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.
I’m really happy to have a short piece by me and Clara Crivellaro included in the publication “Self-Service”, a collection of contributions responding to . Kirsty Hendry and Ilona Sagar produced the publication which was exhibited alongside their film screening at the Glasgow International Festival.
In “Experiments in collective counting”, Clara and I write about the (ac)counting practices on an estate in South East London and our efforts to intervene in a resolutely singular logic of community and value.
— Data Publics (@datapublics) April 2, 2017
I presented at the Data Publics conference last weekend, at Lancaster University. Got lots of helpful feedback to some early thoughts on publics (thinking with some of my old favourites, Despret, Haraway, Marres, Stengers, etc.).
with data publics?
Very happy to have another publication from the monumental Tenison Road project, this time in the Journal of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW).
We present findings from a five-week deployment of voting technologies in a city neighbourhood. Drawing on Marres’ (2012) work on material participation and Massey’s (2005) conceptualisation of space as dynamic, we designed the deployment such that the technologies (which were situated in residents’ homes, on the street, and available online) would work in concert, cutting across the neighbourhood to make visible, juxtapose and draw together the different ‘small worlds’ within it. We demonstrate how the material infrastructure of the voting devices set in motion particular processes and interpretations of participation, putting data in place in a way that had ramifications for the recognition of heterogeneity. We conclude that redistributing participation means not only opening up access, so that everyone can participate, or even providing a multitude of voting channels, so that people can participate in different ways. Rather, it means making visible multiplicity, challenging notions of similarity, and showing how difference may be productive.
I wanted to write a short note about Noortje Marres’ book . (more…)
Alex S. Taylor, Siân Lindley, Tim Regan, David Sweeney, Vasilis Vlachokyriakos, Lillie Grainger, Jessa Lingel (2015), Data-in-Place: Thinking through the Relations Between Data and Community, CHI 2015.
Here’s the abstract:
We present findings from a year-long engagement with a street and its community. The work explores how the production and use of data is bound up with place, both in terms of physical and social geography. We detail three strands of the project. First, we consider how residents have sought to curate existing data about the street in the form of an archive with physical and digital components. Second, we report endeavours to capture data about the street’s environment, especially of vehicle traffic. Third, we draw on the possibilities afforded by technologies for polling opinion. We reflect on how these engagements have: materialised distinctive relations between the community and their data; surfaced flows and contours of data, and spatial, temporal and social boundaries; and enacted a multiplicity of ‘small worlds’. We consider how such a conceptualisation of data-in-place is relevant to the design of technology.
I recently had an email exchange with Irina Shklovski in which she kindly sent me the paper she presented at the CHI conference this year. It’s a great paper, with some carefully thought through insights into the data we produce and (often inadvertently) share when using smart phones.
Irina Shklovski, Scott D. Mainwaring, Halla Hrund Skúladóttir, and Höskuldur Borgthorsson. 2014. Leakiness and creepiness in app space: perceptions of privacy and mobile app use. In Proceedings of the 32nd annual ACM conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI ’14). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2347 – 2356.
The paper got me thinking about some broader (and long-standing) issues I’ve been working through myself related to the researcher’s agential (and often inadvertent) role in empirical research. What follows are some slightly amended comments I’ve shared with Irina. (more…)