecturer, Dr Rachel O’ Dwyer.

The National College of Art and Design occupies a unique position in art and design education in Ireland, offering the widest range of art and design degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate level. The Digital Hub has become the largest cluster for digital companies in Ireland since its launch in 2003. Providing a collaborative, nurturing space for digital, technology and internet companies to thrive and succeed.


The NCAD & The Digital Hub co-hosted Digital Cultures Webinar Series 2021 will be broadcast on >>> YouTube <<< All Events are open for public viewing, no registration required.  Please find  Webinar descriptions and speaker biographies below.
 
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NCAD In Public | Digital Hub Digital Cultures Programme: Thurs 18 March - Thurs 10 June 2021
 
DATE
WEBINARS
Thursday
18 March 2021
7pm-8pm (GMT)
Title:                     Translating Nature: Data as Art
Date:                    Thursday 18 March 2021, 7pm - 8pm (GMT)
Panellists:            Dr Patrick Bresnihan, Dr Julie Freeman, Fiona McDonald
Moderator:           Dr Rachel O’Dwyer, NCAD Lecturer
 
Thursday
1 April 2021
7pm-8pm (GMT)
Title:                     AI and Ethics. Moral Machines - Model Behaviour
Date:                    Thursday 1 April 2021, 7pm - 8pm (GMT)
Speakers:            Nora Al Badri, Prof Barry O’Sullivan
Moderator:           Artist Elaine Hoey
 
Thursday
15 April 2021
7pm-8pm (GMT)
Title:                     AI and Creativity - Speculative Futures
Date:                    Thursday 15 April 2021, 7pm - 8pm (GMT)
Speakers:            Johanna Bruckner, Dr Arthur I. Miller
Moderator:           Artist Elaine Hoey
 
Thursday
29 April 2021
7pm-8pm (GMT)
Title:                     Digital Economies | Digital Intimacies
Date:                    Thursday 29 April 2021, 7pm - 8pm (GMT)
Speakers:             Dr Antonia Hernández, Dr Kylie Jarrett
Moderator:            Dr Rachel O’Dwyer, NCAD
 
Thursday
13 May 2021
7pm-8pm (GMT)
Title:                     What Does the Algorithm See?
Date:                    Thursday 13 May 2021, 7pm - 8pm (GMT)
Speakers:             Rosa Menkman, Joanna Zylinska
Moderator:           Dr Rachel O’Dwyer, NCAD
 
Thursday
27 May 2021
7pm-8pm (GMT)
Title:                     AI and Bias.  Feminist + Queer Perspectives
Date:                    Thursday 27 May 2021, 7pm - 8pm (GMT)
Speaker:               Caroline Campbell-Loitering Theatre,
Speaker:               Coral Manton-Women Reclaiming AI
Moderator:            Artist Elaine Hoey
 
Thursday
10 June 2021,
7pm (GMT)
Title:                     Webinar 7
Date:                    Thursday 10 June 2021, 7pm - 9pm (GMT)
Speakers:             
Dr Mercedes Bunz - Creative AI Lab Serpentine Gallery.
Eva Jäger, Associate Curator Arts & Technology Serpentine Gallery
Forensic Architecture - Zac Ioannidis - Researcher & Programmer for FC. 
Moderators: Artist Elaine Hoey & Dr Rachel O’Dwyer, NCAD.
 
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Webinar 1 YouTube 

Title:                       Translating Nature: Data as Art
Date:                      Thursday March 18th 2021, 7pm - 8pm.
Panellists:              Dr Patrick Bresnihan, Dr Julie Freeman, Fiona McDonald
Moderator:             Dr. Rachel O’Dwyer, NCAD
 
Brief Seminar Overview
This panel discussion brings together artists and researchers exploring the translation of nature and ecologies into participatory projects, citizen science and visual and media art. We will look at artists and researchers who are translating ‘data’ from living systems into visual representations, photographic exhibitions, kinetic sculptures and sound compositions.
How can we explore the interfaces between technology, citizen science and artistic practices? What kinds of expertise and ways of knowing might these practices bring to light? And how might these artistic forms be used in future discussions and environmental debates?
 
Dr Patrick Bresnihan is a lecturer in the Department of Geography at Maynooth University working across the interdisciplinary fields of urban political ecology, science and technology studies, and environmental humanities. His practice is often collaborative, including working with environmental scientists, activists and artists. His research explores the intersections of technological infrastructures and natural ecologies including water contamination and industrial agriculture; rural climate justice; citizen science; and the politics of energy and data infrastructures. His book Transforming the Fisheries: Neoliberalism, Nature and the Commons (University of Nebraska Press, 2016) won the Geography Society of Ireland Book of the Year in 2018. 
 
