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Archaeology of Algorithmic Artefacts

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Archaeology of Algorithmic Artefacts
by David Link
June 23rd, 2016
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Unearthing the cumulus of transient technologies that underlie the fabric of contemporary society

As historical processes increasingly become steeped in technology, it becomes more and more necessary for a discipline to emerge that is capable of comprehending these materialities beyond their shelf life to better understand the fields they inundate such as science, art, and warfare. This effort is further compromised by the inherent complexity and complete arbitrariness of technical languages – especially when they are algorithmic – along with the rapid pace in which they become obsolete, unintelligible, or simply forgotten. The Turing Machine plays a central role in the Archaeology of Algorithmic Artefacts, wherein the gradual developments of the individual components encompassed by this complex technology are placed within the context of engineering sciences and the history of inventions. This genealogy also traces the origin of the computer in disciplines such as mathematics, meta-mathematics, combinatorics, cryptology, philosophy, and physics. The investigations reveal that the history of apparatuses that process signs is in no way limited, as one might think, to the second half of the 20th century, rather it is possible that they existed at all times and in all cultures.

David Link is a free researcher and artist based in Cologne, Germany. In 2012, he received the Tony Sale Award for Computer Restoration from the British Computer Conservation Society for his work “LoveLetters_1.0”, which was presented at the international contemporary art exhibition dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel, Germany.

Reviews
The Journal of the Computer Conservation Society: Autumn 2016 - Archaeology of Algorithmic Artefacts
The New Yorker: February 2017Archaeology of Algorithmic Artefacts

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Details
Details Paperback | 207 pages | 6.75 x 9" | Illustrations: 101 | Letterpress Cover | Cover Design by Jason Wagner

Tags: Theory and Philosophy, Spring 2016, David Link

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