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Sorting Things Out


Teaching, 2018

For the Code Societies Summer Session at the School for Poetic Computation with Shannon Mattern who invited me to co-design and facilitate a workshop.


Description


We sort things into piles, put things onto shelves, build folders on desktops, and checkboxes on forms that identify (or approximate) our gender, race, and, citizenship. Such sorting not only helps to reduce clutter; it also, often, determines what counts, imposes an implied valuation, and informs access to opportunity.
        In these two sessions of “Code Societies,” we’ll examine how the construction of classification systems, ontologies, data models, and knowledge graphs serves to translate between worldviews, ways of knowing, ideologies, and modes of governance. In some cases, we might say that these organizational systems, encoded in computational form, code particular societies into being.
        How might we develop aspirational ontologies that help us to imagine more just, inclusive, peaceful societies?


References


Summer 2018 Syllabus
Slides: Session I
Slides: Session 2
— A write-up about the sessions


Credits


Special thanks to Shannon Mattern, Melanie Hoff, and Taeyoon Choi.
Mark

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