Dr Julie Freeman explores relationships between science and nature; questioning the use of technology in how we translate our world. Often working with living systems, her work transforms complex processes and data from real-time sources into kinetic sculptures, physical objects, images, sound compositions and animations, and has been exhibited widely. She founded the Data as Culture art programme at the Open Data Institute, and is co-founder of Fine Acts. Julie is a TED Senior Fellow and was awarded a PhD from Queen Mary University of London for her thesis Defining Data as an Art Material. translatingnature.org
 
Fiona McDonald is a Dublin-based interdisciplinary artist. She holds a BSc in Biological Chemistry from University of Ulster a BA & MA in Fine Art from NCAD & a MSc in Multimedia Systems TCD. She is a current Artist in residence in innovation and technology at Talent Garden on DCU Alpha Campus. In 2019 she was an http://urgentenuiry.ie Artist In Residence and was a 2018 recipient of the Arts Council Bursary Award. She is a current visiting research assistant of OMG Orthogonal Methods Group at CONNECT the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for future communication networks. Recent exhibitions include “Sensing Ecologies”, an immersive geo-located audio tour created for Bull Island exploring biodiversity, climate change, sensors and bioindicators, In the age of Conscious Makers, 2019, NCAD Gallery, and a solo exhibition “Gateways” at Roscommon Arts Centre 2018 curated by Linda Shevlin. Her work is included in collections AIB, UCD, Digital Hub, Thomas St, Dublin, Scott Tallon Walker, Arc.
 
Webinar 2 YouTube 
 
Title:                       AI and Ethics. Moral Machines - Model Behaviour 
Date:                      Thursday 1st April 2021, 7pm-8pm.
Speakers:              Nora Al Badri, Professor Barry O’Sullivan
Moderator:             Artist, Elaine Hoey
 
Brief Seminar Overview
The evolution of Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning technologies are in a constant state of flux and like all technology can be used for both good and bad purposes. The same algorithm that can be used to improve spatial navigation for people with disabilities can also be used to produce fake news videos. Today’s AI can be an enormous benefit to society and also a threat to democracy, depending on how it is used. This raises a number of ethical questions and concerns around how AI will be used in the future. How can we ensure the AI systems we build are responsible and safe? Whose values and outcomes are we encoding into these systems? Can technology ever be truly neutral? 
 
Nora Al-Badri is a multi-disciplinary and conceptual media artist with a German-Iraqi background. Her works are research-based as well as paradisciplinary and as much postcolonial as post-digital. She lives and works in Berlin. She graduated in political sciences at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main and was the first artist-in-residence at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (EPFL) and its Laboratory for Experimental Museology (eM+) in 2020. Her practice focuses on the politics and the emancipatory potential of new technologies such as machine intelligence or data sculpting, non-human agency and transcendence. Al-Badri’s artistic material is a speculative archaeology from fossils to artefacts or performative interventions in museums and other public spaces, that respond to the inherent power structures. Her work was featured at The New York Times, BBC, The Times, Artnet, Wired, Le Monde Afrique, Financial Times, Arte TV, The Independent, New Statesman, Hyperallergic, Smithsonian, Al Ahram, Egypt Today, Vice, Hürriyet, Dezeen, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Spiegel Online, Heise, The Boston Globe, Dezeen, Archdaily, Polska, La informacion, De Volkskrant, Gizmodo, New Scientist, Popular Science and The Verge amongst others.
 
Prof Barry O'Sullivan holds the Chair in Constraint Programming at University College Cork in Ireland. He is the founding Director of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at UCC, founding Director of the Science Foundation Ireland’s Centre for Research Training in AI, and a Principal Investigator at the Confirm Centre for Smart Manufacturing. He is an Adjunct Professor at Monash University, Australia. Professor O’Sullivan served as vice chair of the European Commission High-Level Expert Group on AI and a scientific advisor to AI Watch, an initiative of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre tasked with monitoring the uptake of AI in Europe. He is an award-winning academic working in the fields of artificial intelligence, constraint programming, and operations research. He also works in AI and data ethics, as well as public policy-making related to AI.  He has a keen interest in the commercialisation of AI and is involved in a number of startup companies. Professor O’Sullivan is a Fellow and a past President of the European AI Association, Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the Irish Computer Society, and Member of the Royal Irish Academy.

