Monday, February 1, 2010

Reading Response 3 | Situated Advocacy | JD Pirtle

There are numerous intriguing ideas presented by Jeremijenko and Bratton in this text. The primary concepts revolve around ubiqiutious computing and emergent political structures, but they are able to superimpose these principles in various areas. They pay a great deal of attention to the value of data, specifically to what value data has: how is it collected? By whom? For what purpose? The framework is basically that ubiquitous computing can lead to direct data consumption that could support direct, local political engagement; replacing a strong, representative central government and bringing issues such as climate change to the site in which the specific problem can be addressed, which causes a type of emergent political structure to begin to form.

They provide some interesting examples of sensing structures in which non-human entities become aggregate political groups, e.g. co2 sensors on trees. Also, the portions of the text in which they discuss the role of the artist as an additional individual engaging science as "model citizen and naive scientist.” This is similar to artists like Vibeke Sorensen working alongside scientists at the San Diego Supercomputer Center in the capacity as peer, as early as the 1970s. They valued the perspective that Sorensen brought to any project she worked on, perspectives that were outside of rigid scientific method and therefore fostered innovation. Jeremijenko and Bratton make the excellent point that perhaps artists are the only beings that could take the vast clouds of data and create an “image” that has some sort of cultural/environmental/emoitional currency beyond merely a sexy data visualization.

I think Jeremijenko’s How Stuff Is Made project provides the provenance of manufactured objects in a way that is very accessible. Rather than the common extremes of showing the cost/benefit of our culture through either consumable media coverage or white paper dissection, How Stuff Is Made democratizes the contemplation of where our stuff comes from.

I thought many times throughout this text about various efforts of artists recently present a non-data based image of environmental impact--for example, many of Burtynsky’s photos.

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