Stefania at ‘DATA POWER: activisms/appropriations/aesthetics’ at UCL

Stefania Milan will participate in the Data Power Workshop, the 15th of May at the University College London.

About the conference:

Data is simultaneously the ultimate solution and the ultimate threat. On the one hand, big data is framed as a means to reach deeper, more real truths about the world and about people. On the other, framing data as an infinite economic and administrative resource undergirds the extractive machinery of control that characterises the state/corporate data industry. Data is captured, harvested and mined for ‘insights’, and these insights are understood not only to give deeper access to reality, but as being imbued with new forms of economic value and political control in their own right. Thus your data knows you better than you know yourself, and this knowledge produces value/power beyond your reach: data power.

Many critical artists, data scholars, and activists are working, in different ways, to better understand and creatively re-work this form of data power. However, so far there has been little space for dialogue between these practitioners. There has been even less space for these approaches to be thought alongside and with data and computer scientists. In this workshop, we are bringing together artists, activists, data scientists, art historians, data visualisation experts, information theorists, sociologists and anthropologists, in order to generate new conversations and new framings for data.

We want to flesh out a trans-disciplinary critical language that does not just re-inscribe the divide between the quantitative and the qualitative. We want to shape new questions that need to be asked about ethics, aesthetics, representation, power, and method. We want to explore data, big and otherwise, as a site for methodological experimentation, social activism, artistic intervention, and critical, creative engagement.

DATA POWER is a collaboration between Centre for Digital Anthropology, University College London and the Centre for Social Data Science, University of Copenhagen