Sensing data workshop 21 July

As part of Ecologies of Intimacy  this event will focus on practices of data and sensing data. Please join us on 21 July, 1.30 pm – 5pm at the Sussex Humanities Lab, University of Sussex for Sensing Data workshop.

All are invited to participate. To book your place, send an email to m[dot]tyzlik-carver[at]sussex[dot]ac[dot]uk, including information about your practice and/or why this is of interest.

See also information about the first workshop in the series Ecologies of Intimacy: Sensing Place and information about research Ecologies of Intimacy.

This event is supported by Sussex Humanities Lab

About the workshop

Crudely speaking, data sensing is about sensor based relationships with the world. Sensors measure and register air pollution, humidity, water temperature, sound, light, movement and other phenomena occurring in the environment. They allow us the kind of connection with the world which when translated into data informs our understanding of environments we live in or remote places which we want to explore and exploit. The Internet of Things, Smart Cities are some of the examples of such sensor based systems. They provide us with information about the environmental conditions in which we live, but they also construct new relations and worlds which we then move to inhabit.

Yet, as we increasingly monitor our bodies, homes, neighbourhoods, and the whole planet and beyond, how does this sensor and data based world become familiar? How do we make meaning out of our daily activities that are registered through Facebook likes, tweets sent and photos taken and uploaded to our social media accounts? How do we keep hold of our affective traces so they are not just displaced and consumed by the ever growing desire to count all as data? Finally, how to sustain intimacy as a way to know the world and experience our connection with it?

This second event in the series Ecologies of Intimacy will interrogate the ways in which data sensing is experienced in practice. We will consider who, what and how is involved in sensing data and for what ends?  Two projects will be installed and introduced at the Sussex Humanities Lab: Critter Compiler (2015) by Helen Pritchard and Ghost Machine (2012) by Andrew Prior and Magda Tyżlik-Carver.

Workshop Programme

13:3o start with introduction and welcome (Magda Tyżlik-Carver)

13.45 A Prototype of Critter Compiler an algae based artificial life novel writer (a talk by Helen Pritchard)

Critter Compiler is a microbial prototype novel writer and a speculative experiment. The prototype grows marine algae using the heat from the central processing unit (CPU) of a computer created by the execution of a machine learning novel writing algorithm.

Today critter chips and “living sensors” are used in hundreds of applications from environmental remediation to cosmetic testing. These sensors upload and stream trillions of data points to big data repositories for the management and control of environments. In this talk I will discuss the critter compiler as a speculative and revolting figure for imagining a politics of sensing otherwise. In part by trying to get to grips with what is happening in the contemporary entanglements of capitalism, computers and environments in the context of the anthropocene era; and by attempting to reimagine other more poetic forms of entanglements between biotic subjects and computation, such as the Critter Compiler.

14.25 Performing Ghost Factory and other speculations (talk by Magda Tyżlik-Carver)

Ghost Factory creates an environment to experience the divided appeal of technology in popular culture. It arranges people, machines, software, sound and text, in ghostly combinations. It unpacks Ghost Machine, a MaxMSP based application which reads colours from the source material and outputs them as both audiovisual data and individual experience of engaging with digital objects. This affective data body is then submitted into a “YouTube facilitated channel” becoming continous stream of generating data. In this talk I will introduce Ghost Factory as curatorial practice and a research into affective sensing that results from human-nonhuman interactions at the time when what counts most is data.

15.00 break

15.15 installations display

16.15 roundtable discussion

17:00 finish



Helen Pritchard is an artist and researcher. Her interdisciplinary research on Animal Hackers brings together the fields of computational aesthetics, geography and feminist technoscience. Her practice is both one of writing and making and these two modes mutually inform an engagement with computational ecologies. Central to Helen’s work is the consideration of the material and affective structures of computation; and the entanglement of humans, nonhuman animals and environments in ubiquitous computing.  Her practice-based research sometimes emerges as workshops, collaborative events and computational art. Helen is a researcher on the ERC project “Citizen Sense” in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London and a PhD Candidate in Geography at Queen Mary University of London.

Magda Tyżlik-Carver is an independent researcher and curator. Currently as Cultural Engagement Research Fellow with Fabrica/Brighton and University of Sussex she is working on the project Remote Intimacy by investigating Ecologies of Intimacy. Through transdisciplinary research she focuses her investigations on relational arrangements of humans and nonhumans and their biopolitical creations through curating in/as commons, future thinking, affective data and data fictions. Often, working in collaborations, she produces software-based curatorial formats that bring together people, machines, software and data in temporary performative arrangements. Magda’s  curatorial and research projects include playing practice (2009), turning language into objects (2009), common practice (2010, 2013), Ghost Machine (2012), Gaslighting (2013), Ghost Factory (2013, 2015), University of the Village (2012, 2015), Future Thinking for Social Living (2015) and currently Ecologies of Intimacy (2016).


Image featured in the header: Terminal Screen Shot from Critter Compiler, contaminated novel writer, Helen Pritchard 2016.


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