Debra Benita Shaw is a Reader in Cultural Theory at the University of East London. She is the author of Women, Science & Fiction (2000), Technoculture (2008) and Posthuman Urbanism (2017). She is a founder member of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research. More importantly, she believes that education should be free and that access to knowledge is a human right.
At a time when the meaning of democracy is challenged by the power of algorithms and the politics of misinformation, what has become apparent, is that the valorisation of data is the defining characteristic of contemporary digital capitalism.
Big Data is sold on the basis of accurate retrieval; the promise that a series of perfect signals can be abstracted from the background noise of the world’s incessant uploading of information. Against this background, the rise of digital ‘glitch’ art is interesting in terms of how it privileges noise over signal and aestheticises error.
Glitch artists randomly re-assort ordered sequences to demonstrate that order itself is arbitrary, contingent and open to transduction. In deliberately confounding the apparently smooth interface through which digital messages are received, the glitch aesthetic suggests a productive imagery for a politics which confronts the hierarchies embedded in and reproduced by digital culture.
This event is part of the Culture, Power & Politics seminar series organised by Jeremy Gilbert and the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at the University of East London.