MethodsWe experiment with digital methods, anthropological approaches, and speculative design in exploring what kind of research and knowledge can be created through critical and creative use of methods and methodologies.
Deletion, Absence, and Removal as Method
Exploring the field of privacy, data, and GDPR, we have experimented with creating content and removal of content. Using the 264 pages long GPDR regulation as our material, we have allowed ourselves to cut up words and sentenced to create new poetic structures as well as visibly delete and cross over words. The method of deletion poetry makes the absence present. We had the opportunity to decide on which words we wanted on the pages, and what we would like to be there but not visibly – just to be known by ourselves.
We utilize the role play game of Mage annually for a strategy session: The Ascension ruleset to come up with new ways of dealing with the current challenges faced by the lab. To quote the rulebook, “Mage asks an intimate question: If you had the power of a god, what would you do with it… and what would it do with you?” The challenges we consider, and the interventions we come up with range in difficulty and in scope; sometimes they are institutional issues where we need to imagine better ways of doing things, and at other times they are about focusing our attention on bigger issues that matter to us in a longer timeframe.
Manuscripts and Role Play
Role play has also been a useful way to explore the social contracts that we maintain as a Lab, regarding shared resources and the obligations of care to the materials we collect. In one of our projects on Black Box’ing, we conducted a role play examining the long-term storage of collaboratively collected data in the Lab to explore the ambivalent relations to unexamined data and critically reflect on how GDPR compliance is put into practice within our collaborative work. Role play enables taking positions that are exaggerated, increasing the chance for contestation, and for minority views to be staged, and it lead us to make a publication as a manuscript featuring different characters and voices.
Social Media Data Collection
We approach social media as entities which provide insight into various socio-cultural phenomena as well as foreground interesting objects native to the digital media itself, such as URLs, images, retweet counts, retweet cascades, and bots. Analysis of social media often direct attention to what needs to be closer investigated through other methods. And although ambivalence and ethical hesitance, we do provide Twitter data collection support for both students and researchers at IT University of Copenhagen using DMI-TCAT.
Mapping is a big part of the history of the Lab. One of our first major projects concerned mapping the colonial legacy in Copenhagen, highlighting statues and buildings with an obvious connection to Denmark’s participation in the transatlantic slave trade. We consider maps a mean of presenting and co-shaping reality through a process of bringing forth and hiding away. We make critical maps, as well as engage in mapmaping through basic social network analysis (SNA) and issue mapping.
(Experimental) Ethnographic Methods
Autoethnography allows for the researcher to turn the gaze around and observe how cultural phenomenon is experienced for themselves. It more so enables to attend to being a researcher subject influencing and being influenced by the research. In the Lab, we are using autoethnography …
Ethnomining is a method of co-creating meaning, from data, with those from whom the data was collected from or generated with. Ethnomining aims to circumvent the difficulties of distant attribution of meaning by researchers in Labs or offices, where the data has already been structured and placed alongside the data of others for the finding of patterns. This tends to obfuscate the experiences that pertain to the different pieces of data leading researchers to miss out on valuable insights that often require little extra work to gather. In ETHOS Lab, we consider sitting down with relevant participants, analyzing that data through recalling the situated experiences as an ethical and fruitful way to approach this matter.
We employ the Walkthrough method, as written about by Light, Burgess, and Duguay (2016), in our studies of apps and other software programs. Attending to the users’ ways of engaging with apps as well as the technical side and other spheres of the product, generates much richer outlook on the app and its workings.
‘Monster Writing’ approaches writing as a vulnerable practice marked by an unstable boundary between bodies: bodies of text and bodies of the writer. Drawing on feminist theory on vulnerability, embodiment and the monstrous as well as scholarship on creative writing/experimental methods, monster writing engages with these instabilities as well as address experiences of difficulties, anxieties, and uncertainty in relation with the text and writing process. Monster writing in the Lab includes collaging, interval writing, collaborative writing and more.