There Are No Facts: Book Launch and Panel Discussion

Following the publication of There Are No Facts: Attentive Algorithms, Extractive Data Practices, and the Quantificiation of Everyday Life (MIT Press, 2022), by Mark Shepard, the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo will be hosting a book launch and panel discussion on Wednesday, November 9 with Molly Wright Steenson, Malcolm McCullough and Mark Shepard, moderated by Hadas Steiner. 

There Are No Facts unpacks how attentive algorithms and extractive data practices are shaping space, influencing behavior, and colonizing everyday life. Articulating post-truth territory as an architectural and infrastructural condition, it shows how these spatial architectures of attention and data mining are in turn situated within broader histories of empiricism, objectivity, science, colonialism, and perception.

These entanglements of people and data, code and space, knowledge and power are considered across scales ranging from the trans-locality of the home to the planetary extent of the COVID–19 pandemic, with stops at the corner bodega, a neighborhood for the proverbial 1%, a waterfront district in Toronto, and a national election. The book probes how these socio-technical systems bracket what we know about the world, how they construe our agency to act within it, and how they shape these spaces that, in turn, shape us.

Shepard was awarded a 2022 Graham Foundation grant for the book in recognition of its contribution to diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society.