The Digital Divide symposium
Session: Breaking Open the Black Box

The Algorithmic Theater

(video 1 of 2)

As screen-based, networked digital technologies are seemingly a precondition for participation in contemporary everyday life, algorithms have become highly agentic semi-presences that massage our psyches, subjectivities and social systems.

The session, titled ‘Breaking Open the Black Box’, set out to confront the mysterious ways of non-human computational power by opening it up, and discovering the human socius inside of it. The Algorithmic Theatre is a Copenhagen and Trondheim based collective and artistic research project. Operating at the cross-section of stage arts, visual arts, their practices focus on investigations of programming and contemporary digital cultures. Represented by two of its members, Pernille Kragh and Kristian Husted, The Algorithmic Theatre’s presentation takes its point of departure in their latest exhibition Labyss in Copenhagen, which consisted of experiments in creating a memory-learning software, as a critical reflection on the increasing intrusion of digital technologies into the most intimate parts of our bodies and lives. Through a dissection of training material, queries and answers from the software, The Algorithmic Theatre demonstrates and discusses the conscious and unconscious biases at play in the construction of a memory learning software.

This symposium, The Digital Divide, in three parts pushes algorithms into plain sight and considers their production and use as political acts, raising questions about claims to infrastructural neutrality, and highlighting programmed bias and resulting social injustice.


THE DIGITAL DIVIDE symposium was the launching event of the series of programs of the 2-year Creative Europe project ATTENTION AFTER TECHNOLOGY, a cross-border collaboration between Kunsthall Trondheim (@kunsthalltrondheim), Art Hub Copenhagen (@art_hub_copenhagen), Tropical Papers (@tropicalpapers_), State of Concept Athens (@stateofconceptathens) and Swiss Institute (@swissinstitute), funded by the European Union.