• Inside the postdigital crowds: The aesthetics and politics of the mediation and governing of digitised crowds

Ådahl, Anna, 2022, Thesis, Inside the postdigital crowds: The aesthetics and politics of the mediation and governing of digitised crowds PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This practice-led research analyses and explores, through different artistic mediums and processes, the aesthetics and politics of the mediation and governance of crowds in a postdigital era. Through material and physical articulations it addresses the urgency of a phenomenon where the employment of computational tools and mechanisms representing and governing today´s crowds and collective behaviour are becoming increasingly opaque while facing political and ethical dilemmas. The outcomes of this research proposes a new embodied understanding of the agency of the postdigital crowds.

The specific inside approach inherent to the present postdigital condition, is articulated throughout the research and embodied within the practice. Using a ‘post-individualistic’ perspective enables this research to think beyond today’s intensified individualism and deploy a collective understanding of these crowds while shedding light on their fragmented and atomised online and physical existence.

The key terms and notions of ‘default’ and ‘flow’ are central in the methodological investigative nature of the research. They act as guiding clues exploring the links between the digital operations of crowds and contemporary economic currents and political strategies while establishing a direct correlation between written theory and the embodied and spatial articulations of the practice. A methodological approach which helps to identify the corporal ramifications and instrumental role the employment of these key terms and the digital tools have on the crowd and collective behaviour.

The postidigital crowds are analysed through their digital representations, media and technologies, such as crowd simulations for film and computer games (the latter in partnership with the gaming company Ubisoft), as well as multi-target tracking systems.

Through embodied experiences, this practice-based research uses multiple mediums in the form of spatial narratives, such as sculptural installations, collages and performance where the organic human body is used as reference and tool of investigation. This unravelling uses a process of re-mediation to physically understand the postdigital conditions in which the crowd operates with the aim to materialise the immaterial from a critical standpoint while making visible the dissimulated articulations and strategies enabled by computational technologies. The data generated from these various methods of approach are synthesised in a series of essay films forming the core of this research. These films propose an associative and critical analysis of how digital governance of the crowds are modelling the politics of future collective behaviour.

In a postdigital era with a 24/7 online life and working body, framed within an accelerated economy affecting our collective behaviour and production modes, this practice-led research attempts to contribute an experienced understanding of the aesthetics and politics of the digital governing and modellations of crowds. By using various artistic media and methods this research establishes a multi-faceted and embodied analysis articulated in various spatial and visual outcomes on the conditions and agency of the postdigital crowd subject.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Funders: AHRC
Uncontrolled Keywords: Crowds; Postdigital; Body; Default; Flow; Practice based
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2022 18:32
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2022 18:32
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5081
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