CHAIRED BY: Piero Scaruffi
Heather Barnett (University of the Arts London) on "Many-headed: Co-creating with the Collective"
Clare Stanton (Harvard Law School) on "Linkrot and Content Drift: The Irreversible Decay of Internet Content"
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Heather Barnett is an artist, researcher and educator working with living systems. Recent work centres around nonhuman intelligence, collective behaviour and systems for co-enquiry and knowledge distribution, including The Physarum Experiments, an ongoing enquiry with an intelligent slime mould, interventions with an ant colony in Almeria, and Animal Collectives collaborative research with the SHOAL Group at Swansea University where she is an Honorary Research Fellow. Heather is Pathway Leader on the MA Art and Science and Convenor of the Art & Living Systems Lab at Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts London), a Visiting Associate Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, and founding member of The Slime Mould Collective (http://slimoco.ning.com/). She works with natural phenomena and emergent systems. Employing live organisms, imaging technologies and playful pedagogies, her work explores how we observe, influence and understand multi-species ecosystems. Combining disciplinary methods from art and science, participatory art and practical philosophy, Barnett will share recent work made in `collaboration' with a range of organisms including slime moulds, ants and humans. Her work aims to tease and test our definitions of agency, intelligence and collective behaviour.
Clare Stanton (Harvard Law School) is... Hyperlinks are a powerful tool for journalists and their readers. Diving deep into the context of an article is just a click away. But hyperlinks are a double-edged sword; for all of the internet's boundlessness, what's found on the web can also be modified, moved, or entirely disappeared. This often-irreversible decay of web content is commonly known as linkrot. It comes with a similar problem of content drift, or the often-unannounced changes--retractions, additions, replacement--to the content at a particular URL. Stanton and collaborators at Harvard Law School undertook a project to gain insight into the extent and characteristics of journalistic linkrot and content drift. We examined hyperlinks in New York Times articles starting with the launch of the Times website in 1996 up through mid-2019, developed on the basis of a dataset provided to us by the Times. We focus on the Times not because it is an influential publication whose archives are often used to help form a historical record. Rather, the substantial linkrot and content drift we find here across the New York Times corpus accurately reflects the inherent difficulties of long-term linking to pieces of a volatile web. Results show a near linear increase of linkrot over time, with interesting patterns emerging within certain sections of the paper or across top level domains. Over half of articles containing at least one URL also contained a dead link. Additionally, of the ostensibly "healthy" links existing in articles, a hand review revealed additional erosion to citations via content drift. Read the report here.
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