Nicolas Malevé

PhD researcher

I have been trained as a visual artist and I am a self-taught free software developer with skills in (php, Python, C++). I have been teaching internationally in art and design schools as well as in technical environments. My trajectory combines an art practice with technical curiosity. Since 1998, I have been a core member of the association Constant for Arts and Media, based in Brussels. In this context, I have closely studied digital culture, organized and participated in numerous debates and events. This is where my interest for research has emerged through collaborations with academic institutions (CRID; Namur) and cultural institutions (eg. Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Fundacio Tápies Barcelona; MUHKA, Antwerp; Museo d’Antioquia, Medellin). These last five years, together with Michael Murtaugh, I have developed my interest for data with a research project called Active Archives (, contributing to exhibitions (documenta12, Kassel; Kiasma, Helsinki), research events (Archive in Motion, University of Oslo; Document, Fiction et Droit, Fine Arts Academy, Brussels), and publications (chapters for books published by MIT Press and Presses Universitaires de Provence, upcoming).

These last five years as a programmer and artist, I have been working with visual archives and exploring new ways to navigate and question them. While doing this, I developed my interest for the techniques that are used to classify, annotate and disseminate large collections of images. As a consequence, my research interests include computational photography, the networked image, digital archiving and the curatorial dimension of algorithms. I am studying the mutation of the archive in a digital context. How increasingly vast visual archives are mobilized by the interplay between semantic descriptions and algorithmic analysis of images. How the evolution of machine learning influences computer vision when these techniques are applied on large collections of images. And in this context, how it affects the relationship between training data and the design of algorithms. I am researching how these elements question the supremacy of the human eye in the visual field. And how the redefinition of the archive implies to take into account a larger amount of agents, human and non-human for the circulation of visual content. More generally, I am interested in software studies, media ecologies, collaborative practices and media archeology.