• Willem Adriaan Odendaal
  • Karla Zavala
4. term, Media Arts Cultures (Master Programme)
There has been growing concern over the role algorithmic systems have come to play in our increasingly digitized lives. For not only are algorithms obscured from public attention, blackboxed behind the software interfaces through which we interact with them, but so too are the ways in which they mediate, moderate, and augment the world hidden from public scrutiny. Consequently, there has been a wide-spread call from civic organisations, academics, and media critics for initiatives that can foster public algorithmic literacy. Such a literacy would allow those who engage with algorithmic systems in their daily lives to become more aware of, critical, and knowledgeable about how, when, and to what ends these automated systems impact their lives. Working with a practice-led research method we responded to this call through developing a critical board game designed to contribute to such a public algorithmic literacy. The board game, Unveiling Interfaces, was designed through codifying game elements and mechanisms with theoretical insights from the field of software studies. Software studies, we argue, can contribute to a public algorithmic literacy through its digital materialist approach, offering an understanding of how algorithms have a material relation to the world through their socio-technical assemblage. Read from a critical theory perspective, software studies moreover, offers a critique of the computational ideology propagated by these blackboxed algorithms, and thus address the underlying social, political, and economic effects these invisible systems have on the world. In conjunction with software studies, this thesis draws on approaches from game design, critical play, critical pedagogy, as well as critical theory throughout an iterative process of design and research as we aim to offer a practical and theoretical response to the call for algorithmic literacy.
Publication date8 Aug 2018
Number of pages111
ID: 284295520