Friday 2/7/2020 (UC San Diego — Atkinson Hall)

11am-12:30pm (non public)

Jessica Marie Johnson — “#BlackCode Studies and Messy Data” workshop with Path students (invitation only)

Public start time 1 pm (Atkinson Hall Auditorium)

Refreshments (1-1:30pm)

Opening remarks (1:30-2:00pm)

Panel 1: Datafication of the Cultural Record (2:00-3:45pm)

  • What is at stake and what is the status of the datafication of the cultural record? 
  • What major projects/initiatives are enabling greater access to the cultural record? 
  • What new insights can we generate through computational analysis of cultural records? 
  • How are barriers being lowered to computational analysis of major texts?  
  • What political, social, and ethical questions arise in the creation, use, access, and sustainability of digitized cultural records and archives? 


  • Zach Kaiser (MSU) — “The Revolution Will Not Be Optimized”
  • Jacobo Myerston and Monte Johnson (UC San Diego) — “Diogenet: understanding social structure and the construction of knowledge in the ancient Mediterranean”
  • Molly Roberts (UC San Diego) — “Understanding the Impact of Censorship Through Text Data”
  • Danielle Dean (UC San Diego) — “Ford in the Amazon”


Shannon Mattern (New School) (4-5pm)

“Data Ecologies: A Green New Deal for Climate and Tech Reform.” 

Climate scientists rely on massive amounts of data and sophisticated sensing technologies and computational apparatae to build their models and predict climate futures. Meanwhile, tech and data workers depend on processes of extraction, manufacturing, and disposal that have deep ecological impacts. This talk will examine the ecological aspects of tech and critical data reform, and the technical aspects of climate activism — specifically the Green New Deal. Drawing on perspectives from design, the arts, and humanities, I’ll argue that, given the functional entanglements of climate and data, these two causes could be more integrally and productively aligned. 

Reception + Exhibition + Performance

“Streaming” Exhibition — Gallery@CalIT2 (5-7 pm)
Performances — VROOM (6-7pm)

Saturday 2/8/2020 (Bread & Salt — Barrio Logan)

Refreshments (8:30-9am)

Heartwork. Coffee and donuts.

Panel 2. Humanistic Theories of Data (9-10:30am)

  • How can scholarship in the arts and humanities expand our understanding of data, data science, and its cultural significance?
  • How should we understand data science as an epistemology? What ways of knowing are potentially suppressed by data science approaches? 
  • Does data science pose a threat to traditional practices (and institutionalization/education) of the “traditional” arts and humanities? 
  • Should there be a philosophy of data science? 


  • Gabi Schaffzin (UC San Diego) — “Data in Pain: Misfitting and the Ethnographic Turn in Design Studies”
  • Tobin Chodos (UC San Diego) — “Solving and Dissolving Musical Affection: Thoughts on Musical Meaning in the Era of Automated Discovery”
  • Esme Murdock (SDSU) — “We Are the Assets, and Yet? : The Impersonal Intimacy of Data Collection” 
  • Ethan Edwards (Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T.) — “Approaching Augmented Intelligence in Humans and Machines”

Break (10:30-11am)

Panel 3: A Generative Renaissance: New Data-Driven Modes of Authorship (11-12:30pm)

  • How do emerging machine learning techniques create new possibilities for artistic production?
  • What data-driven methods are being used to develop virtual assistant personalities and how might the arts and humanities critically engage or learn from the possibilities and challenges of these methods? 
  • How are data-driven methods altering everyday writing practices?  
  • What is the aesthetic character of emerging neural style? (ML methods, data aesthetics, the computational voice)
  • What is truly new about contemporary data methods in comparison to the deep history of data driven methods and machine authorship in art? (Everything old is new again)


  • Mark Marino (USC) — “Data dramatization: bringing data to life through #netprov”
  • Ryan Germick (Google Assistant) — “Avenging Clippy”
  • Eunsu Kang (Carnegie Mellon University) — “Creative AI and Machinic Surrogacy at the Intersection of Art and Machine Learning”
  • Shlomo Dubnov (UC San Diego) — “In Fleeting Moments: Recomposing Prokofiev with Deep Neural Networks”

Lunch (12:30-2pm)

Irene’s Kitchen. Lunch and beverages.

Panel 4: Synthesis: The Future of Data and Culture (2-3:30pm)

  • In what way might the arts and humanities help engage the public with social challenges emerging around data science and the datafication of society? 
  • Can data-driven forms of analysis, visualization, and generation advance arts and humanities research? 
  • What is quantifiable, computable in culture and the arts and what is resistant to capture? (The limits of analytic approaches)
  • How might we build productive bridges between data science practitioners (in academia and industry) and arts and humanities researchers and practitioners?


  • Miriam Posner (UCLA) — “Humanities and Data: Disciplinary Frictions”
  • Brad Voytek (UC San Diego) — “The Human Side of Data Science”
  • Louise Hickman (UC San Diego) — “Data and Access Work ”
  • Clinton Tolley (UC San Diego) — “Algorithms as Imperatives, as Optatives”

Keynote (4-5pm)

Jessica Marie Johnson (Johns Hopkins University) :

Xroads to Null: Toward a Black Digital Practice 
Black digital practice is the space where alternate ways of being and thinking about the digital are informed by investment in #BlackTheory, black humanity, and black lifeways. This talk explores how black diasporic people take up the digital–and how the digital can and should change to take up black life. 

Reception and data-driven performance (5:30-7pm)

Performances: Donald Craig, Ethan Edwards, Super Squirrel


Salud Tacos. Dinner and drinks.