‘All these emotions, all these yearnings, all these data’: platform openess, data sharing and visions democracy’, at Center for Cultural Studies, UC Santa Cruz, 5th February 2014
Digital culture has long focussed on the quality of content, which constitutes users and producers decisively different from platform owners who manage data quantity, metadata and behavioural profiling. But what happens when users and communities become interested in all these data, and become reflexive of their own practices? What kinds of knowledges are produced when they produce and share new types of data? This paper observes the emerging mediascape of wearable sensors and mobile technologies through utopian and dystopian narratives, and makes special mention to the Quantified Self culture; that is lay people who engage voluntarily in a range of practices of self-monitoring, data collection and analysis. Moving beyond the Panopticon model and questioning the notion of empowerment, the paper suggests that analysing user practices in specific locations can help us understand how the changing role of data in everyday life is symptomatic of shifts in the relationship between citizens and the state.
* slides to follow
** work leading to this paper has received funding from a) European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under the grant EPINET and b) RCUK Digital Economy NEMODE.