Wendy Chun lecture at RISD

Posted by kanarinka akanarinak | Tue Apr 25th 2006 3:57 p.m.

Programmable Visions: On the Emergence of Computer and Biological
Lecture by Wendy Chun
Tuesday May 2nd
RISD Auditorium, 7PM

"Programmable Visions: On the Emergence of Computer and Biological
Why are images proliferating at a time when their power to index
reality is waning? How and why have non-transparent technologies,
such as computers, become conflated with transparency? This talk
argues that the answer to these questions lies in the unforeseen
emergence of programming languages. Drawing connections between
early genetics and computer engineering, this talk argues that
digital computing's "programmability"-its return to a "clock-work"
universe-encapsulated mid-twentieth century dreams of biological
heredity. Rather than foreshadowing DNA, as many have argued, early
ruminations on the existence of a genetic code-script that conflated
execution and legislation, such as Schrodinger's What is Life?,
foreshadowed the emergence of a code-based causality, which software-
not DNA-would, and could only, instantiate.

About Wendy Chun
Wendy Chun is an associate professor of Modern Culture and Media at
Brown University. She has studied both Systems Design Engineering and
English Literature, which she combines and mutates in her current
work on digital media. She is author of _Control and Freedom: Power
and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics_ (MIT, 2006), and co-editor
(with Thomas Keenan) of _New Media, Old Media: A History and Theory
Reader (Routledge, 2005). She has been a fellow at the Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and a Wriston Fellow at
Brown. She is currently working on a monograph entitled _Programmed
Visions: Software, DNA, Race_ (forthcoming MIT, 2008).

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