If we can’t see the ethical stakes (+ power relations) in digital archives we are going to do violence. Do better. Born of frustration and still very much a work … Continue reading Justice and Digital Archives: A Working Bibliography
I concur with my colleague Jamie Winterton that “cyber” has become overdetermined and if you’re into understanding how that works you should check out her upcoming event with the Center … Continue reading New Connections Workshop
Let’s begin with a definition of terms: Barad’s ideas regarding entanglement and what they mean for how we approach history and memory has been really important to my work on … Continue reading Remediation, Activation, and Entanglement in Performative (Digital) Archives – MLA2017
This is a placeholder post – one that I’m using to remind me of some thinking, writing, and making that I’d like to do in the near future. In a … Continue reading Coming Soon: Size Does Matter
I’ve been working lately with the Vibrant Lives team on performative, haptic approaches to understanding data. This first took the form of our Vibrant Lives performance this fall at ASU’s Fall Forward showcase. Since then, we’ve been playing around with lots of different modalities for engaging with data and we’ve been talking a lot – mostly amongst ourselves, but also with folks who have been attending HSCollab’s “Critical Conversations” lunchtime series.
We are lucky that the gracious folks at DHSI have agreed to host a Vibrant Lives installation during the first week of this summer’s events. We’ve significantly modified our first performance, which took up three rooms and involved an entire flock of dancers and a lot of dust.
Our new installation will have a large crochet piece – a kind of “Net”- made by one of our principles, Jessica Rajko. Here’s Jessica’s most recent installation of the work to give you a sense of how the network has grown during an installation
You can see the full gallery of images and a video of the installation on her website.
The piece will be hanging and there will be haptic devices that will be “playing” the collective data shed in the room. There will also be an evening installation event that will incorporate realtime work and discussion. We will be weaving together bodies, technologies, spaces, and objects into an enactment of vibrant data.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Carolyn Steedman’s work in Dust and the invocation of the rag rug her in work, as well as about ends, endings, traces, and trailing – all of which really seem to harmonize with Jane Bennett’s work on Vibrant Matter and work in the vein of Karen Barad. I find myself wondering about everyday objects and their effects, their “quasi-agential” qualities.
While I do argue that data can have a similarly vibrant life of its own, around here we say that there is no data without people, without bodies. I really enjoy the ways that our work is pushing me to think hard about this. One thing I’ve found is that I’m thinking a lot about what isn’t captured about life in cellular or digital data, about the archival “data” of drawers, dust, etc. There’s a lot that is sent out in swirling waves of digital dust when we connect, but it seems to me that even does not make it into that particular kind of dust, which sends me back to Steedman’s notion of the rug, the drawer, the quotidian.
I’ve also been thinking about the ways that Diana Taylor (The Archive and The Repertoire) and Rebecca Schneider (Performing Remains) talk about the value of performance as a way of understanding memory and memorial outside of the archive or the monument. Here’s Taylor: “there is an advantage to thinking about a repertoire performed through dance, theater, song, ritual, witnessing, healing practices, memory paths, and the many other forms of repeatable behaviors as something that cannot be housed or contained in the archive.”
I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about dead people and their remains, whether in archive, performance, or elsewhere. But the Vibrant Lives performances have been largely about living people and the data that we shed as we move through connected cultures. I’ve also been thinking about my role in our performance.
In our first version, I was in the “scholars room” with Jentery Sayers and Nina Belojevic and part of what we did was talk about how the Vibrant Lives app worked.
It was good, but I want something a bit different, a bit less didactic for our DHSI performance. I also want to do something that reaches out and makes apparent the remarkable networks that sustain me in my work. I would not be able to do what I do were it not for the work already done by feminist scholars, artists, and activists, nor would I be able to sustain my work and myself without groups like FemTechNet.
So, in the spirit of Steedman’s rag rug and other related models, I’d like to ask my “nets” – all of you who make up the networks that sustain this work – to help me weave a bit of an analog network into our vibrating, vibrant web for Vibrant Lives @ DHSI. Send me a bit, a trace, an item, a piece of your everyday and I’ll sit with it and weave it into our net at DHSI. It can be fabric, or not. I don’t have much in the way of restrictions except that you be willing to have it appear and be incorporated into the net and that it fit in an envelope. If you’d like, feel free to send along a few words of context or a thought you’d like to share and I’ll find a way to incorporate that as well. If you’d like us to acknowledge your contributions (which I will happily do), please include a note to that effect. I’m also happy to take silent contributions if that is your preference. You don’t need to know anyone of us well in order to contribute – if you’re seeing these words, that is enough.
Please send your threads, your rags, your bits (before the end of May) to:
Vibrant Lives @ DHSI c/o Jacqueline Wernimont,
Department of English
Arizona State University
P.O. Box 870302
Tempe, AZ 85287
Jamia Wilson, Latoya Peterson, and I had a great conversation earlier this year about an idea: “intersectional data.” We have recently returned to the idea and the time for me to write a bit about it is growing close. As a way of working toward that end, this is an idea gathering post. If you have items to share, please let me know!
From our previous conversations:
Intersectional Data Manifesto
While we affirm the value of theoretical frameworks, we also want to draw attention to the material, affective, economic, and social impacts of reductive data collection and interpretation. This is important, life-saving information.
