Jessica Feldman

Assistant Professor

  • Department: Communication Media and Culture
  • Office: 
    G-305
  • Office Hours: 
    Wednesdays 15:15–16:45

See Courses >>

Professor Feldman joined the Global Communications faculty at AUP in 2018. Before that, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University, after earning a Ph.D. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University in 2017. Her dissertation considered how advances in the surveillance of cell phone data, decentralized mobile networks, and vocal affective monitoring software are changing the ways in which listening exerts power and frames social and political possibilities. This research was funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation to support interdisciplinary research on privacy and democracy across the social sciences and engineering. She is also an artist whose work has been exhibited and performed internationally. She received an MFA from Bard in 2007 and taught media and sound art at Temple University and The New School from 2009-2012. She often collaborates with designers, and combines theory and practice in her teaching and her research. 

Feldman’s current book project, Radical Protocols: Designing Democratic Digital Tools in Social Movements, is a study of the ways in which democratic values are (or are not) inscribed in the design of emerging networked communication technologies. The book is the result ethnographic fieldwork with democratic social movements, especially the “movements of the squares,” during which she studied these movements’ communications practices and the alternative digital tools that they designed to serve their political values. This is combined with a “values-in-design” analysis of new decentralized communication, consensus, and trust models, such as mesh networks, blockchain, and algorithmic governance applications, which claim to have democratic values. The book asserts the promise that peer-to-peer tools have for democratic practice in a moment when representative democracy is in decay, while pointing out concerns about the ways in which illegitimate power and control could be inscribed into these communication tools at lower layers. 



Education/Degrees

PhD in Media, Culture, and Communication, NYU, 2017
MFA in Intermedia Art, Bard, 2007
MA in Experimental Music, Wesleyan, 2005
BA in Music, Columbia, 2001

Publications

  • Feldman, J. “The street, the square, and the net: how urban activists make and use digital networks,” in Data Justice & the Right to the City ed. Morgan Currie, Callum McGregor, Jeremy Knox (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, forthcoming 2021).
  • Feldman, J. and N. Oxely. "Utiliser les outils digitaux durant la crise sanitaire : stratégies et limites de la vie associative en ligne," [Use of digital tools during the pandemic crisis: strategies and limits for associative life online], Juris Associations (January, 2021).
  • Feldman, J., and N. Waltham-Smith. “Listening in a Time of Pandemic: New Mediations and Intimacies Between Solitude and Solidarity”. Sociologica, vol. 14, no. 2, Sept. 2020, pp. 1-4, doi:10.6092/issn.1971-8853/11522.
  • Feldman, J. “Listening and Falling Silent: Towards Technics of Collectivity”. Sociologica, vol. 14, no. 2, Sept. 2020, pp. 5-12, doi:10.6092/issn.1971-8853/11286.
  • Bernholz, L., J. Feldman, and A. Panezi. “What makes an Open-Source Project ‘Critical’?”, research summary for the Ford Foundation, October 2020.
  •  “Engineering for Deliberative Democracy,” Participo: Research and practice of innovative citizen participation, digest for the OECD Open Government Unit, medium.com, 27 April 2020.
  • Currie, M., Feldman, J., Himmelreich, J., and Niker, F, “Coding Caring: Human Values for A.I.” report to the AI100 project, May 2019.
  • “Strange Speech: Structures of Listening in Nuit Debout, Occupy, and 15M,” International Journal of Communication Volume 11: The Nuit Debout Movement: Communication and the Production of Everynight Life, May 2018.
  • “Trusts and Testaments: Questions of Privacy and Ethical Listening in the Era of Ex-Ante Mass Surveillance,“ in Trust in The Digital Era // La confiance à l’ére numérique ed. Milad Doueihi and Jacopo Domenicucci (Paris: Editions Berger-Levrault & Editions rue d’Ulm, January 2018.)
  • “The Problem of the Adjective: Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice,” Transposition: Music et sciences sociales Issue Six: Listening Lines, Online Listening, 2016.
  • "Schedules," Proceedings of Lines and Nodes: Media, Infrastructure, and Aesthetics Conference, New York University, 2014.
  • “The Trouble with Sounding: Sympathetic Vibrations and Ethical Relations in ‘Soundings: A Contemporary Score’ at the Museum of Modern Art,” Ear/Wave/Event: A Journal of Sensuous Intelligibility Issue One, April 2014.

