Sorting Things Out (2018)

Workshop at the School for Poetic Computation’s Summer 2018 Code Societies Session

with Jonas Voigt [who took all the photos posted here]

We sort things into piles, put things onto shelves, build folders on desktops, and check boxes 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?

Summer 2018 Syllabus

Slides: Session I
Slides: Session 2

And here’s a nice write-up about our sessions.