Design Dialogues

Nishant Shah, Dean of Research, ArtEZ University of the Arts

Title “Of Pagans, Pirates, and Perverts: An arbitrary history of the computed”
Friday, October 27, 2017 – 11:00 am -12:00 pm, Auditorium 1122, National Center of Super Computing Applications (NCSA) 1205 W Clark St, Urbana, IL
On the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.

See the Design Dialogues Series final poster here.
Read the campus news announcement here.
See photos of Dean Shah’s visit here.

Abstract: The presence of the computer as a device ties us into a fetishistic historicization that centres around the materiality of computing. The various trajectories that emerge from this history making follow the tropes of machine-in-the-making, man-making-machine, and machine-triumphs-all narratives that often invoke socio-cultural and humanistic contexts but focus on the emergence, assembly, and production of the computer. Invisible, even in the divergent geographies and approaches, through all these stories of the computer, of computation, and of computing, are the voices of the computed. The genesis myth of computing as a disruptive emergence belies the affective histories of effective technologies for control and domination that form the legacy of contemporary computation. In this talk, drawing from post-colonial literature around penile pagans, archives of pirated preservation, and the first order of perverted logic that informs theories of cybernetics, I present a different history of computation – a history of the computed. Through these cases, I propose a fruitful way in which Humanities and Arts need to engage with the material, coded, and technological black box of computing.

Bio: Nishant Shah is Dean of Research at ArtEZ University in the Netherlands. He is co-founder and board member of the Centre for Internet & Society in Bangalore, India, and is a professor at the Institute of Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media at Leuphana University in Germany, where he teaches in fields such as Digital Humanities, Computer-Human Interaction and Information and Communication Technologies for Development. His work on technology, identity and social and political movements focuses on the question of how we can remain human in a technological environment.

* Breakfast reception before the talk

Co-Sponsored by:
The Recovering Prairie Futures Research Cluster
The Provost’s Office
The College of Engineering
The College of Media
The School of Information Sciences
The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications
The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

with the:
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
College of Education
College of Fine and Applied Arts
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
School of Social Work
Center for Advanced Study
Center for Digital Inclusion
Center for Global Studies
Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Center for People and Infrastructures
Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Disability Resources and Educational Services
Gender and Women’s Studies
Human and Dynamics Laboratory
Illinois Public Media
Illinois Informatics Institute
Institute of Communications Research
Product Design Laboratory, Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering Department
Social Innovation at Illinois
Spurlock Museum
Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative, College of Business
African American Studies
Asian American Studies
Comparative and World Literature
Latino/a Studies
Media and Cinema Studies
Allen Hall/Unit One LLC
Critical Technologies Lab
Innovation LLC
Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Office of Diversity, Equity, and Access
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
Office of Undergraduate Research
University Library
Makerspace Urbana

About Design Dialogues: At Illinois, thinking about design, talking about design, and doing design is a central part of what we do. It is in our history. The University of Illinois was established 150 years ago under a land-grant mission that transformed education, and today, we continue to develop new initiatives that push for more inclusive, interdisciplinary design. This speaker series contributes to this exciting set of activities by highlighting a number of aspects of the design process that may sometimes be marginalized or overlooked. Our invited speakers will help us all—designers, users, and the broader campus community alike—think about how to make the design process more inclusive in terms of its products, process, and practice. Inclusive design is not achieved by simply saying “we are inclusive”; explicit design interventions are required. As the University of Illinois’s own investments in design enter into an expanded phase to foster a new generation of multi-disciplinary twenty-first century design thinkers, this speakers series invites cross-campus engagements and dialogues to think through the potential for designing distinctly, inclusively, and purposefully.