Australia Council – Algo-Misfits – Proposed work

This list of content and links serves to show a direction of research and content.

As part of the proposed work, I will arrange for the misfits to be in different locations around the city. These are mapped out here:

route map-01

In each location, there is a misfit who conducts a discussion/improvised monologue with the visiting audience. Here are some original possible character descriptions:

Ø Algo-hunters – a firm which specialises in searching for algorithms which manipulate data in media, finance, online and in objects, and inevitably make errors. They find victims of these instances of unmanned mistakes and take their legal case on a no win-no fee basis. Although small, they see a growing future in this kind of work.

Ø Informationist – an individual addicted to his own data, and tries to download it from every source possible. Collates and shares as much as possible, from wearable devices which upload his heart beat for automatic analysis against mean data, to self administered data input of statistics around his love life for this OK Cupid profile.

Ø Blocker – someone who is paranoid about privacy – they want to use the internet to do their work and live their daily life, but goes to the ends of the earth to limit how other companies get to use this information. They maintain as much freedom as possible, but considering their paranoia, end up spending time restricting themselves.

Ø Impersonator – runs several identities simultaneously through different data collection and algorithmic systems. They are hired by large companies to try and break how the data is collected, to try and make it as unnoticeable as possible.

Ø Data management service – an individual who will audit your data flows and assist to show where information is coming in and leaving. Can help you install software to block flows, and also recommend habits to limit how your data is collected IRL.

Ø Early adopter – accepts and takes advantages of any recommendation. Considers that the companies which provide service to him are giving free service. Joins up to any monitoring system by outside companies and aims to make the most from recommendations.


This is an example of one of the existing places which audience’s could find themselves visiting:

129Its a messy and seemingly disorganised space, with an eclectic and excitable person at the centre of all the information. The space is an extension of their way of researching, working, and understanding the area in which they are the specialist. The audience is welcomed into this world, embedded in other real institutions, such as the state library, RMIT or a start up office.

Similarly, a space and person like this:

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could give an idea of someone living completely without the internet – somewhat of a recluse by today’s standards. Perhaps some sort of argument about how they decided to leave the digital world could accompany their story and match the decor and organisation of this space.


 

The work reflects on some instances of Algorithms and data capture causing havoc in the real world. Here are some references which could be interspersed with the text in order to give it a sense of reality:

On the Target scandal, and ways other companies use data:

“One Target employee I spoke to provided a hypothetical example. Take a fictional Target shopper named Jenny Ward, who is 23, lives in Atlanta and in March bought cocoa-butter lotion, a purse large enough to double as a diaper bag, zinc and magnesium supplements and a bright blue rug. There’s, say, an 87 percent chance that she’s pregnant and that her delivery date is sometime in late August.”

Link here

On Atlas, the new Facebook tool, to match online and offline spending habits:

“Atlas, you see, is designed to serve ads on sites across the web and across multiple devices, from desktops to smartphones. Even on sites beyond Facebook, the company can match ads to purchases in the real world”

Link here

How people on the forefront of digital activism are finding haven in Berlin:

““It got to the point where my plane would land and they would do what’s called a hard stand, where they dispatch agents to the plane and make everyone show their passport and then I would be escorted to a room where they would question me and oftentimes take all my electronics, my notes, my credit cards, my computer, my camera, all that stuff.” She needed somewhere else to go, somewhere she hoped would be a safe haven. And that somewhere was Berlin.”

Link here


 

Finally, as part of the preparatory research, I have been reading papers which indicate strategies for immersive futures and design fictions. These are part of an ongoing conversation with Dr. Stuart Candy. These are linked below.

Toffler 1965 – The future as a way of life

Candy 2010 – The Futures of Everyday Life

Anderson – The Virtual Republic

Cascio 2006 – Twelve Things Journalists Need To Know

Meadows 1997 – Places to intervene

Inayatullah 2008 – Six Pillars

Nandy – Bearing witness to the future

Ogilvy – Facing the Fold

Curry & Schultz 2009 – Roads less travelled

Dator 2009 – Alt futures at Manoa

Dator – Applied knowledge

Wells_1932_WantedProfessorsofForesight

Dator – What FS is

Slaughter 1998 – Futures Beyond Dystopia

In addition, I am currently investigating experiential futures with undergrad students at RMIT in the vein of the ‘future of sleep’.