Webinar 3 YouTube 
 
Title:                       AI and Creativity- Speculative Futures.
Date:                      Thursday April 15th 2021, 7pm-8pm.
Speakers:              Johanna Bruckner, Dr Arthur I. Miller
Moderator:             Artist, Elaine Hoey
 
Brief Seminar Overview
In recent years, machines have been trained with existing materials to produce everything from music to art to literature and a growing amount of creative work is even made with the assistance of AI. Questions now are being raised about whether an AI can replace human creativity and become creative in its own right. What is underpinning our desire to develop AI systems in the face of possible creative existential threat? How will creative interplay between humans and machines evolve in the future?
 
Johanna Bruckner (*born in Vienna in 1984) is an internationally exhibited artist based in Zurich. She mainly works in the media of video, installation and performance. Recent exhibitions and screenings include MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Arts, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, ICA, Institute for Contemporary Art, Milano, Löwenbraukunst, LUMA Westbau Zürich, Galerie Roehrs & Boetsch, Zürich, ZKM Karlsruhe, Digital Art Center Taipeh, the transmediale 2020, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, the Kunstraum Niederösterreich, Wien, the 57th Venice Biennial, Arebyte Gallery, London, Galerie EIGEN+ART Lab, Berlin; CAC, Centre d’art contemporain Genève, MAMCO, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Genève, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Sammlung Falckenberg, the KW, Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, the Villa Croce, Museum for Contemporary Art, Genoa, the Kunsthaus in Hamburg, the Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof. She was a Visual Arts Fellow at the Istituto Svizzero in Rom, the Akademie Schloss Solitude, the Banff Center for Visual Arts in Canada, is currently a fellow at the Jan Van Eyck Academie. She was nominated for a fellowship at Harvard University, MIT, Cambridge and has taught at various universities. She received the Recognition Award for Fine Arts of Lower Austria, 2020, and the re:humanism Prize & Artificial intelligence in 2021.
 
Dr. Arthur I. Miller is Emeritus Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science at University College London. He is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time, and the Beauty that Causes Havoc; Insights of Genius: Imagery and Creativity in Science and Art; and Colliding Worlds: How Cutting-Edge Science is Redefining Contemporary Art. He regularly broadcasts, lectures, and curates exhibitions at the intersection of art and science, and has written for The Guardian, The New York Times, Wired and Salon. In his recent book on AI and creativity in art, literature and music, The Artist in the Machine: The World of AI-Powered Creativity, he explores key questions surrounding human and machine creativity in the age of artificial intelligence.
www.arthurimiller.com , www.collidingworlds.org , www.artistinthemachine.net 
 
Webinar 4 YouTube 

Title:                       Digital Economies | Digital Intimacies
Date:                      Thursday April 29th 2021, 7pm - 8pm.
Speakers:              Dr Antonia Hernández, Dr Kylie Jarrett
Moderator:             Dr. Rachel O’Dwyer, NCAD
 
Brief Seminar Overview
This event brings together artists and researchers to explore the intersection of intimacy, care, platforms and online work. After a year of working from home, family zoom calls and socially distanced dating we need to talk about digital intimacy. How do users employ digital technologies to maintain or manage interpersonal relationships? What does it mean when our intimate communications are mediated by proprietary platforms - when our social and romantic selves are indexed and quantified as data for surveillance capitalism? And what about the hidden intimacies and care that underpins and shores up these online environments?  
 
Dr Antonia Hernández is a theorist, designer and media artist whose work explores infrastructural relations of intimacy, combining theoretical investigation with arts-based practices to understand the fleshy, living, and domestic aspects of media. She has presented her work and research-creation methodologies widely at conferences, exhibitions, and in artist talks. Her SSHRC-supported doctoral research examines the role of fictional currencies to enable affective communication and differential exploitation in the context of the platform economy. The project included an art-based exploration of the sex cam platform Chaturbate through a series of performative interventions staged in a dollhouse and broadcast to the same platform. This research is the subject of a forthcoming book The Machine of Social Reproduction. Antonia is a founding member of the archive+design collective Mat3rial, that works with cultural and community organizations, researchers, and artists to develop knowledge mobilization strategies.
 
Dr Kylie Jarrett is associate professor in Media Studies in Maynooth University where she teaches digital media, gender, political economy, research methods, and media and cultural theory. Her research focuses on the political economy of digital media and in particular the commercial Web, with an emphasis on digital labour. She is the author of Feminism, Labour and Digital Media: The Digital Housewife (Routledge, 2016) and co-author with Susanna Paasonen and Ben Light of #NSFW: Sex, Humor and Risk in Social Media (MIT Press, 2019). She is currently co-PI of a IRC/AHRC-UKRI UK-Ireland Collaboration in the Digital Humanities Networking project: Intersections: Feminism, Technology and Digital Humanities.

