“If inequity is woven into the very fabric of society then each twist, coil, and code is a chance for us to weave new patterns, practices, politic. Its vastness will be its undoing, once we accept that we are pattern makers.”
– Critical race scholar Ruha Benjamin, in her MUTEK Forum Keynote

Welcome to HOLO 2.5, the new digital arm of HOLO magazine! We don’t think it’s odd to be celebrating an in-between issue as HOLO is all about interstices: first between disciplines, now between mediums. Please take a look around; for more details on our new online home read the welcome note, linked below.
“Silencing marginalized voices like this is the opposite of the NAUWU [Nothing About Us Without Us] principles which we discussed. And doing this in the context of ‘responsible AI’ adds so much salt to the wounds.”
Dr Timnit Gebru, computer scientist and Google’s star AI ethics researcher, in an internal email criticising the company’s treatment of minority employees that led to her abrupt firing
“We heard a loud sound, a loud bang outside the control room. We started to see the eventual downfall of the observatory.”
– Ángel Vázquez, Arecibo’s chief of telescope operations, on the collapse of the 900-tonne telescope platform that hung above the radio dish. After two broken cables put the platform in “danger of catastrophic failure,” it gave away at 8 am local time, falling 140 meters into the iconic structure below.

“Dedicated to showcasing the best of international contemporary video and digital art” Daata Fair Miami has launched, and runs through Dec 13. Fusing online destination and limited edition distribution hub, the platform strikes a curious balance between an open access online exhibition and red velvet rope gallerist for artists including Petra Cortright & Jeremy Couillard, Rosa Menkman, and Alex McLeod (image: McLeod’s 2018 piece Endless Runner (NPC Cycles)).

“Every human in the supply chain—from crane drivers up to the captain of the ship I was on—was constantly receiving instructions from unseen, distant, management algorithms.”
Tim Maughan, on the invisible networks that control container ships—and the world—in the first entry to his new column aptly titled No One’s Driving

Google AI offshoot DeepMind announces a major breakthrough in solving what biologists call the “protein folding problem”—determining a protein’s 3D shape from its amino-acid sequence. Considered one of the field’s grand challenges due to myriad possible configurations, DeepMind’s AI system AlphaFold has demonstrated it can predict protein structures with high accuracy, vastly outperforming other more laborious, costly techniques. “It’s a game-changer,” says Andrei Lupas, an evolutionary biologist at the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen, Germany. “This will change medicine. It will change research. It will change bioengineering. It will change everything.”

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“He knew as little as I did about how to make the computer draw. But he trusted me, his student. Throughout my academic career, I tried to follow Prof. Knödel’s example—trusting students rather than mistrusting them. Isn’t this what teaching is all about?”
Frieder Nake, on the 1963 assignment that got him into making computer art—writing software for the University of Stuttgart’s brand-new drawing machine, the Zuse Z64 Graphomat [quote edited]
OUT NOW:
The New Normal
Emerging from a 3-year research program initiated by Moscow’s Strelka Institute, editors Benjamin H. Bratton, Nicolay Boyadjiev, Nick Axel, and a host of collaborators consider the impact of planetary-scale computation on urban futures.

A recent paper by amateur astronomer and YouTuber Alberto Caballero identifies a possible source of the Wow! signal, the curious cosmic radio blitz recorded in 1977 that expedited the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and puzzles experts to this day. Looking for “sun-like stars that might host an exoplanet capable of supporting intelligent life” in the signal’s celestial region, Caballero scanned ESA’s 1.3 billion star-strong Gaia database and found a potential match: “This candidate source, which is named 2MASS 19281982-2640123, therefore becomes an ideal target to conduct observations in the search for potentially habitable exoplanets.”

“I believe this is definitely by John.”
David Zwirner, gallerist of American Minimalist John McCracken (1934-2011), on the mysterious monolith discovered in remote southern Utah. McCracken was best known for his plinth-like reflective sculptures that he frequently likened to something that an alien visitor might leave behind on earth.
Algorithmic production has the potential to “free overworked and underpaid artists to pursue the aspects of their art that are most enjoyable, creative, or personally fulfilling.” Beyond the expected skepticism, Matthew Braga considers the nuances of automation, and draws on recent projects by writer Robin Sloan and musician Holly Herndon to illustrate how it might aid and augment beleaguered and spread-too-thin creatives.
“Like all technologies, light reflects larger expressions of power, carving up an architecture of visibility that shapes how lives are led at night, providing shelter for some and harmful exposure for others.”
Lauren Collee, on the politics of public lighting—from the street lanterns of 17th century Paris to the networked lampposts of the smart city
“…as familiarity with coding increases, more people will use that skill to produce music or art. There are people who say ‘I spend all day behind a computer; the last thing I want to do after work is look at a computer again,’ but for me, the computer is not a burden but more like water. I don’t think I’m alone in that regard.”
– Electronic musician Renick Bell, on the burgeoning livecoding and generative art scenes
“For me, personally, there’s no separation between my activities as a citizen and my activities as an artist.”
Keeley Haftner, on her decision to make waste a driving force in her material-focused practice, during “Sustainable Approaches to Making,” a panel organized by Toronto’s InterAccess
OUT NOW:
Hyperemployment
Editors Domenico Quaranta and Janez Janša join a host of contributors in schematizing our current regime of 24/7 work, exploitation, and self-valorization.