Conferences & Lectures

(recent, selected)

  • “Channel: Technology and Infrastructure,” Regenerative Feedback: On Listening and Its Emancipatory Potential, Rotterdam, 2019
  • invited talk, Department of Political Science, Trinity College, Dublin, 2019
  • “Strange Speech and Collective Noise: Structures of Listening in Nuit Debout, Occupy, and 15M,” Politics of Listening Symposium, University of NSW, Sydney, 2018
  • “Making Noise Matter: Audibility, Authority, and the Techno-Politics of Listening,” International Communication Association Annual Conference, Prague, 2018
  • “Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice and The Labor of Listening,” presentation at “Productive Sounds in Everyday Spaces: Sounds at work in science, art, and industry, 1920-present,” Max Plank Institute for the History of Science (Epsitemes of Modern Acoustics Research Group), Berlin, 2018
  • “Listening In: Surveillance, Complaint, Audibility, and the Techno-Politics of Reception,” Society for Cinema & Media Studies (SCMS) Annual Conference, Toronto, 2018
  • “The Techno-Cultural History of MIDI,” workshop with Stephan-Elöise Gras and Martin Scherzinger, Digital Civil Society Lab, Stanford University, 2017
  • “Internet Health: A Checkup for Civil Society,” Digital Impact virtual roundtable, 2017.
  • “The Problem of the Adjective:” Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice,” International Communication Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, 2017
  • “Testaments, Truth, Trust, and Totalitarianism: Old questions for new technologies,” invited talk, «Le numérique : une crise de la culture ?» Journée d’Étude de la Chaire Humanum Labex Obvil– Sorbonne Universités [“The Digital: A Crisis of Culture?” Study Day at the Digital Humanities & Literature Lab, Sorbonne Universities], Spring 2017
  • “The Problem of the Adjective:” Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice,” MVR Series on Human-Computer Interaction, Eyebeam @ Babycastles, NYC, Spring 2016
  • “The Problem of the Adjective:” Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice,” Society for the Social Studies of Science, Denver, CO, 2015
  • “The Problem of the Adjective:” Affective Computing of the Speaking Voice,” American Studies Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada, 2015
  • “MIDI: The cultural history and social life of a protocol,” Media Ecology Association Annual Convention, Metropolitan State University, Denver, CO, 2015
  • “SenCell: A Prototype for Democratic and Secure Mobile Communications,” Wind-Farm 0: People-Powered Nearby Networks, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA 2015
  • “The MIDI Effect,” Inertia: A Conference on Sound, Media, and the Digital Humanities, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 2015
  • “The MIDI Effect,” Bone Flute to Auto-Tune: A Conference on Music & Technology in History, Theory and Practice, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 2014
  • “Sound Feeling: Sound, Affect, Emotion, and the Making of the Post-Modern Political Self,” Sound Signatures Winter School, Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2014
  • “speaking skin: finished/in-progress/future projects using electricity,” Artist Talk, dorkbotnyc, ThoughtWorks, New York, NY, 2013
  • “Thinking Through Collapse,” Graduate Student Conference, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University, New York, NY, 2012
  • “The Occupation of Listening,” Intersections: Occupations, York & Ryerson Universities, Toronto, 2012
  • Lead from Somewhere: Art, Artists, and Contemporary Civic Action, moderator and presenter, ICA (Institute for Contemporary Arts), Philadelphia, PA, 2012

