Mashups and Matters of Concern: Generative Approaches to Digital Collections

Author: Mitchell Whitelaw

Abstract: This article discusses two practical experiments in remaking collections. Drifter (2016) and Succession (2014) build on the affordances of machine-readable collections and APIs to harvest large datasets from diverse sources, and show how these sources can be re-deployed to address complex spatiotemporal sites. These projects demonstrate the potential of a mashup-like generative approach based on sampling and recombination. Such approaches generate an expansive range of unforeseeable outcomes, while retaining a highly authored character. Here these projects are analysed through three key constituents: the troublesome trace of data; their extraction of digital samples; and their generative recomposition of samples into emergent outcomes. These techniques remake collections in a way that addresses the intrinsically complex, entangled and heterogeneous nature of what Latour terms ‘matters of concern’.

Citation: Whitelaw, M. (2018). Mashups and Matters of Concern: Generative Approaches to Digital Collections . Open Library of Humanities, 4(1), 26. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/olh.291

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