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Chris Salter

"Patterns that Perpetuate: Sensors, Tracking and Un-quantified Selves"

From microphones hidden in thermostats to cameras spying on us from office furniture, it seems that the more connectivity we have in the wireless worlds of sensor-augmented things, the more characteristics we have as humans we freely give up - privacy, autonomy, self-organization, meaning production. As advances in sensing, signal processing and machine learning become ever more sophisticated, leaving the laboratory at record speed to join the arsenals of the FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) companies, the techniques for tracking us quickly are seeing the light of day. But who or what are these systems tracking and how do they do it? What patterns arise and are these patterns already "in the world" or simply the by product of artificial statistical processes? Finally and perhaps most importantly, do such technical sensing systems reconfigure traits traditionally assigned to us as humans such as sensing, perception and awareness and if they do, then what relationship will our own biologically evolved sensing systems we have with our technological others that increasingly inhabit the earth?

Chris Salter is an artist, University Research Chair in New Media, Technology and the Senses at Concordia University and Co-Director of the Hexagram network for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technology in Montreal. He studied philosophy and economics at Emory University and completed a PhD in directing/dramatic criticism at Stanford University where he also researched and studied at CCMRA. In the 1990s, he collaborated with Peter Sellars and William Forsythe/Frankfurt Ballet in Salzburg, Paris, and London. His artistic work has been seen in festivals and exhibitions all over the including the Venice Biennale. He is the author of Entangled: Technology and the Transformation of Performance (MIT Press, 2010) and Alien Agency: Experimental Encounters with Art in the Making (MIT Press, 2015). He is creative consultant for the Barbican Centre’s (London) 2019 thematic season: Life Rewired. He is currently working on a book focused on how we make sense in an age of sensors, algorithms, machine learning and quantification.