Examples where non-intersectional data has negatively impacted people include the large gaps in medical testing (cardiac disease and treatment).
- Forensic Science Learning from Sports Medicine
- Disparate impact: disparate impact is a legal theory of liability under several federal civil rights laws, including Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It allows plaintiffs to challenge practices that, while facially neutral, disproportionately impact protected classes.To show why something has a disparate impact, plaintiffs often have to rely on statistics. Without statistics that show why certain groups experience disparate impact based on intersections of multiple identities—trans women, black women, and older women are just a few examples—this theory of legal liability will never be extended to those groups. A disturbing example of how this works is the case Rogers v. American Airlines.
Feminist scholars and activists have long pointed to the critical importance of narrative and we re-affirm that observation.
Key points of an intersectional framework for data
Insists that we cannot separate out the complexities of our identities, nor should we
Existing concepts of multivariate data are insufficient because they don’t articulate the power relations that shape how we live, know, and are known.
Is messy – we aren’t interested in “cleaning our data.” Data that does not reflect the realities of our identities erase those identities. It is also fundamentally inaccurate data, and when its used for any purpose, those effects are exponentially multiplied.
Is sometimes incomplete, but in its messiness is moving toward completeness
Not easy to obtain – some groups will not show up in a standard research sets
Like queer/feminist code, may not always execute, but is still meaningful. In fact, if our data can’t be “crunched” with current methods, then perhaps we need new ones.
Data is supposed to give insight – there is no reason to limit our insights because we are uncomfortable with asking for more clarity
Is not only about about individual data sets. Intersectional data also applies to the collection of data, preservation, use, and re-use, and the ethics deployed in these processes
Bowleg, L.. “When Black + Lesbian + Woman ≠ Black Lesbian Woman: The Methodological Challenges of Qualitative and Quantitative Intersectionality Research.” Sex Roles 59 (2008): 312-325.http://ird.crge.umd.edu/entry_display.php?id=194
Crenshaw, Kimberlé. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color”. Stanford Law Review 43.6 (1991): 1241–1299
Puar, Jasbir. “‘I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess’ Intersectionality, Assemblage, and Affective Politics” http://eipcp.net/transversal/0811/puar/en
Geek Feminism on “Intersectionality” http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Intersectionality
On Algorithmic Culture
Galloway, Alexander. Gaming: Essays in Algorithmic Culture (2006)
Paul Dourish on Algorithmic Culture…http://arithmus.eu/?p=238
Strehovec, Janez “E-Literary Text and New Media Paratexts”
McNeill, Joanne. “Facebook and Algorithmic Culture”
Algorithmic Cultures conference
Talt, Julian. “Living in the Age of Algorithmic Cultures”
New Atlantis piece
Are abstraction and intersectionality mutually incompatible?
All data is situated, just as all knowledge is situated.
Neutrality is a myth all the way down.
Where are good models of complex systems? (Bio, ecology, but also the rendering of multimedia…)
I’m currently somewhere 35,000 feet in the air, roughly over Kansas, making my way back home from the International Workshop on Misogyny and the Internet, aka #iwomi. When working to address violence against feminists, the very act of meeting can be both radical and dangerous. While an event in an elite setting in the U.S. is probably less at risk than meetings of feminists elsewhere, there’s a lot to be said for creating safe and brave spaces. To that end, we met under Chatham House rule, in which “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.” Concerned about issues of intellectual appropriation, we also operated under a consent request policy that required that we ask first before communicating outward about ideas articulated by another participant. We also put down our devices for much of the meeting in order to fully engage with one another.
Consequently, there is little real time information that came out of the meeting and I will be intentionally vague in my reporting out here where it concerns other people – mostly I’ll speak just about what I did while there as a way to render myself accountable and to respect the Chatham rule.
I’m not comfortable with the repetition of ‘I’ in this following list, so I’ll say it just once here.
learned that the gulf between what diversity looks like in academic meetings and in intersectional feminist spaces is enormous
- came to understand that the challenges our various initiatives face are not the same (not everyone needs more money/time in the way that many academics feel we do)
- saw that there is an AMAZING amount of work already being done to address violence against women/girls/people online
- saw that the work of not making discussions U.S.-centric is hard but necessary
- collaborated on a manifesto regarding “intersectional data”
- heard that if we could just train 100 women across the world to train other women about digital security and identity we would have a huge impact
- heard that women can (should?) do more to engage with industry, politics, governance on these topics
- dispaired that we have to keep explaining to others that digital life *is* real life
- learned about affordances and barriers to coalition work
- witnessed and appreciated some very intentional feminist engagements by men, which I see very little of in academic settings
- witnessed, appreciated, and participated in a lot of very intentional feminist engagements involving women and non-binary and gender queer folks
- engaged and worked hard on active listening and was not perfect
- experienced optimism, pessimism, curiosity, sorrow, humility, laughter, and joy
- was comfortably uncomfortable at times
- learned that an effective moderator is an invaluable asset
- learned that a stack or progressive stack is a really great meeting tool
As our collective work becomes public, I’ll share more of it here and across social media.