Profiling and Predictive Cultures

Rosamond, Emily. 2018. 'Profiling and Predictive Cultures'. In: Brookes Fine Art Lecture Series. Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom 6 February 2018. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

According to Bernard Harcourt, we live in an "actuarial age," in which calculating and managing risk comes to be foregrounded as a cultural and computational logic. Prediction - accelerated by algorithm - plays an ever more prominent role in politics, policing, business, finance and culture. Yet rather than foretelling the future, predictive apparatuses often seem to actively inflect it. Describing and assessing risks can make them newly actionable in the present, thereby changing the course of events, and even adding more volatility to situations.

In this world of predictive apparatuses, profiling emerges a dominant logic through which personhood is inscribed with potentiality. Who is a viable credit risk? From whom would you rent a flat on Airbnb? Who counts as a threat to police? Online user identification algorithms (run by corporations, governments and police) attempt to determine who we are, and predetermine our potentials; in doing so, they enact increasingly predictive, pre-emptive and speculative forms of control on subjects.

In an age in which sophisticated data analytics routinely predict individuals' future behaviour, what new forms of pressure are placed on their actions - and how might artists respond to these changing conditions? This talk examines the implications of emerging predictive practices - and some artworks that articulate a new politics of character in response.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


6 February 2018Completed

Event Location:

Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom

Date range:

6 February 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

12 Feb 2018 10:10

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:43


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