Web scraping is the process of automatically downloading and manipulating web content. It's a common practice in silicon valley, where companies large and small transform open html pages into commodified datasets. As an alternative, "Scrapism" is the practice of web scraping for artistic, emotional, and critical ends. By combining aspects of data journalism, conceptual art, and hoarding, it offers a methodology to make sense of a world in which everything we do is mediated by internet companies. These companies surveil us, exploit and financialize our experiences, and attempt to vacuum up every trace we leave behind. But in turn they also leave their own traces online, traces which when collected, filtered, and sorted can reveal or even intervene in power relations. In this class participants learned how to scrape massive quantities of material from the web with Python, and then used this source material in projects that probe the politics and poetics of the internet. We covered multiple web scraping techniques, as well as different techniques for manipulating and presenting textual content.
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Sam Lavigne is an artist and educator whose work deals with data, surveillance, cops, natural language processing, and automation. He has exhibited work at Lincoln Center, SFMOMA, Pioneer Works, DIS, Ars Electronica, The New Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and his work has been covered in the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Guardian, Motherboard, Wired, the Atlantic, Forbes, NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, the World Almanac, the Ellen Degeneres Show and elsewhere.
He has taught at ITP/NYU, The New School, and the School for Poetic Computation, and was formerly Magic Grant fellow at the Brown Institute at Columbia University, and Special Projects editor at the New Inquiry Magazine. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Design at UT Austin.
he/him · website · twitter · instagram
Yeli is a Nigerian artist, researcher, and technologist based in Brooklyn. Her work is twofold — she’s interested in the process of interrogating the mundane and fostering disillusionment through writing, data and satire as well as the critical and noncritical applications of making work that has little to no value whatsoever.
she/her · website · twitter · instagram
Ilona is an artist, extrovert, teacher and technologist who sees their work as love notes to themself, the world, and others. They work across mediums using music, poetry, code, drawing, and their jewish practice as tools of expression both publicly and privately. These days they are particularly interested in trans narratives of liberation, judaism as a site of ritual, visibility on and offline, and how we present ourselves and our work to the world.
they/them · instagram
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