Since its beginnings in the late 19th century the comics industry has expanded symbiotically alongside the development of printing, distribution, and communication technologies. As a highly digitized medium with active online communities, comics lend themselves to the programmatic processes that define machine learning and today, synthetic processes are reshaping how we produce, consume, archive and understand all media, including comics. Contemporary comics are computational objects whose operational intensity is considerably shaped by the comics industry’s mutating infrastructure and the crossings and multiplications of information flows. The talk will focus on two recently published works, the book Fastwalkers (Onassis Publications) and the twitterbot, The Neural Yorker. It will explore the expansion of conceptual and “uncreative” practices, the uses and the ethics of synthetic media and generative algorithms in the medium, and the emergence of otherly subjectivities in the production of comics works.
Ilan Manouach is a conceptual comics artist, a book publisher and a strategy consultant for Onassis Publications. He is currently doing a PhD at Aalto University on comics epistemology exploring the effects of frontier technologies, synthetic media, fintech and globalized logistics on the comics industry. He is mostly known for Shapereader, a system for tactile storytelling initially designed for people with visual disabilities. Ilan Manouach is also the creator of The Neural Yorker, a cartoon generator on Twitter.