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Slow seminar no. 47

Data Ecologies of the Anthropocene

Info about event


Tuesday 9 October 2018,  at 14:00 - 16:30


The old canteen at Moesgård (4215, 032)

Our next Slow seminar is on Data Ecologies of the Anthropocene. It will take place October 9, 2018, 14.30 to 16.00 at the old canteen at Moesgård (4215, 032)


Our contemporary moment is increasingly characterized by and through digital data. Imaginaries run wild; data is rendered as the new oil, the new currency, our new vehicle of growth, even. We increasingly find ourselves confronted by, and enmeshed in, worlds of data hype, speculation, and surveyance on ever grander scales. Recent work on the materiality of data and the digital has highlighted the complex and multifaceted ways that environmental goods and relations are appropriated in the production of the digital. Additionally, the expansion of planetary wide computational infrastructures - rendered through algorithms, machine learning, smart cities, the internet of things, and even, today, augmented reality – point towards the ways in which data and environment making are becoming mutually constitutive.


We want to use this slow seminar as an opportunity to begin a conversation about the role of computational infrastructures in the making of environments, and conversely, about the role of the environment in making computation possible. Said differently, we want to interrogate the imbrication of the ‘digital’ and the ‘environmental’ with a focus on the varied ways that each is constituted through the other. While this is partly about the role of sensor technologies and smart devices in the production of ecosystems or climate change knowledge, it is also about the manner in which environmental appropriation is central to computation. Moreover, we also want to ignite a discussion about the ways in which computational reasoning overflows the boundaries of the digital and its analytical toolbox by erupting into everyday materialities. Thinking through the relations within and between environmentally inflected computation, and computationally inflected environments, is one way to begin to take stock of the compelling empirical, theoretical, and ethical challenges that are emerging in a digitalised anthropocene.


We have selected four articles that together point towards the emergence of a new field of study, what might be called the digital Anthropocene.


James Maguire, postdoc at the IT University of Copenhagen and AURA postdoc Astrid O. Andersen will be leading the seminar.



Halpern, Orit and Robert Mitchell. Forthcoming. GREY MATTER

The Smartness Mandate: Notes Toward a Critique. In: Grey Room.


Pasquinelli, Matteo. 2017. The Automaton of the Anthropocene: On Carbosilicon Machines and Cyberfossil Capital. The South Atlantic Quarterly, vol 116(2), pp. 311-326. DOI: 10.1215/00382876-3829423


Posthumus, Stephanie & Sinclair, Stéfan & Poplawski, Veronica. 2018. Digital and Environmental Humanities: Strong Networks, Innovative Tools, Interactive Objects. Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, vol. 5(2), pp. 156-171. Project MUSE, muse.jhu.edu/article/698345.


Nowviskie, B (2015) – Digital Humanities in the Anthropocene, Vol 30, Supplement 1


Additionally, we encourage participants to watch the second episode of All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, a BBC television documentary first broadcasted in 2011, in which filmmaker Adam Curtis traces the emergence and impact of computers and their logics on societies.

Episode 2, ”The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts” investigates how machine ideas such as cybernetics and systems theory were applied to natural ecosystems, and how this relates to the idea that there is a balance of nature.