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The Critical Software Thing is a collective of artists/practitioners/researchers interested in thinking 'things' (and not only ‘objects’) from the perspective of Software Studies. Our group formed during Transmediale events held in Hong Kong in 2014, and Berlin in 2015, where we began a series of discussions set around the notion of “execution,” that is, as a question of what exactly execution is and where something such as a computer program might be understood to execute. We meet regularly, both online and offline, have a reading group, discuss works in progress, and organise workshops and symposia related to our interests in the intersections of computation and culture. In 2015, we hosted an event (*.exe ver0.1) in Aarhus, followed by an event (*.exe ver0.2) held in Malmö (2016) and a panel at Transmediale in 2017. We have recently published the collection Executing Practices as part of the Data Browser book series, gathering artistic and critical contributions that explore execution through a range of practices and perspectives.

For more details on members and their contributions please see

These are the events that are in our roadmap:

  • Workshop in Click Festival, Denmark on 16 May 2015
  • *.exe (ver0.1): PhD Masterclass, open workshops and open seminars in Aarhus University, Denmark on 3-4 Dec 2015. Organized by Critical Software Thing / Aarhus Team: Winnie, Audrey, Lea, Thomas and Fran
  • *.exe (ver0.2): Open workshops and open seminars in Malmö University, Sweden on Apr 2016
  • *.exe (ver0.3): Executing Practices: A series of book launch activities, as part of Transmediale 2017, on Feb, 2017
  • 8 sessions of Reading group on the topic Machine Learning, led by Eric Snodgrass and Helen Pritchard during Mar-Jun, 2019

Members of Critical Software Thing

Name Affiliation Based Abstract idea
Audrey Samson City University of Hong Kong Montreal, Québec The execution in transmission
Eric Snodgrass Malmö University, Sweden Sweden the site of execution
Helen Pritchard Goldsmiths, University of London/ Queen Mary, University of London, UK UK Toxic Execution
Fran Gallardo Queen Mary, University of London, UK London, UK The Tongue as a radical site for execution
Lea Muldtofte Olsen Aarhus University, DK Denmark execution as enunciation
Linda Hilfling Malmö University, Sweden Berlin, Germany executed critique
Magda Tyzlik-Carver Aarhus University, Denmark UK Executing their role: participation as algorithmically defined requirement or the human contagion
Thomas Bjørnsten Aarhus University, Denmark Aarhus, Denmark 1980s datasette game-execution
Winnie Soon Aarhus University, Denmark HK/DK Draft: Live Execution: The temporality of buffering in distributed networks, Draft 2: At the time of execution:throbber.start()

Critical Software Thing also collaborates and works with other researchers and practitioners:

Name Affiliation Based
Christian Ulrik Andersen Aarhus University, DK Aarhus, Denmark
Geoff Cox Aarhus University, DK Aarhus, Denmark
James Charlton Transart Institute and Plymouth University Auckland, New Zealand
Gottfried Haider Institute of Network Cultures Netherlands
Søren Pold Aarhus University Aarhus, Denmark
Cornelia Sollfrank artwarez Berlin, Germany
David Gauthier Universiteit van Amsterdam Netherlands
Brian House Brown University USA
Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard Aarhus University Denmark
Kyle McDonald Brooklyn, NY US
Molly Schwartz Malmö University Sweden

Meeting Agenda (record)

