Society of the Query Conference

Critically discussing the search engine

13 Nov 2009
14 Nov 2009

The need to create order and find meaning in the gigantic quantity of online data has turned the search engine into our most significant point of reference. In this query driven society, The Society of the Query conference seeks to analyze what impact our reliance on resources to manage knowledge on the Internet has on our culture.


Society of the Query -

For two days, the conference aims to zoom in on some of the essential themes surrounding Web search, by critically analyzing and contextualizing developments in interface design and the organization of knowledge. The Institute of Network Cultures (INC) seeks to achieve this specifically by uniting researchers, theorists, activists, artists and professionals working in this area, and by creating a platform for not only realized projects and recent research, but also for open questions and speculation.

The conference program consists of five sessions. On the first day, the Society of the Query session will focus on ‘searching’ on the software level and will discuss knowledge organization within the theoretical framework of the humanities and computer science. The Digital Civil Rights and Media Literacy session addresses the intermediary function of search engines and the commercial use and storage of personal data with reference to digital civil rights such as the right to privacy and freedom of expression. The first Alternative Search session responds to a growing interest in alternative methods to search the Web, on the level of the user, the software and the network.

On the second day, the Art and the Engine session discusses the influence of Google’s omnipresence over the production and distribution of Web-based art, and highlights new and progressive developments in interface design that may stimulate the user to search, find and analyze data. Googlization of Everyday Life addresses the hegemony of the larger search engines and the impact of the current division of power on the flow of information, the diversity and accessibility of Web content and the administration of informational sources. Finally, the second Alternative Search session will critically address semantic search developments and their implementation by W3C and European cultural heritage project Europeana.

With a concluding evening program, the INC will do justice to the diversity of artistic and activist projects that examine the role of the search engine in contemporary society. Throughout the event, a display of computers with the latest generation of search engines will allow visitors to gain hands-on experience with the range of search methods discussed in the conference sessions.

Conference speakers include Matthew Fuller (UK), David Gugerli (CH), Siva Vaidhyanathan (US), Florian Cramer (NL), Lev Manovich (US), Christophe Bruno (FR), Joris van Hoboken (NL) and Teresa Numerico (IT).

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Speakers list:

Date: November 13-14 2009
Location: Trouw Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Organized by: Institute of Network Cultures