On street trials as experiments in interpretation

As a part of the conclusion of ITU’s Alien Energy research project, Associate Professor Noortje Marres will be our speaker at this semesters second publicETHOS.

Noortje Marres is a well-recognised researcher and teacher within the field of science and technology studies. Her research profile reads: digital methods, controversy analysis, issue mapping, actor-network theory, living experiments and technologies of participation. Marres has published books on both Digital Sociology and Material Participation.

Here is an outline of the lecture given by Marres:

“This lecture will investigate the “street trial” as a device for experimental inquiry into energy worlds. Drawing on previous work on living experiments as multifarious instruments (Murthy 2006; Roberts, 2006; Marres, 2012), I adopt a deliberately broad understanding of what counts as an experiment, and in that spirit discuss a range of different street trials involving so-called intelligent or computationally enhanced cars: a street test of a modified VW diesel car that exposed the workings of the “defeat device” installed on its engine control board; the demonstration of a driverless pod on a public square in a middle-sized UK town; an artistic experiment in the streets of New York involving a modified, remote-controlled miniature jeep. I am interested in the extend to which the publicity genre of the “street trial” is and can be deployed to reconfigure relations between innovation and the public, and whether and how this format is reconfigure-able to serve the ends of critical and creative intervention.

I will pay special attention to the role of interpretation in all of this, not only because ‘achieving’ a public or collective interpretation of the problems and promises of computerized vehicles seems a crucial aspect of street trials, but also because I want to know whether the re-configuration of street trials into “experiments in interpretation” is a good objective to pursue, in social research as in public life.”

Noortje Marres, Associate Professor at Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick.


Time: October 21 2016, 09:00

Place: Auditorium 2

The event will be in English and everyone is welcome.

ITU address:
IT-University of Copenhagen
Rued Langgaardsvej 7
DK-2300 Copenhagen S