see all the past records here

Suggested Reading

  • Harold Abelson and Gerald Jay Sussman with Julie Sussman, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (2nd ed.) here “The pc register determines the sequencing of instructions as the machine runs. This sequencing is implemented by the internal procedure execute. In the simulation model, each machine instruction is a data structure that includes a procedure of no arguments, called the instruction execution procedure, such that calling this procedure simulates executing the instruction. As the simulation runs, pc points to the place in the instruction sequence beginning with the next instruction to be executed. Execute gets that instruction, executes it by calling the instruction execution procedure, and repeats this cycle until there are no more instructions to execute (i.e., until pc points to the end of the instruction sequence).” (section 5.21 - The Machine Model)
  • Barad, K. 2003. "Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter"
  • Bechtel, W. 1985. "Attributing Responsibility to Computer Systems." Metaphilosophy 16.4 (1985): 296-306.
  • Blas, Z. and Cardenas, M. 2013. “Imaginary computational systems: queer technologies and transreal aesthetics”
  • Bolter, J D. 1984. Turing's Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. ]//the book mentions fetch and execute that i found extremely interesting. it explains the operation of computational execution. I am also thinking turning back to Turing machine, might help to understand more on machine operation.
  • Braidotti, R. 2013. Chapter: “The Inhuman: Life beyond Death”, in The Posthuman
  • Chun, W. 2008. “The Enduring Ephemeral, or the Future Is a Memory”
  • Chun, W. 2011. “On Sorcery and Source Codes” & “Invisibly Visible, Visibly, Invisible" chapters in Programmed Visions. MIT Press.
  • Dufrenne, M. 1973. The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience.
  • Esposito, Elena. 2014. Virtual Contingency – Digital Techniques of Remembering and Forgetting. video
  • Wikipedia, “Execution (computing)”
  • Hayles, K. Cognition Everywhere: The Rise of the Cognitive Nonconscious and the Costs of Consciousness, Volume 45, Number 2, Spring 2014.
  • Johnson, D. G., and Miller. K. 2008. "Un-Making Artificial Moral Agents." Ethics and Information Technology 10.2-3 (2008): 123-33.
  • Kirschenbaum, M. 2007. Mechanisms. MIT Press.
  • Kitchin and Dodge. 2011. Executive Code. < Kitchin, Rob and Dodge, Martin. CODE/SPACE: Software and Everyday life (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011).> //the book is about spatiality in relation to code and they use the term executive code.
  • Kafka, Franz. 1914. In the Penal Colony.
  • Laughlin, R. B., et al. 2000. The Middle Way
  • Lin, P., Bekey, G. and Abney, K. 2009. "Robots in War: Issues of Risk and Ethics." Ethics and Robotics. Eds. Capurro, R. and M. Nagenborg. Heidelberg: AKA Verlag.
  • Mackenzie, A. ”Opening code: Expression and execution in software”, in: Cutting Code (Peter Lang International Academic Publishers, 2006), p. 21-42.
  • Marino, M. Field Report for Critical Code Studies 2014 by Mark Marino //think is more an overall of the development of the field critical code studies.
  • McPherson, T. 2008. “U.S. Operating Systems at Mid-Century, The Intertwining of Race and UNIX” in: Race After the Internet
  • Nakamura, L. 2008. Introduction + “Avatars and the Visual Culture of Reproduction on the Web”, in: Digitizing Race: Visual Cultures of the Internet
  • Nakamura, L. 2011 “Indigenous Circuits: Navajo Women and the Racialization of Early Electronics Manufacture”
  • Parisi L. (2013) Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space, MIT Press.
  • Parisi, L. In Fun with Software: Do Algorithms Have Fun? On Completion, Indeterminacy and Autonomy in Computation Luciana Parisi and M. Beatrice Fazi pp.109 - xxx here
  • Schuppli, S. 2014. Deadly Algorithms: Can Legal Codes hold Software accountable for Code that Kills? Deadly Algorithms: Can Legal Codes hold Software accountable for Code that Kills?
  • Schuppli, S. 2016. "Should Videos of Trees have Standing? An Inquiry into the Legal Rites of Unnatural Objects at the ICTY." A Cultural History of Law in the Modern Age. Eds. Celermajer, Danielle and Richard Sherwin. London: Bloomsbury: 1-35.
  • Stengers, I. Ecosophical activism - between micropolitics and mesopolitics
  • Stengers, I. History through the Middle: Between Macro and Mesopolitics
  • Teubner, G. 2006. "Rights of Non-Humans? Electronic Agents and Animals as New Actors in Politics and Law." Journal of Law & Society 33.4 (2006): 497–521.
  • Turing, A. (1936) "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem" (
  • Wein, L. E. 1992. "The Responsibility of Intelligent Artifacts: Toward an Automation Jurisprudence." Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 6 (1992): 51.