Theory. Culture & Society

Platform Seeing: Image Ensembles and Their Invisualities

by Adrian MacKenzie & Anna Munster (2019)

How can one ‘see’ the operationalization of contemporary visual culture, given the imperceptibility and apparent automation of so many processes and dimensions of visuality? Seeing – as a position from a singular mode of observation – has become problematic since many visual elements, techniques, and forms of observing are highly distributed through data practices of collection, analysis and prediction. Such practices are subtended by visual cultural techniques that are grounded in the development of image collections, image formatting and hardware design. In this article, we analyze recent transformations in forms of prediction and data analytics associated with spectacular performances of computation. We analyze how transformations in the collection and accumulation of images as ensembles by platforms have a qualitative and material effect on the emergent sociotechnicality of platform ‘life’ and ‘perception’. Reconstructing the visual transformations that allow artificial in telligence assemblages to operate allows some sense of their heteronomous materiality and contingency.

artificial in telligence architectures, Bergson, image ensembles, in visuality, platform.

Extra Material:

(Corresponding Author: Anna Marie Munster. Email:


MacKenzie, Adrian / Munster, Anna
Platform Seeing: Image Ensembles and Their Invisualities.
In: Theory, Culture & Society 36,5 (Sep 2019), pp. 3-22.