John Young on Sat, 12 Sep 2015 23:46:54 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Rice Seminar - Chronotopic Imaginaries: The City in Signs,


The 2016-17 Rice Seminar proposes to look at specific nodes along a network of contemporary life. These nodes, or intelligent "end-points" able to communicate without hierarchical agency, are the very cities that today aspire to be mega, ideal, sustainable, virtual, smart, or resilient formations.

Linked by computers, mobile devices, and real time sensors, these are places where the implicit connectedness of how we ought to live together depends on distributed networks, rules, codes, protocols, and infrastructures, all bound by a paradoxical, if not panopticistic, social contract now located in Cyberia.

In such cities, the social fabric continues to collude (and potentially collide) with the very resilience of disciplinary and control societies. The regularity of social or architectural form has, in fact, become far less relevant than the orchestration of the data that a city produces, collects, and curates. The promise of democracy in the connected city is "always already" contradicted by a strict hierarchy that either structures access to information or that predetermines how (and by whom) the very tools of communication talk to each other.

As Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, once put it, there is "one centralized Achilles' heel" to the Web's otherwise decentralized system: computers may be free to talk to each other, but only if they abide by given naming conventions. This means that the system can, in theory, be brought to a halt by whomever is in control of a limited number of root name servers, which until recently added up, ominously enough, to the mere number of 13.

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows [Rice Seminar 2016-17]

The position is for July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. Fellows receive a $50,000 salary, benefits eligibility, and an allowance for research and relocation to Houston. Primary obligations include an active participation in all aspects of the Rice Seminar and collaborating on spatial humanities projects currently underway at Rice. In addition, fellows will develop or continue their own research projects and give a presentation to colleagues at Rice. Fellows will also design and teach (or co-teach) two semester-long undergraduate courses, the topics of which will be determined in consultation with the HRC and/or appropriate department.

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