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Spectacular Grammar: Infrastructure as a Universal Language #13

rlreizman opened this issue Jun 27, 2019 · 0 comments

Spectacular Grammar: Infrastructure as a Universal Language #13

rlreizman opened this issue Jun 27, 2019 · 0 comments


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rlreizman commented Jun 27, 2019


This paper proposes information technology (IT) infrastructure is formulating a universal language. It dips into historic efforts to create a universal language via avant garde filmmaking and Gottfried Leibniz’s characteristica universalis. It then explains how international standardization organizations are developing the globally unified infrastructural language through their regulations. The paper weighs the benefits and consequences of a universal language by looking into who IT infrastructure serves and who is excluded.

As Marshall McLuhan inferred in his 1964 essay, “The Medium is the Message,” technology becomes inseparable from the messages it transmits, adding another layer of meaning to what is communicated; language, in turn, starts to be shaped around the tools that facilitate it. Thus, IT infrastructure is not just a tool to communicate, but is part of language itself.

Type: Talk & Discussion
Length: <30 minutes
Language: English
Additional considerations: N/A

Session Objective

  1. Use the talk as a jumping off point to speculate on what a "universal language" looks like, who benefits & who is left out.
  2. Discuss ways IT infrastructure can be redesigned to prioritize equality for those currently marginalized by networks.
  3. Reframe our understanding of how IT infrastructure is influencing communication styles, and thus agency and empowerment.

Material and Technical Requirements

Projector, microphone.


Name: Renée Reizman
Pronouns: She/Her
Twitter: @reneereizman
GitHub: rlreizman

As organizers we strive for low-cost pathways of participation, are you interested in a community billet program either hosting out-of-towners or staying with locals?

Billet program is good for me! I would be traveling from Los Angeles.

Presenter Bio

Renée Reizman is an interdisciplinary curator, artist and writer at the crossroads of curation, social practice and creative placemaking. By embedding herself in communities, Renée identifies object-oriented networks shaped by cultural aesthetics, urbanization, law, and technology. You can find Renée’s writing in publications like Hyperallergic, Vice, and Chicago Magazine. She is currently Artist in Residence at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

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