Lessons in Crisis Computing
Linda Hilfling Ritasdatter
Location: Het Huis Main Stage
By engaging with detested and would-be obsolete programming language COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language), this lecture by Linda Hilfling Ritasdatter explores the dark sides of automation through the concept of ‘crisis computing’, in which execution, crisis and maintenance are entangled with one another. COBOL becomes a case in point for this entanglement: the functionality of digital interfaces and global flows that are maintained and kept from breaking down by workforces in countries such as India who serve as anonymous janitors of the information society. The sites of crisis computing unfold here as a series of ‘lessons’ that include artistic research in and through COBOL and which ultimately demand nothing less than a reconsideration of information architecture design. To understand the asymmetrical labour conditions produced through the “curse of smooth operations”, we need to look not only at the level of user interaction and its back-ends, but also at the back-back-ends of automated systems.
What else is on Friday?
See the Friday timetable to visit the other programmes with your Festival Pass (5-days) or Day Pass (1-day). With the passes you can also visit the festival exhibition The Curse of Smooth Operations at the IMPAKT [Centre for Media Culture] and Steenweg 26.
Linda Hilfling Ritasdatter― Artist
Linda Hilfling Ritasdatter (Denmark) is an artist researcher examining the cultural impact of media and technological development as it manifests itself in asymmetric power structures. Linda’s practice takes the form of interventions reflecting upon or revealing hidden gaps within digital infrastructures — the place where a system fails, and its inadequacies become visible. Her methodology is based on extensive research and field work which e.g. encounters outsourced work and educational forces as well as engaging materials such as programming languages and outmoded technical apparatuses. Linda is currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University, and an external lecturer in Design+Change at the Department of Design, Linnaeus University in Växjö, Sweden.