** Goodbye world **
For almost six years now, we have worked together to investigate the complex and multifaceted field of data activist imaginaries and practices. We have had a wonderful time bringing together academics, practitioners, hackers and artists from around the world. We have engaged in numerous interviews, focus groups, participant observation of activist events, and we have even developed our own open-source tools to support our research. Together, we have traced the evolution of a global network of data activists and tried to figure out how institutions are reacting to their mobilization. We have explored the various ways in which publics engage with surveillance regimes and how notions of risk articulate strategies to resist it. We have shed light on the workings of the algorithms that power big tech platforms and located how human rights considerations painstakingly make their way into the infrastructure of the internet. With the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also devoted our attention to the politics of counting in the first pandemic in a datafied society, the inherent forms of exclusion and the risks of techno-solutionism.
Throughout these six years, the ‘we’ of DATACTIVE has been neither static nor stable. DATACTIVE has been home to no less than 26 people in its core team, plus the many other research associates, interns, and collaborators who visited for period of time and enriched our work with their expertise and unique contributions.
Although the project is coming to an end, we are well aware that our work is not done. We will take our data-activist approach to research to other venues and groups, and continue asking critical questions wherever we will land.
We were DATACTIVE, a research project and a research collective exploring the politics of big data broadly defined. We are researchers, meaning we exercise both curiosity and scientific rigor in exploring social reality and its manifold web manifestations.
Data activism: The politics of big data according to civil society is a research project based at the Department of Media Studies of the University of Amsterdam. It is funded by a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (StG-2014_639379 DATACTIVE), with Stefania Milan as Principal Investigator.