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Patricia Reed: Localization in Counterfactual Worlds- Study Group

Updated: Feb 15, 2022

January 29, 9am PST

Study Group with Patricia Reed: Localization in Counterfactual Worlds

Localization in Counterfactual Worlds

Interference, as Turing postulated, is the primary process enabling intelligence, be it human, machinic, or otherwise. Interference is the medium of learning, training an otherwise unorganized substrate (like an infant cortex), into a metastable, organized state called a configuration. These metastable configurations establish the framework for contending with future interferences, developing a particular sensitivity to them. However, what goes by the expression ‘habit of thought,’ reveals the inverse consequence of any given configuration: an insensitivity to interference that may threaten its very organization, at the sacrifice of what could be learned. The process through which a world encodes and trains artifactual and informational encounters with interference, goes by the name ‘localization’, such that worlds can be described as localizing machines: there are no worlds without localization. In this study session we’ll reflect on the necessity of localization, yet for worlds that do not concretely exist in the here and now, for which we give the descriptor “non-adaptive localization”. Speculating on the possible epistemologies belonging to the domain of art, we’ll examine the production of external ‘stuff’ as abductive mediators against patterns of insensitive cognitive habituation – the ultimate meaning of ‘unlearning’.


Patricia Reed:

Alan Turing, “Intelligent Machinery,” in Machine Intelligence 5, eds. B. Melzer & D. Michie, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1969), 3-23. (Paper originally written in 1948)

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Lorenzo Magnani, “Model-Based and Manipulative Abduction in Science” (2004)

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Lewis Gordon, “Shifting the Geography of Reason in an Age of Disciplinary Decadence,” in TRANSMODERNITY: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World,

1(2). Retrieved from

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Diagram by Patricia Reed (below), from the essay "The End of a World and its Pedagogies,: in Making & Breaking, 2021

About Patricia Reed:

Patricia Reed is an artist, writer and designer based in Berlin. Recent writings have been published in Pages Magazine, Glass Bead Journal, The New Normal, Construction Site for Possible Worlds, e-flux Journal, Making & Breaking, Para-Platforms, and e-flux Architecture. She also co-wrote the Xenofeminist Manifesto (2015) as Laboria Cuboniks, which was republished by Verso Books in 2018.

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