Critically Making the Internet of Things, Session IV

Posted on Dec 10, 2011 in Conferences, Workshops & CFPs

Notes taken in real-time and subject to my brain’s filtering mechanisms. My comments in italics.

Social Memory within the ‘Internet of Things’
Chris Speed, Edinburgh College of Art

Real-time is deeply contingent. The space between where we are and where we think we are is open for discussion. For example, Google Maps was only two weeks behind during the Beijing Olympics rather than 12-18 months behind normally; and it is never an agreed upon “now.”

So what happens when you start to place things across this temporally contingent landscape? Ghosts and hauntings can serve as metaphor or example.

“When you scratch or mark-up a surface, be prepared for ghosts and traumas to surface.”

The Orphanage (2007)

Poltergeist (1982)

So. What does this have to do with the IoT?

Tales of Things – but the website is only an archive; tagged objects in second-hand stores allow people to hear the objects’ stories or past lives. “Listen to the pink jumper … It’s good for short-turn love affairs.”

Washington, DC Ghost Bikes – when the original bike was removed by the city, it was replaced with 22 more bikes by citizens. Is the lesson that when you scratch the surface, be prepared for ghosts?

A slip and a rub.

Very nice!

Good audience comment about how tagging objects might actually devalue them by providing too much information. Chris responded that it points to how buying is under stress. Sweet.

Narrative and Agency in PostSecret Postcards
Stephanie Hendrick, HUMlab

PostSecret postcards as physical things re-presented on/in the internet.

Narratives by, and about, victims of domestic violence.

“Until someone abuses me, I can’t love them.” (Image: Tina & Ike Turner.)

“I accepted my childhood molester’s friend request.” (Image: Two happy girls holding hands.)

“Every time a childhood friend of mine posts to Facebook, I have an urge to message them and ask if they had ever had any idea that I was being abused.” (Image: Baby with confused expression but no signs of physical harm.)

Collage as juxtaposition of image and text changes and extends the definition of abuse and violence.

Transformational agency. The postcards transform the person and their experience.

Interesting. But no questioning of whether these secrets are “true” or “simply” public performances of self.