Newcastle APL Talk

Talk­ing to the good peo­ple at New­castle’s School of Archi­tec­ture, Plan­ning & Land­scape (APL), I got the chance yes­ter­day to devel­op and share my slow­ly evolv­ing thoughts on bike jour­neys, bod­ies and fabulations.

Liv­ing Fruit­ful­ly in/with the con­di­tions of (im-) possibilty


In this talk, I want to revis­it a piece I wrote in 2016. The piece, a chap­ter in Dawn Nafus’ book Quan­ti­fied (2016), was intend­ed as a sto­ry of promise, a fab­u­la­tion about London’s bike rental scheme and how it might be used to re-imag­ine new fig­ur­ings of human-machine rela­tions. Think­ing across, askew, or “athwart” (Hus­tak & Myers 2013), my exper­i­ment­ing with the rela­tion­al capac­i­ties of bicy­cles, a city, (bio)sensing and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of data-every­where, aimed to resist the “agen­cies of homog­e­niza­tion” (Scott 1998) to explore the con­di­tions of pos­si­bil­i­ty for oth­er world­ings (Har­away 2016).

Reflect­ing on this work, I’ve felt a dis­sat­is­fac­tion with my efforts to throw togeth­er mix­tures of data at all scales, with the attempts at thick­en­ing and enliven­ing the rela­tions. It all felt too flat, too lack­ing in vital­i­ty. So, at the risk of appear­ing self indul­gent, this talk will present some ear­ly ideas for a dif­fer­ent sto­ry woven in and through the thick­et of rela­tions. Strug­gling to weave myself into London’s lega­cy with slav­ery and the vio­lent era­sures of bod­ies and agency (Hart­man 2008), I’ll be try­ing to place myself at a much more frag­ile and ten­u­ous junc­ture of space-time, but at the same time still seek­ing to work fruit­ful­ly in/with the con­di­tions of (im-)possibility.

Reading Data matter(s)

Wil­son, M. W. (2011). Data matter(s): legit­i­ma­cy, cod­ing, and qual­i­fi­ca­tions-of-life. Envi­ron­ment and Plan­ning D: Soci­ety and Space, 29(5), 857–872.
Real­ly help­ful paper from Matthew Wil­son on the inter­min­glings of data and geog­ra­phy. Although more con­cen­trat­ed on a par­tic­u­lar aspect of com­mu­ni­ty life (name­ly report­ing prob­lems or dam­age to local facil­i­ties etc.), the paper has some strong rel­e­vances for the Teni­son Road project. Espe­cial­ly use­ful are Wilson’s thoughts on mat­ter­ing in rela­tion to fem­i­nist techno­science and of course 

Wil­son cites:
Har­away D J, 1991 Simi­ans, Cyborgs, and Women: The Rein­ven­tion of Nature (Rout­ledge, New York)

Har­away D J, 1997 [email protected]_Millennium. FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouse™: Fem­i­nism and Techno­science (Rout­ledge, New York)

Har­away D J, 1999, “Knowl­edges and the ques­tion of alliances”, in Knowl­edges and the Ques­tion of Alliances: A Con­ver­sa­tion with Nan­cy Hart­sock, Don­na Har­away, and David Har­vey (Kane Hall, Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, Seat­tle, WA)