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Brussels (November 17 - December 2, 2007)

Jonctions / Verbindingen 10: Tracks in electr(on)ic fields

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Saturday 1/12 | 17:00

From centres of calculation to centres of envelopment: intensive movement in digital signal processing

Adrian Mackenzie
Lecture La Bellone

The paper broadly concerns algorithmic processes commonly found in wireless networks, video and audio compression. The problem it addresses is how to account for the convoluted nature of the digital signal processing (DSP). Why is signal processing so complex? The paper argues that we can only understand what is at stake in these labrynthine calculations by switching focus away from abstract understandings of calculation to the dynamic re-configuration of space and movement
occurring in signal processing. The paper works through one example in detail of this reconfigured movement in order to illustrate how digital signal processing enables different experiences of proximity, intimacy, co-location and distance. It explores how wireless signal processing algorithms fold in or envelope heterogenous spaces in the form of hidden states, and logistical networks. Importantly, it suggests that the ongoing dynamism of signal processing could be understood in terms of intensive movement produced by a centre of envelopment. Centres of envelopment generate extensive changes, but they also change the nature of change itself.