Özgün Eylül İşcen is a media theorist whose scholarship engages with artistic and philosophical practice. She received her PhD in Computational Media, Arts and Cultures from Duke University in 2020. Her dissertation examines counter-visual artistic practices that intervene in the material conditions and ethico-legal systems underlying the extractive operations of computational media in the context of the Middle East.
İşcen’s work focuses on computational media as an imperial apparatus within the matrix of racial capitalism and unpacks its geopolitical aesthetic to reconfigure the image of historicity and globality today. She has presented her work at a wide range of academic and art institutions, as well as published in a variety of edited volumes, academic journals, and art catalogs. Her research interests include materialist media theory, computational aesthetics, critical race studies, and speculative futurisms.
ICI Project 2020-22
For the current project, İşcen builds upon her research on counter-futuristic practices as a lens to examine the trajectories of artificial intelligence and decolonial thought at the intersection of critical theory and radical futures. With today’s ever-growing economic and ecological crisis, the dominance of technical rationality marks the cybernetic management of an uncertain future. Instead of reducing computational processes to the instrumentalization of the life-world, her project explores how the logico-cognitive models of computation and their performative executions can challenge the exceptionalism of human thinking stemming from colonial and patriarchal epistemologies.
What are the aesthetic forms that are not reducible to the instrumental logic of capital and computation, but generative in the process of decay that we are all unevenly part of? This inquiry turns toward the speculative socio-technical imaginaries from the Middle East that remodel the relationship between computation, materiality, and thought. Such artistic practices reflect the possible entanglements of computational aesthetics, decolonial practices, and urban struggles that are developing intelligence of their own, local universalities that could respond to our current times.