Presentations

  • “State Apps & The Digital Citizen,” The Digital State: Technology and Government in Pandemic Times, annual conference of the Centre for Digital Culture at the Art and Humanities Research Institute, King's College, London, 2021
  • “What makes an open source project critical digital infrastructure?” with Argyri Panezi, Digital Infrastructure: Building Our Digital World, Ford Foundation, 2020
  • Radical Protocols: Designing Democratic Digital Tools in Social Movements”, Eindhoven University of Technology, Philosophy & Ethics group, 2020
  • Radical Protocols: Designing Democratic Digital Tools in Social Movements,” Edinburgh Centre for Data, Culture and Society, University of Edinburgh, 2020
  • workshop facilitator, governance of FOSS projects, SustainOSS, Brussels, 2020
  • “Radical protocols and systemic failures: Designing digital tools in social movements,” at the Annual Conference of the Institute for Protest and Movement Research, Weizenbaum Institut for the Networked Society, Berlin, 2019
  • panel moderator, "Theater, Space, and Time," Digital Civil Society Conference, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2019
  • "The Romantic Agon of the MIDI Protocol," with Martin Scherzinger, SIGCIS (Special Interest Group for Computing, Information, and Society), Society for the History of Technology annual conference, Milan, 2019
  • "Inclusion, distribution, decentralization: How democratic social movements design communication technologies, and what they tell us about theory", Democratic theory and practice (Political Theory Specialist Group), Political Science Association of Ireland annual conference, Maynooth, Ireland, 2019
  • co-facilitator, "Coding Caring: Human Values for an Intimate AI," study-workshop, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, U.S.A., 2019
  • presentation of "Hold Up Half the Sky," Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany, 2019
  • invited talk, Department of Political Science, Trinity College, Dublin, 2019
  • "“We are Nature Defending Herself”: Decentering the Human through Collective Listening and Coordinated Silence in Climate Protest," Voice and Environment, ICI Berlin, 2019
  • invited talk, “Radical Protocols: Designing Digital Tools in Social Movements, from Tahrir to Occupy to République,” Center for American Studies and Research, American University of Beirut, 2019

Research Areas

New Media Art, Algorithmic Studies/AI, Democracy Theory, Emerging Media, Social Movement Studies, Science & Technology Studies, Privacy & Surveillance Studies, Sound Studies, Psychoanalysis & Affect Studies, Aesthetics

Awards, Fellowships and Grants

AWARDS and GRANTS (selected, recent)

  • Lauréate, Cité international des arts, Paris, 2020-21
  • Civic Media Lab (American University of Paris) project grant, 2020-22
  • Institut français du Monde associatif, grant « recherche sur le fait associatif » (Co-PI), 2020-22
  • Ford Foundation, Critical Digital Infrastructure Research Grant (Co-Investigator), 2019
  • One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100), Study-Workshop Grant for Coding Caring: Human Values for an Intimate AI (co-PI), 2018-2019
  • AI in Medicine (AIiMe) Stanford Seed Grant, for Coding Caring (co-PI), 2018-2019
  • Dissertation Completion Prize, NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, 2017
  • Global Research Initiative, Dissertation Completion Fellowship, NYU Paris, 2016
  • National Science Foundation, CRISSP-INSPIRE Fellowship (The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Security and Privacy, Information Security and Privacy Interdisciplinary Research and Education), 2014-2017
  • NewHive Digital Artist Commission, NewHive.com, 2016
  • LeBoff Dissertation Research Grant, NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, 2015-2016
  • Doctoral Student Travel Grants, NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, 2011-2015
  • Doctoral Student Travel Grants, NYU Steinhardt School, 2015
  • New York State Council for the Arts, Grants for caesura: a forum
  • Doctoral Fellowship, NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, 2011-2017
  • EAF 12: Emerging Artist Fellowship, Socrates Sculpture Park, New York, NY, 2012
  • UC Humanities Research Institute ResidencyArt Inclusion: Disability, Design, Curation, Irvine, CA, 2012 New York State Council on the Arts Distribution Grant for The Glass Sea, 2011
  • Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Project Development Residency, Governors Island, NY, 2010