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Friday Lecture - Linda Hilfling Ritasdatter: Lessons in Crisis Computing

Join us for this Friday lecture (24.2.2023) with Dr Linda Hilfling Ritasdatter who will explore in her artist lecture the dark sides of automation through the concept of ‘crisis computing’. This event is part of Friday Lectures by Dept. Digital Design and Information Studies and all are welcome.

TIME: Friday 24 February 2023,   at 14:15 - 16:00

VENUE: Aarhus University, Peter Bøgh Auditorium, Finlandsgade 21, 8200 Aarhus N



By engaging with a detested and would-be obsolete programming language, this artist lecture explores the dark sides of automation through the concept of ‘crisis computing’, in which execution, crisis and maintenance are entangled with one another. Through on-site research with companies and engineers in India, the programming language COBOL becomes a case in point for this entanglement, in which the smooth operations of interfaces and global flows are kept from breaking down, i.e., maintained, by workforces that serve as anonymous janitors of the information society. The sites of crisis computing unfold here as a series of ‘lessons’ that includes artistic research in and through COBOL and which ultimately demand nothing less than a reconsideration of our engagement with information architecture design and studies of software. To understand the asymmetries produced through the sites of crisis computing, we need to engage not only with the level of user interaction or even the back-ends of interaction but also the back-back-ends of automated systems.


Linda Hilfling Ritasdatter PhD., is an artist researcher exploring means of control (code, organization, and law) as well as geopolitical aspects of information architectures. Her practice takes the form of interventions reflecting upon or revealing hidden gaps within digital infrastructures — the place where a system fails, and its inadequacies become visible. Linda’s methodology is based on extensive research and field work which e.g., encounters outsourced work and educational forces as well as engaging materials such as programming languages and outmoded technical apparatuses. She is currently an external Senior Lecturer in Design for Change at the Department of Design at Linnaeus University. From September 2022 she holds a three-year international post-doc grant in artistic research from the Swedish Research Council for the project Labour of Automation, anchored at the School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University and currently hosted by the Laboratory for Artistic Research at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.