ICS Seminar - 6 April 2023

Dreamful Computation

Presenter: Ned Rossiter (WSU)

Discussant: Charles Barbour (WSU)

Chair: Yinghua Yu (WSU)


Digital media consist of hardware, software, and databases, quietly processing automated algorithms and machine learning in the background, ruling our lives at a distance. Power operations have moved to the invisible, meta-sensual level of the subconscious. As much as it engages a wide literature on dreams and machines, calculation and control, the paper’s theoretical apparatus is derived from current digitalcultural trends and practices, attending to broader material, economic, social, and environmental conditions. This is the material base of our focus on dreaming. Continuing the diagnosis of computational society set out in Bernard Stiegler’s Taking Care of Youth and the Generations (2008/2010), this paper, and the book of which it is a part, is written with Geert Lovink for the many young readers pulverized by the dopamine draining effects of life hitched to computational systems. The paper clears the media-theoretical landscape to make the case for dreams against the machine. Drawing a line across techno-cultural debates, empirical research, and critical theorization in fields that span media philosophy, infrastructural studies, and environmental media, the paper returns politics to aesthetics. The paper’s central argument maintains that the media question is key to the renaissance of dreaming. Decades of austerity, bullshit jobs, exhaustion, social and environmental collapse have taken their toll, especially on youth. With synapses sizzled by social media and data extractionism, dreamful computing emerges as a techno-social condition of possibility, of escape and futurity.

Presenter Bio

Ned Rossiter is Director of Research at the Institute for Culture and Society and Professor of Communication in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University. Rossiter is the author of Organized Networks: Media Theory, Creative Labour, New Institutions (2006), Software, Infrastructure, Labor: A Media Theory of Logistical Nightmares (2016), and (with Geert Lovink) Organization after Social Media (2018). His writings have been translated into Italian, Spanish, German, French, Finnish, Dutch, Chinese, Greek, Latvian, Hungarian, Turkish, and Polish.

Event Details

Date & Time: Thursday, 6 April 2023, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Venue: Female Orphan School, EZ.G.22, Parramatta South Campus