In this talk I will examine the historical
relationship between the automation of decision making, freedom, and democracy
after the 1970’s. Through an examination of financial technologies,
economic thought, urban planning, and aesthetic practices, I will examine how
concepts of democracy and intelligence were transformed through novel technical
practices and ideas. I do so to trace a historical genealogy of how freedom and
democracy came to be linked to self-organizing, networked intelligences, and
non-conscious decision making. Analogous to this development is also the shift
to ideas of democracy and freedom as not averse too, but supported by, automatic
and non-conscious decision making in both people and machines, what I label "the
Orit Halpern is Full
Professor and Chair of Digital Cultures and Societal Change at Technische
Universität Dresden. Her work bridges the histories of science, computing, and
cybernetics with design. She completed her Ph.D. at Harvard. She has held
numerous visiting scholar positions including at the Max Planck Institute for
the History of Science in Berlin, IKKM Weimar, and at Duke University. She is
currently working on two projects. The first is a history of automation,
intelligence, and freedom; the second project examines extreme infrastructures
and the history of experimentation at planetary scales in design, science, and
She has also published widely in many venues including Critical Inquiry, Grey Room, and Journal of Visual Culture, and E-Flux. Her first book Beautiful Date: A History of Vision and Reason (Duke UP 2015) investigates histories of big data, design, and governmentality. Her current book with Robert Mitchell (forthcoming MIT Press December 2022) is titled the Smartness Mandate. The book is a genealogy of our current obsession with smart technologies and artificial intelligence.
The FEINART LECTURE SERIES discusses the role, impact, and theoretical implications of socially engaged art. This series of public talks is organized by the Innovative Training Network FEINART (The Future of European Independent Art Spaces in a Period of Socially Engaged Art) jointly led by the Universities of Wolverhampton (coordinator), Zeppelin University (direction of the training programme) University Iceland, and University of Edinburgh. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 860306.
The audience is presumed to consent to a possible recording on the part of FEINART research Network and Zeppelin University. The recordings will be archived and published on YouTube.