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


Emilio Distretti, Fabio Cristiano
in Sarram, P., Della Ratta, D., Numerico, T. and Lovink, G. (2022, eds.) The Aesthetics and Politics of the Online Self: A Savage Journey Into The Heart of DigitalCultures. Basingstoke:PalgraveMacmillan, 2022

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 on social media, digital maps, navigation apps, and augmented reality video-games. On the one hand, they serve the Israeli system of control by making Palestinian users and contents hyper-visible to surveillance. On the other, by imposing (self-)censorship and erasure from digital representations, they ultimately purport to delete Palestine from cyber spaces. Acting at the threshold of the (in)visible, algorithms do not only enact control and 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.