Articulating Data

: vocalisation, machine listening, and the (in)security of language in a digital age

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A 2-day single track symposium taking place in Edinburgh on 11th-12th May 2023*, Articulating Data is concerned with interrogating the systems which evidence, process, and profit from our textual and vocal communications in an age of ubiquitous machine learning and AI. 

As well as the technologies and devices that capture and monetise vocal data as it is written, uttered and heard, Articulating Data also aims to explore and visualise the resultant reconfigurations of the self, body, home, and received ideas of social and legal relations that are a necessary result of communication in a digital age. 

From the privacy and security issues of smart devices such as Alexa or Ring doorbells, to the forensic profiling of voice data, machine translation, accent analysis and the monetisation of linguistic data by social media and search platforms, how articulation is enacted, utilised and controlled is a critical political and ethical concern in terms of accessibility, agency and the (in)security of information. 

With keynotes from academia and the critical art world, the symposium will bring together ideas from across disciplines, and provide a platform for early career scholars and artists working in this field. Travel and accommodation will be provided for successful applicants to an open call. Commissions will also be available to a limited number of artists for the exhibition of new or existing work that critiques or engages with these issues.

*The symposium was postponed from February 2023.


Pip Thornton 

Dr. Pip Thornton is a Chancellor’s Fellow in GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh. Her theory and practice explore the politics of existence in online spaces, critiquing and making visible structures of power within the digital economy with creative methods. She gained her PhD in Geopolitics and Cybersecurity from Royal Holloway, University of London in 2019. Her thesis, Language in the Age of Algorithmic Reproduction: A Critique of Linguistic Capitalism, put forward a theoretical, political and creative critique of Google’s search and advertising platforms, and included an artistic intervention into Google’s monetisation of language called {poem}.py. Shown at the Edinburgh Fringe her 2019 piece Newspeak was shortlisted for the 2020 Lumen Prize for Art and Technology and was awarded an honourable mention in the Surveillance Studies Network Biennial Art Competition (2020). Pip’s work has featured in WIRED UK, New Scientist, and at the Open Data Institute in London. 

Andrew Dwyer 

Dr. Andrew Dwyer is a Lecturer in Information Security at Royal Holloway, University of London and is a member of its Interdisciplinary Security Collective. Andrew’s interests span a range of critical research on computational security (cybersecurity). His current research is split across three themes: first is on ‘digital decisions’, considering how machine learning algorithms and people come to recognise and make decisions using a variety of systems; second on cyber operations, researching how states perceive and act in what they term as their ‘strategic environment’, and; third on ‘critical’ approaches to the study of cybersecurity, including developing ethico-political and participatory approaches for people-led initiatives. Beyond Royal Holloway, he is the Lead of the UK Offensive Cyber Working Group that brings together a diverse group of academics from across the UK and beyond to discuss and research offensive cyber.

Murad Khan 

Dr. Murad Khan is Course Leader and Senior Lecturer on the Diploma and Graduate Diploma in Creative Computing at the CCI. His research explores the function and breakdown of predictive models in human cognition and machine learning systems, focusing particularly on contemporary research in cognitive neuroscience (predictive processing), studies of perception and adversarial machine learning to outline a philosophy of noise and uncertainty in the development of predictive systems. He has presented his research at Unsound Festival, Serpentine Galleries, and the Goethe-Institut as well as publishing in eflux and Stages Journal. His collaborative practice with artist and programmer Martin Disley explores states of speculation and incoherence in computational systems through audio signal processing, digital sculpture and machine learning models. Murad also leads the UAL Open Course ‘Computational Futures: AI and Machine Learning.’ 

Martin Disley 

Martin Disley is an artist, researcher and developer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His visual practice centres around an ongoing critical investigation into machine learning. His work has focussed on the machine learning model and the map-territory relation, feedback loops in inference, behavioural conditioning and training and machine learning in states of incoherence. His work seeks to manifest the internal contradictions and logical limitations of artificial intelligence in beguiling images, video and sound. 

Martin was recently selected to participate in arebyte Gallery’s Hotel Generation artist development programme. He was previously artist-in-residence at the National Library of Scotland and has received commissions from The Institute for Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, The Indeterminacy Research Group at the University of Dundee and Extinction Rebellion among others. He has presented/exhibited work at Unsound Festival (Krakow, Poland), the V&A Museum (Dundee, Scotland), The Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow, Scotland), Guterhallen Gallery (Soligen, Germany) and Kunstencentrum Vooruit (Ghent, Belgium). 

He is a co-founder, alongside Murad Khan, of the research studio, Unit Test, which explores the place of investigative methods in counter data-science practices.