• Akademie der Künste / Hanseatenweg / Studio
Redaction: Disappearing Data, From Nano to Stratosphere

with Shannon Mattern

  • Lecture
Passes only
Redaction: Disappearing Data, From Nano to Stratospere

While we assume that data aspires to accumulate or to grow “big”, various agents, both large and small – from states and corporations to marginalised communities harmed by their over – or mis-representation in those official datasets – have also practised the conspicuous erasure or concealment of information. Redaction involves the removal or obfuscation of words, passages, pages, or clips for legal, security, or privacy purposes. Yet redaction, unlike erasure or deletion, reveals what is withheld; it divulges the revision and renders the clandestine visible.

This new lecture developed by Shannon Mattern examines redaction as a scalar tool, as a material technique, an aesthetic treatment, an epistemological method, and a political strategy; one that traverses and manipulates scales, from the nano to the stratosphere. By examining the work of various writers, artists, designers, and creative technologists, we’ll consider how the redaction of printed texts, codes, maps, films, archives, architectures, infrastructures, and landscapes – and their translation into other material forms and across scalar domains – can serve various ethical and political ends – and can even function as an act of repair.

Shannon Mattern is the Penn Presidential Compact Professor of Media Studies and Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. She writes and teaches about media infrastructures and architectures.