Call for Papers : College Art Association Conference 2014

Professors Weissman and Hamilton invite proposals for their upcoming panel, Beyond Big Data: the politics of vision in complex systems, to be held at the 2014 CAA Conference in Chicago.


“Big Data” no longer belongs exclusively to the domain of supercomputing. The proliferation of digital artifacts has made the amassing of large collections available to any curious browser or hoarder, including artists, curators, and scholars who have begun to create new online or offline spaces, data structures, maps, and software as part of their research. But how do scholars and artists make visible the values and epistemologies embedded in the technological systems we use—and often, simultaneously, seek to critique? The question of vision is central to this inquiry, not only because images play a key role in these systems, but because technological systems facilitate visibility through the application of frames, filters and algorithms. This session seeks to investigate the politics of vision in technological systems and the innovative methodologies at work in their analysis. We welcome proposals from artists and scholars who approach digital collections as networks that merit examination as technologies themselves.

Apply by May 6. See CAA guidelines here.

Also stay tuned for more information on an upcoming edited journal on the same subject, edited by Weismman and Hamilton for Media-N, the journal of CAA’s New Media Caucus.

Noble awarded XSEDE grant to examine consumer data, cloud computing

press release courtesy I-CHASS

[Seeing Systems Faculty member] Safiya Noble, assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies at Illinois in collaboration with the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Science (I-CHASS) and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Cybersecurity Group has been awarded a startup allocation grant on the National Science Foundation’s Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), a national collaboration of supercomputing infrastructures. Noble’s research team will use XSEDE to pursue large-scale visualizations. Noble is an affiliated faculty member at GSLIS.

In her research, she is examining the movement of consumer data across international borders which has come about as a result of increasing use of cloud computing tools (e.g., Facebook, Amazon, Gmail, YouTube, etc.). The central research questions will focus on how to best understand the implications of data storage by cloud-computing companies outside of the U.S, and whether our personal information is at risk as it crosses national borders. The pressing theme of this research is concerned with whether the public’s data is protected under the terms of service agreements, international trade agreements protecting commercial data, or whether it is subject to the sovereign laws of the nations physically storing or warehousing U.S.-based data.

Noble’s study will map large datasets of consumer email and cloud-based services, over time, in order to understand how data physically moves through national and international infrastructures. These large-scale visualizations of consumer information will allow for exploration and greater theorization on information policy issues affecting consumer privacy.