SFB 1187 ›Medien der Kooperation‹ an der Universität Siegen
Werkstatt Medienpraxistheorie – Dashboards of Doubt and Disorientation: Workshop with Shannon Mattern
Mittwoch, 08. Dezember 2021, 11:00 - 12:30 Uhr

In this era of upheaval and uncertainty, data dashboards have proliferated, promising clarifying oversight of everything from COVID infections and vaccinations, to the removal of white supremacist and colonialist statuary, to energy expenditures and climate change mitigation efforts. Dashboards crystallize states’, municipalities’, activists’, and corporations’ approaches to epistemological and affective governance by parceling the knowledge required for decision-making and calibrating stakeholders’ panic and pride in “progress.” Yet for all their promises of omniscient command, dashboards also manifest doubt and disorientation. In this talk we’ll examine a variety of recent dashboard and “control center” projects – both functioning and speculative examples – and consider how they reveal, perhaps inadvertently, the uncertainty and ambiguity underlying the data that illuminate their screens, the intelligence they cultivate, and the modes of governance that intelligence ostensibly inspires.

Shannon Mattern is a Professor of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research. Her writing and teaching focus on archives, libraries, and other media spaces; media infrastructures; spatial epistemologies; and mediated sensation and exhibition. She is the author of The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities; Deep Mapping the Media City; Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: 5000 Years of Urban Media, all published by University of Minnesota Press; and A City Is Not a Computer, published by Princeton University Press. She also contributes a regular long-form column about urban data and mediated infrastructures to Places Journal. In addition, she serves as president of the board of the Metropolitan New York Library Council and regularly collaborates on public design and interactive projects and exhibitions. You can find her at wordsinspace.net