Happy New Year from the Heads of ETHOS Lab!

2017 was another extremely rich year for us, with Mapping a Colony continuing, both Data as Relation and VIRT-EU kicking off, new PhD students starting, and a new cohort of amazing Junior Researchers taking up their roles within the Lab community. Each issue of the Newsletter archive tells its own story, from seminars, to public talks to external events and blogposts.

By focusing on Data/Ethnography during 2017, we sought to read big-data and digital methods alongside the thick description of ethnography, to make sure that people, their concerns, the texture of everyday life is part of critical enquiries that exploit new sources of data and analytics. There were so many highlights of the year, it’s hard to pick just a few. In February we hosted Andrea Ballestero’s workshop on “Analytic Moves” from our sister Lab The Ethnography Studio in Rice Universty, Texas. In April, we invited both Melissa Gregg, Principal Engineer in Business Client Strategy at Intel and Helen Verran to visit and discuss pressing issues of our time:  productivity and post-truth respectively. Both spoke to packed ITU audiences, if you missed them, click through to videos of the events!

Our thematic emphasis for 2018 will be on Speculative Instruments. By this, we mean both material instruments and methods as modes of instrumenting our research inquiry. Both are ways of speculating about realities, bringing together forms of hardware and techniques for critique where futures are brought into the present. Speculative Instruments brings us into dialogue with another facet of our long affiliation with experimentation, through the realities technologies enact.

Under this theme, we’ve invited Professor Sarah Pink and Orit Halpern to speak to the Lab community during the course of the year. We’re looking forward to having PhD students from Data as Relation bring questions from their first year of research into the lab to think through the methodological implications of researching in spaces that are deeply digital. Marie will also be continuing our ethnographic inquiry with the instrumented Lab space, experiencing the affects of AI co-sociality, a provocation she put forward at Culture Night this autumn by asking critical questions of the unquestioning access granted to newly everyday technologies and the costs of living in these imaginal spectral futures.

We look forward to seeing many of you at the events of the year to come. To stay up to date on ETHOSLab activities, sign up to our newsletter and follow us on twitter, facebook, or instagram.


Best regards,

Rachel, Marisa and Marie