George Legrady
Professor of Digital Media, University of California, Santa Barbara

George Legrady Paula Levine Munro Ferguson Willy Le Maitre Steve Dietz Perry Hoberman JoAnn Kuchera-Morin Marten Berkman Sid Fels Ruben Moller Leila Sujir Maria Lantin Jaanis Garancs Henry Daniel Catherine Richards Glen Lowry Henry Tsang M. Simon Levin Alison Reiko Loader Open Ended Group

Agency & Algorithms: Tracing Data Visualizing from Analogue to Digital Projects

Since the early 1990's George Legrady's work has explored various ways of organizing, classifying, visualizing data and interacting with digital information. This presentation will address the relationship of agency and algorithms, tracing the links through various projects beginning with photographic based works realized prior to his digital with emphasis on the recent projects such as "Pockets Full of Memories" inaugurated at the Centre Pompidou, "Making Visible the Invisible" a public arts commission for the Seattle Central Library, Cell Tango exhibited at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, and his recent project "We Are Stardust" in conjunction with NASA.

According to the various studies of narrative such as the literature of Barthes, Deleuze, Goodman, Chatman, Queneau and Genette, etc. the fundamental commonality of narrative definition is as a process of engagement with a subject, or theme, that builds up meaning through some sequence of actions. There is always some form of transition, development or change. Examples include transition in time, or space, or mental state; movement from one culture to another; the shift in perception from one point of view to another. The fundamental challenge of media generated time-based plot development lies in the question of the changing role of agency. Every narrative is presented by a narrator ("agent"), who usually has some interest in telling the story. Seymour Chatman stated some time ago that: "In this age of mechanical and electronic production and reproduction, it would be 'naive' to reject the notion of nonhuman narrative agency", for instance a story constructed through algorithmic processes or as a result of multiple voices constructing together in realtime. My projects can be considered as symptomatic of the transition from the hardwired to the dynamically generated.


George Legrady is Professor of Digital Media in the arts-engineering Media Arts & Technology Doctoral program at UC Santa Barbara. Legrady is one of the first generation of artists in the 1980's to integrate computer processes for exploring conceptual and aesthetic approaches in interactive narrative work. His contribution to the digital media field since the early stages of its formation into a discipline in the early 1990"s has been in intersecting cultural content with data processing as a means of creating new forms of aesthetic representations and socio-cultural narrative experiences. His digital interactive installations have been exhibited internationally.

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