Webinar 5 YouTube 
 
Title:                       What Does the Algorithm See?
Date:                      Thursday May 13th 2021, 7pm - 8pm.
Speakers:              Rosa Menkman, Joanna Zylinska
Moderator:             Dr.Rachel O’Dwyer, NCAD
 
Brief Seminar Overview
We live in a world full of images made by machine for machines, from facial recognition technologies to automatic license plate readers and AI image categorisation. What’s more, these new ‘ways of seeing’ are coupled to ways of knowing and foment action in the real world. In this panel, which brings together artistic practice and research, we ask, how is machine vision influencing contemporary visual cultures? What kinds of social differences are produced or reproduced by these imaging systems? How might we begin to understand the technological substrate of standards, codecs, formats, training data sets and algorithms that make up the new seeing machines? And how might artistic practice provide a space for seeing differently?
 
Rosa Menkman is a Dutch art theoristcurator, and visual artist specialising in glitch art and resolution theory. She investigates video compression, feedback, and glitches, using her exploration to generate artworks. In 2011 Menkman wrote the Glitch Moment/um, a book on the exploitation and popularization of glitch artifacts (published by the Institute of Network Cultures. Since 2007 Menkman has been creating performances and static work, such as the Vernacular of File Formats and Acousmatic Videoscapes, in which she connects both sound and video artifacts conceptually, technically and narratively. Other artworks include the Collapse of PAL and Xilitla. Currently she is interested in considering alternative ways for performative lecturing.

Joanna Zylinska is an artist, writer, lecturer and – according to the ImageNet Roulette’s algorithm – a ‘mediatrix’. Her art practice involves experimenting with different kinds of image-based media. Zylinska is also an author of a number of books on art, philosophy and technology – including AI Art: Machine Visions and Warped Dreams (Open Humanities Press, 2020) and Nonhuman Photography (MIT Press, 2017). She works as Professor of New Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is currently researching perception and cognition as boundary zones between human and machine intelligence, while trying to answer the question: 'Does photography have a future?'
 
Webinar 6 YouTube 
 
Title:                       AI and Bias. Feminist + Queer Perspectives
Date:                      May 27th 2021, 7pm-8pm.
Speakers:              Caroline Campbell - Loitering Theatre, Coral Manton - Women Reclaiming AI
Moderator:             Artist, Elaine Hoey

Brief Seminar Outline
The historical data we use to train Artificial Intelligence or Machine learning technologies continue to reflect biases that many of us would have hoped to relegate to the past, including bias towards gender and race. From racial profiling to gender and class bias, AI systems can reflect back and further entrench inherent problems within our society. How can the female perspective begin to challenge and question these norms?
 
Caroline Campbell is an artist, writer and filmmaker working under the name Loitering Theatre (both as a solo artist and with other collaborators). Loitering Theatre work across video, text, mixed message, false flags, meme magic, artificial intellect, viral interference and future archaeologies of time. Loitering Theatre has most recently presented work at Tulca Festival of Visual Arts, Galway (2020), Hugh Lane Gallery, as part of Digital Self Defence, curated by Kennedy Browne; Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris and Solstice Gallery (all 2019) Caroline is a practice-based PhD researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London in the Department of Visual Cultures. www.loiteringtheatre.org
 
Coral Manton is an artist-technologist and game developer. She is Lecturer in Creative Computing at Bath Spa University and Course Leader for BA Hons Games Development. Her interests include XR, playable media, digital heritage and design activism. She has worked in AAA and Indie gaming and is a qualified museum curator specialising in interactive and digital collections research. She is a live-coder and has performed at Algoraves across the UK and internationally. She performed and curated an Algorave which saw 800 people dancing to algorithms in the iconic British Library in London as part of the ‘Staying Late at Library’ programme. She is an advocate for women in technology and much of her work is focused on creating better relationships between technology and people. She is Co-Founder of Women Reclaiming AI. A conversational AI feminist voice assistant which is being co-developed by a growing community of 100+ Women. She spoke at ITU, a United Nations Conference, on Gender and AI. Coral’s work has been featured in Ars Electronica, SXSW, The Guardian Newspaper and she has led workshops at The Barbican for AI: More than Human and MozFest.
 
 
Webinar 7 YouTube 
 
Date:                    10th June 2021, 7pm-9pm.
Panel:                   Dr Mercedes Bunz - Creative AI Lab Serpentine Gallery.
                              Eva Jäger, Associate Curator Arts & Technology Serpentine Gallery
                              Forensic Architecture - Zac Ioannidis - Researcher & Programmer for FC. 
Moderators:         Artist, Elaine Hoey & Dr. Rachel O’Dwyer, NCAD.
 
