During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Institute for Digital Arts & Humanities will explore the theme: Ambient Algorhythms in the Arts and Humanities.
The rhythms of daily life surround us: calls from nature, vibrations from musical instruments, pings from mobile devices, corrupt bits from malware, mutated diseases. Some of these are part of our natural landscape. Others are replicated through technological interventions. Still others require a human host to thrive. Some are uplifting, while others are insidious, and every one of them presents algorithmic structures worth exploring through an artistic and humanistic lens.
As part of the Ambient Algorhythms series, we will explore themes such as algorithms of pervasive surveillance, permutations of ambient music, reverberations of sounds in our cities and homes, patterns of documenting injustices, and exponential ebbs and flows of a global pandemic. These points of intersection have urgent, often paradoxical implications in our everyday lives. Exploring these rhythms and algorithms can both inform our existing work and probe novel areas of inquiry.
The crescendos of 2020—from police brutality and human rights violations to professional and personal disenfranchisement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—are equally exposed or repressed through "surveillance culture" and rapidly transmitted through "viral interactions." These digital blips—small or large, digital or analog—have the power to influence and alter the human condition. By looking to scholars and artists as they investigate, question, and dissect emerging facets of this new digital age, we will explore how algorhythms can be defined and applied in the arts and humanities and how these ambient forces can shape our collective experience.