Nika Korchok is a fifth-year student in the dual degree program at Tufts and the SMFA. She is a triple major, pursuing degrees in Computer Science and French at Tufts, and a BFA with a focus in drawing and printmaking at the SMFA.
Nika is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States and is bilingual in English and French; she also studies Spanish, Polish, Slovak and Russian. She spent her third year of university in Paris, studying at Université Paris I and III, and L’école Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts.
Her work in an informal reading group at the Harvard Kennedy School—entitled "Algorithmic Transparency" —has informed much of her research practice related to the politics and ethics of software engineering.
Utilizing traditional media and processes -- notably woodcut and observational drawing -- as a point of entry into the structure, power and poetry of algorithms, she is reimagining anatomy in the context of the instructional format of an algorithm.
The median-finding algorithm ended everything for me: a lifetime-spanning, automatic search for a desired form; a repetitive whiplash of scraping and peeling and never finding the correct pattern to yield that for which I was searching with an animalistic hunger.
An algorithm is a series of instructions; that is less Ikea manual and more living, breathing body that it is broken and heaving; you have followed algorithms for your entire life and you have become one without your realizing it.
A woodcut breathes in the same way that an algorithm does: a binary 1 and 0 division of information, a subtraction and addition of tic marks, of holes in the punch card. Information after all, finds its roots in "inform:" the word itself derived from the myth of Jupiter smashing his hammer to render physicality. Inform meant to give form, to break to give substance.
Algorithmic transparency is less about www and more about DNA: always simple instructions boiled down to their most bare-bones skeletal frame. An algorithm has an anatomy that is hidden and composed and ordered and structured and pure so pure so damn pure that when I see one, I want to etch it into my skin and bones and type it into the muscles and registers of the cache.
Da Vinci had it right in trying to collapse the world into the stolen anatomy from a morgue: post-internet post-human pre-post-body, watch me punch through the screen and claw out all the wires inside.