M. Beatrice Fazi: Aesthetics and the Computational Outside


This talk will focus on the possibility of addressing computation aesthetically. Drawing from her recent monograph Contingent Computation (2018)M. Beatrice Fazi will discuss aesthetics as concerning creation, the production of the new, and reality’s potential for self-actualisation. This lecture will demonstrate that aesthetics is a viable, productive mode of addressing computational systems precisely because such generative potential is inherent to the axiomatic, discrete, and formal structures of computing. The argument that this talk proposes thus aims to stress an ontological understanding of aesthetics, reworking the relation between intelligibility and sensibility in computational systems, as well as modes of speculative inquiry into what abstraction and experience are (or can be) in a computational age. This argument will allow us to engage explicitly with this lecture series’ theme of “more-than-human aesthetics”, by also demonstrating that an onto-aesthetic mode of analysis of the computational points to considering computational systems in their specificity, or in what Fazi will describe as computation’s alterity and autonomy.

M. Beatrice Fazi

is a Lecturer in the School of Media, Film and Music, and a faculty member of the Sussex Humanities Lab, both at the University of Sussex (UK). Her primary area of research is the interfacing of philosophical thought and computational technologies. Her work focuses on the ontologies and epistemologies engendered by contemporary technoscience, particularly in relation to issues in artificial intelligence and computing. Her recent monograph, Contingent ComputationAbstraction, Experience, and Indeterminacy in Computational Aestheticshas been published in 2018 by Rowman & Littlefield International.