• From Singularity to Polysingularity: An Evolutionary Approach

    Tamsin van Essen

    Digital technology affects us on many different levels. The implicit and explicit choices that developers make find their expression in interfaces and algorithms that we use in our daily lives. Those choices have a certain pragmatic and ideological basis, which is best captured with the concept of Singularity.

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  • Textexture: The Non-Linear Reading Machine

    When we read a text, we normally follow it in quite a linear fashion: from left to right, from top to bottom. Even when we skim articles quickly online, the trajectory is still the same. However, this is not the most efficient method of reading: in the age of hypertext we tend to create our own narratives using the bits and pieces from different sources. This is an easy task with short Tweets or Facebook posts, but it becomes much more difficult when we’re dealing with newspaper articles, books, scientific papers. The amount of information we’re exposed to increases from day to day, so there’s a challenge of finding the new tools, which would enable us to deal with this overload.

    As a response to this challenge we at Nodus Labs developed a new free online software tool Textexture.Com, which visualizes any text as a network and enables the user to use this interactive visualization to read through the text in a non-linear fashion. Using the network one can see the most relevant topics inside the text organized as distinctively colored clusters of nodes, their relationship to one another, and the most influential words inside the text, responsible for topic shifts. This way the user can navigate right into the topic of the text that is the most relevant to them and use the bigger (more influential) nodes to shift into another subject.

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  • On Profanation of Interfaces and Technological Embodiment

    Interfaces are all-pervading and their ability to enhance our communication and lives creates an almost religious devotion to technology. The ability to grant an instant gratification and expand our mind puts technology on the same level as drugs: highly addictive, could be dangerous in high dosage, very helpful and sometimes mind-blowing when consumed moderately. My proposition, drawing upon the ideas of Agamben, Foucault, and Kurzwell, is to de-sacralise what we’ve learned so far from the interfaces and to make it profane. Let’s embody the interfaces and bring the magic into the everyday life to allow the free reign of polysingularity.

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