Dr Mercedes Bunz is the Serpentine Gallery’s Creative AI Lab’s Principal Investigator and Senior Lecturer in Digital Society at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. Her research explores how digital technology transforms knowledge and power. She previously worked as a journalist, including as technology correspondent for The Guardian. She studied Philosophy, Art History and Media Studies at the FU Berlin and the Bauhaus University in Weimar, gaining her doctorate with a thesis on the history of the Internet, in which she gave free rein to her curiosity about digital technology. Her last publication is ‘The Internet of Things’ with Graham Meikle and ‘The calculation of meaning: on the misunderstanding of new artificial intelligence as culture’ published in the journal Culture, Theory and Critique.
 
Eva Jäger, Associate Curator Arts & Technology Serpentine Galleries London and Co-Investigator of the Creative AI Lab with Mercedes Bunz. She is also one part of Studio Legrand Jäger, a multi-disciplinary creative practice researching design and technology together with Guillemette Legrand.

Forensic Architecture Researcher & ProgrammerZac Ioannidis - is a researcher and software Developer. Zac’s role at Forensic Architecture relates to the design and development of platforms and interfaces that enable the multi-dimensional navigation of data from investigations. He graduated in 2016 with a degree in Computer Science from the University of Bristol and a thesis relating to the physicalisation of Quantified Self data.
Prior to joining Forensic Architecture, he worked as a data scientist in digital agencies in London, NYC, and Tokyo. Through his freelance practice, he develops tools that interrogate multimodal representations of textual and sonic data. Investigations The Extrajudicial Execution of Ahmad Erekat; Police Brutality at the Black Lives Matter Protests; Pushbacks Across the Evros/Meriç River: Situated Testimony.
___________________________________________________________
 
Elaine Hoey works primarily creating interactive based installations, appropriating contemporary digital art practices and aesthetics to explore the politics of digital humanity and our evolving relationship with the screen. She describes her process as ‘experimental’ and is interested in exploring digitally native and new forms of art. Her work often addresses and critiques themes arising from identity, place and the biopolitical body. She works through a wide variety of mediums such as, virtual reality, artificial intelligent systems in gaming engines, video, installation and live remote cyber performance. Recent exhibitions include Desire; A Revision from the 20th Century to the Digital Age at the Irish Museum of Modern Art Dublin (2019-2020); Unflattering at The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea (2020) and Citizen Nowhere Citizen Somewhere at The Crawford Gallery, Cork (2020). Other exhibitions include The Dictionary of Evil, Gangwon International Biennale, South Korea (2018); Design and Violence MOMA and Science Gallery (2016-17); Dublin Futures,The RHA, Dublin; Turbulence, The Model Sligo; Oracle at Scena9. Bucharest (2018); Open Codes, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany; Surface Tension,Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris (2018); FILE SP Fiesp Cultural Centre, São Paulo, Brazil (2019); This is not Architecture (2017) at Highlanes, Drogheda; The Ground Opened Up, The National Sculpture Factory, Cork (2017); Elaine is a recipient of the Taylor Art Award and the R.C. Lewis-Crosby Award from the RDS Visual Arts Awards. She has just been awarded a year long studio residency with IMMA and DAS. Elaine is a part time lecturer in Fine Art Media at the National College of Art and Design and is currently artist in residence with The Digital Hub in Dublin.
 
Dr Rachel O’Dwyer is a lecturer in the School of Visual Cultures in NCAD, where she lectures in digital cultures. She is an associate researcher in the Orthogonal Methods Research Group in Connect, the SFI Centre for Future Networks, TCD,  a former Government of Ireland Research Scholar and Fulbright Alumni. She is the founder of Interference a Journal of Audio Culture (2009 – 2017) and co-editor of Neural Magazine for Critical Digital Cultures and Media Arts. Her research centres on the intersection between digital cultures and digital economies with a particular focus on surveillance capitalism and artistic modes of resistance to online surveillance. This is the topic of a forthcoming manuscript. She frequently curates events on digital cultures including DATA (2007 – 2016), Openhere (2012 – 2014) andand Ascend: artist methods for engagement with algorithms (2019-). 
 
Programme Contact: Anne Kelly, Curator NCAD Gallery | In Public Programmes, kellya@staff.ncad.ie
National College of Art and Design, 100 Thomas Street, Dublin D08 K521, Ireland.
 
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