Environmental Media & More-than-Human Infrastructures: Making Sense of Sensor-environments

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventConferenceSocietal


Micro-technologies of sensing have pervaded almost all areas of life. Sensors enable and sustain so-called smart cities and smart homes, monetizing public and domestic space as data capital. Sensors carried by hundreds of thousands of animals have draped the planet in a vast telemetry network that continuously monitors temperature, pollutants and other variables, deepening our epistemic dependence on non-human modes of perception and labor. Subdermal and bacterial bio-sensors have turned the interior of the body itself into a health-monitoring device. Often operating in the background, ‘anaesthetically,’ and on a micro-scale beyond the realm of human perception, such sensing technologies have become an integral part of emerging, interconnected and more-than-human ‘techno-ecologies of sensation.’

The vast amounts of sensor-generated data and new sensor-based cultural techniques like ‘tracing’, ‘tracking’ and ‘monitoring’ are now often the primary driver of biopolitical strategies and imaginaries surrounding the programmability and manageability of urban, rural and wildlife populations. Of particular interest are also new regimes of power, surveillance and cruelty enabled and aggravated by sensor media: the violent mechanisms of border control enacted through seismic and thermographic heat sensors in ‘smart border walls,’ or various health conditions caused to animals from GPS trackers. All of this can be understood as part of a larger on-going shift: environments become more and more mediated while media become increasingly environmental. Sensor literacy is a matter of urgent societal relevance.

This 2-day living lab organized in collaboration with Waag Futurelab will bring together citizens, artists, scientists and policymakers to collaboratively increase sensor literacy. Functioning as an interactive platform for exchange, experimentation, dialog and learning, the workshop combines scholarly reflection with hands-on, embodied sense-making practices. Using both bodies and sensing technology as a foundation, participants will discuss what sensor data and sensing practices can mean for governance, public health and policy.
Period21 Apr 202322 Apr 2023
Event typeConference
LocationAmsterdam, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational

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