"Deep Search" Symposium

The digital future of finding out
World-Information Institute Symposium
Sat. 08.11.2008          
11:00 - 20:00
Austria Trend Hotel Savoyen Vienna
In cooperation with IRFS
Organized by Felix Stalder and Konrad Becker

With the explosion of information in all shades and languages, issues of
orientation and navigation in the oceans of knowledge pose themselves with
renewed urgency. Information is useless if it cannot be found and it is not
a co-incidence that a search engine like Google, turned into one of the
most significant companies of the new century. There is an intense debate
in science and industry on the implications of these global trends, but
there is also a growing awareness as to the socio-cultural implications of
"search" and the information retrieval of the future.

"Deep Search" wants to look at the social and political dimensions of how
we navigate the deep seas of knowledge. We want to examine the pursuit of
categorizing that data and what it means to relate to the world through
digital search technologies. Futuristic applications and computational
complexity aside, cognitive technologies deliberately designed to yield
results in a limited frame of reference, imbed political philosophy in
seemingly neutral code. In the daily reality of information overflow it is
crucial to acknowledge both the arbitrariness and willful designation, and
that hierarchies are not miraculously produced by nature itself. Innocent
utilities that blend into the routine of everyday work and leisure subtly
bend our perception, and weave threads into the fabric of cognitive

How is computer readable significance produced, how is meaning involved in
machine communication? Where is the emancipatory potential of these having
access to such vast amounts of information? And where lie the dangers of
having to rely on search engines to make use if that information? These
questions of culture, context und classification in information systems
should not be ignored since what is at stake is nothing less than how we,
as individuals and institutions, come to find out about the world. "Deep
Search" addresses the social and cultural dimension as well as the
information politics and societal implications of search.