Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Ken Anderson of Intel's People and Practices Research Lab (PAPR) will be visiting INCITE on Friday this week. There is much talking, reading and eating in planning for the day and I look forward to hearing how it goes as I won't be there for it.

I was recently sent a link to Urban Challenge, a public transport treasure hunt in the city. People race around the city with a sheet of clues and a camera phone and have to take photos as evidence of their results in the correct order. There is about $50,000 for the winners of the many heats scheduled all through the U.S until November. I was disappointed in the lack of any other location based wireless applications but it's a simple system and would still be fun. Given my propensity these days towards public transport, I'd like to see this challenge in action in London.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Steve Kurtz and the Mutability of Things

People are following this story, right?

Science and Technology Studies (STS) and feminist technoscience both offer ways for thinking about the interdependence of people and things, humans and machines. But who is writing about the mutability, the over-readability of things, the susceptibility of objects like a "mobile DNA extraction laboratory for testing food products for possible transgenic contamination" (http://www.indybay.org/news/2004/05/1682370.php) to be read in whatever way best serves the cause of the war against terror? Lots of people, actually, including STS and technoscience scholars. This strikes me as the same old tactic, named by Foucault inter alia, of controlling the epistemological high ground, controlling the means of interpretation. The very possibility. But then, it can be dangerous to assume familiarity with a tactic of power. Maybe this is something new.


Thursday, June 10, 2004

Wireless networks (I've found a new one, in one of my old favourite cafes, way over here in West London) are not in themselves always something to blog about, but they do make me want to blog. But what about? I can't think.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Oh dear, I haven't posted for a while. Anyways, been thinking about London as an artefact of knowledge and knowledge generator recently. Working through my fieldnotes with bloggers I remain intrigued by the way the 'city' and the 'web' figure in their literary culture. In particular, I find the emphasis on witnessing or 'stumbling across' these artefacts, knowing them through having them leave an impression, a rather refreshing and alterntive way of figuring urban knowledge. I think there is something here to work on...
What happens when history begins?

To know the answer: 1. click link above, 2. launch the net art locator, 3. choose "Low-fi selection" in the Selector, 4. browse "broken histories".


Monday, June 07, 2004

We launched our new website last week. Specifically, Zoe Tenger and Mary Ebeling did the 11th hour work.

Thanks to the department and to Geoff Cooper, I got some money to attend a conference at Lancaster University called The Interface: questions of agency in ICT and new media art, co-organised by Adrian Mackenzie (Institute for Cultural Research) and Lucy Suchman (Centre for Science Studies/Sociology).

It was a two-day conference with talks by Karen Barad, Maggie Mort, Adrian Mackenzie, Lucy Suchman, Anne Balsamo, Andrew Quick, and new media artists Thomson and Craighead (who recently spoke at an INCITE event) and Heidi Tikka.

It was a good and usefully diverse event. I was especially interested in the relationship between ICT and new media art, which was left largely un-articulated and un-theorised. The social scientists tended to use new media art instrumentally to derive certain points about their chosen topic. The artists (along with Andrew Quick, from Performance Studies at Lancaster) tended to work outward from descriptions of the work (materially and conceptually) to (more) sociological speculations. There is an interesting question here about the relationship between sociology’s art criticism and art’s sociology. How does each employ the other and what do these uses say about the play of sociology outside of sociology and the play of art outside of art?


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I'm putting together a panel proposal for the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia 2004 conference, Everyday Transformations: The Twenty-First Century Quotidian.

[By the way, everyone's talking about "the everyday" this year. How extraordinary. E.g. this and the latest issue of Cultural Studies, which includes a great piece by Melissa Gregg (see below).]

But which I mention mainly as an excuse to talk about my potential panel-mates and panel proposal co-conspirators, about whom I'm pretty excited. They are: Melissa Gregg, Jane Simon, and Jean Burgess.