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ctrl+shift HUMAN
Arts, Sciences & Technologies in Coded Societies
25-27 October 2018
Politechnica University Timisoara (UPT), Timisoara, Romania

Code, algorithms and artificial intelligence complement the human condition, can solve problems, accelerate decision-making, and help complete complex tasks through self-learning processes. The framework in which these operate is often defined as a communication system that is universal, transparent, simple and accessible.

However, algorithmic processes are inscribed in our infrastructures. And beyond the purely functional transmission and transformation of the data, they often work invisibly, shaping and influencing social, cultural, economical and political spheres and redefining our individual and common identities.

This year's Beyond the Obvious (BtO) Conference ctrl+shift HUMAN: Arts, Sciences and Technologies in Coded Societies will focus on that paradigm: between the fascination generated by the possibilities this hybrid and augmented condition brings, and the awareness of the new patterns that lead to redefinitions of creativity, disciplines, representation, globalization, production, labor… all within the framework of an increasing code dependence.

BtO will also explore the environmental impacts of media content and data generation, storage and transfer. Algorithmic processes require ever-increasing infrastructures, supported by servers, putting pressure on available natural resources and on the environment where citizens and cultures develop.

Approaching these issues recognizes the strategic importance of a wider outlook, beyond disciplinary silos, including arts, sciences, education and research. This provides enormous possibilities to cross knowledge and sectors. It includes discussions about policy intervention and funding - local, national and European –and about how to foster collaboration between different operators and institutions.

BtO will bring together various experiences and practices from the fields of arts and culture, sciences, technologies, activisms, theory and politics, to explore possible cross-disciplinary answers and diverse actions towards the challenging relations between Technology and Humans. How to keep our humanity in this and find new forms of sense making in a post productive and global society? What are the new models in those relations, and which role does culture, the arts and education play? Are our institutions ready for it, aware of their new role? Which organizations and policies are needed to foster alternative, transsectorial and intercultural competences?


TAGS: AI, Anthropocene, Algorithms, Cultural policies, Data Harvesting, Data Forensics, Decision making processes, Identities, Media Competences, Posthumanism, Research, Science-Fiction, STEAM, STAD.



  • To open discussions about the disconnection of the spheres where ideas circulate online, the segmentation of cultural digital content and the cultural and social effects of the new global content platforms. To come up with a possible agenda a) to ensure European cultural diversity of cultural content (on-line representation of European identities, responsible contents upload...); and b) to overcome network effects, black box algorithms and big data effects on the creation of “new dominant cultures”;

  • To know how AI and algorithms work and its profound changes and challenges for cultures, sciences and technologies, that have to be faced in a cross-disciplinary way.;

  • To rise awareness of the environmental impact of cultural contents and data storage and transfer;

  • To analyze the narratives and the story-telling of AI and algorithmization and its effects on human activities and cultural and social spheres;

  • To foster critical visual and media competences, intercultural competences, and coordinated actions by cultural agents and artists.



  • To debate in an interdisciplinary fashion (STAD + STEAM + Science Fiction) the effects of AI and automated processes in shaping social, economical, cultural and labor practices;

  • To look for successful practices and examples to strengthen the position of cultural practices in a preset of code dependence;

  • To facilitate collaboration among European cultural agents, and beyond, to shape these new realities.


  • Cultural agents from Romania and the region (Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary)

  • European cultural stakeholders

  • Cultural content producers (museums, media, theaters, festivals...)

  • Educational and research institutions

  • Artists

  • Sci-Fi Authors

  • IT developers and interface designers

  • AI researchers and scientists

  • Politicians

  • Foundations


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