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Toward an Aesthetics by Algorithms—Palestinian Cyber and Digital Spaces at the Threshold of (In)visibility

Chapter by Fabio Cristiano and Emilio Distretti for the volume The Aesthetics and Politics of the Online Self, edited by Donatella Della Ratta, Geert Lovink, Teresa Numerico, and Peter Sarram for Palgrave Macmillan.

Fabio Cristiano & Emilio Distretti
14 January 2022
Link to book


This chapter explores how algorithms produce aesthetic forms and dystopian configurations across Palestinian cyber and digital spaces. Through surveillance and erasure, algorithms operate as infrastructures of (in)visibility across social media and digital maps. While serving the Israeli system of control by making Palestinian users and contents hyper-visible to surveillance, algorithms ultimately purport to delete Palestine from cyber and digital spaces. Acting at the threshold of the (in)visible, algorithms do not only enact surveillance, but they also inform the creation of an aesthetics of disappearance. In this light, this chapter problematizes the normative assumption equating invisibility—in the form of masking or disconnection—to freedom and emancipation by introducing the concept of aesthetics by algorithms as new canon and form of ordering of the colonial space.

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