TALK – Matthew Fuller: A Society of the Filter?

21/09/ 2022

Contemporary accounts of computational media often emphasize their role in the formatting of society, culture, and perception in terms of bias and discrimination.  These are important angles to follow, but they also point to a wider condition that could be called the gestation of a society of the filter.

Phenomena as diverse as Instagram filters, facemasks, border controls, cognitive science models of “free energy”, techniques of probability, gender, and neural networks, amongst others, all involve iterative processes of filtering.  Filters may be variably static or dynamic and more or less programmatic. Patterns of interference between filters mean that they may also clash with or amplify each other.

Thermodynamics and information theory, amongst others, provide aspects of their basic equipment, but such a set of interwoven and mutually disturbing and stabilising structures are also fundamentally aesthetic.

This talk will look at some of the deeper and more superficial aspects of the society of the filter.


Matthew Fuller is a cultural theorist who works on art, science, politics and aesthetics.  His books include How to Sleep: The Art, Biology and Culture of Unconsciousness (Bloomsbury 2018), How to Be a Geek: Essays on the Culture of Software (Polity 2017), with Olga Goriunova, Bleak Joys: Aesthetics of Ecology and Impossibility (Minnesota 2019) and with Eyal Weizman, Investigative Aesthetics: Conflicts and Commons in the Politics of Truth (Verso 2021). He is Professor of Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London.


The lecture is a part of the project ‘DIS/ORDERING THE ART WORLD’. The author of the project is Tihomir Topuzovski


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