SFB 1187 ›Medien der Kooperation‹ an der Universität Siegen
Workshop – „YouTube as Test Society“
Monday, 11. December 2017 - Tuesday, 12. December 2017

Online video platforms like YouTube have been widely welcomed as a setting that facilitates user-led testing of anything from smart cars to medical treatments and alternative lifestyles. On YouTube, Navigation apps are being evaluated against each other in everyday use situations, users document their test drives of autonomous vehicles and technology demos explore the boundaries of their usability and interpretation. On the one hand, user-led evaluations in the form of online video reviews, demos and ratings have quickly gained currency in the cultural economy, but, on the other hand, the epistemic status and public efficacy of user-led testing remains in question: does user-led testing produce knowledge and/or accountability? If so, how do they gain relevance beyond the platform and take on the capacity to intervene in public discourse? In this workshop, we aim to analyse YouTube test videos as an emerging set of evaluative practices in the context of digital media, and examine their potential to contribute to evidentiary cultures and the making of a test society.


Workshop objectives

The overarching aim of analysing YouTube test videos is then to re-situate tests on several levels. On the most fundamental level, we need to account for the platform as a demonstrational context in which tests do not figure as bounded mode of creating knowledge, but as highly entangled practice informed by platform affordances. Additionally, platforms potentially endow experimental situations with distinctive capacities, and/or they may inflect the morphology of situations – unbounded, metrically mediated, yet constantly occurring. To which extent can testing be perceived as specific genre on YouTube and how is it incorporating other genres like parody, satire, experiment? Moreover, online test videos may be creating continuities between the platform and everyday spaces like the home or the street as experimental settings and need to be resituated in regards to other sites of testing involved. And finally, test videos cannot be approached without situating them regarding the sensory, affective and embodied practices they involve, as they contribute to recallibrate affective experiences of the tested objects with their formal, aesthetic and/or institutional aspects.

In the context of the workshop we seek to explore tests as specifically situated valuation practice and to use digital methodologies of data analysis and visualisation to explore how they evaluate, appropriate and re-sensitize. We will do so by engaging with three different sets of questions and materials: (1) videos on autonomous driving (2) app reviews, guides and tests and (3) cybersecurity demos which shall be explored through short-form empirical projects. We kindly ask all participants to bring a laptop with them.


Workshop participants: Noortje Marres (CIM Warwick), Jess Perriam (Goldsmiths), Valentin Janda (Berlin), Laurie Waller (TUM Munich), Sarah de Rijcke (Leiden), Loup Cellard (CIM Warwick), Henry Mainsah (CIM Warwick), Pablo Velasco Gonzales (CIM Warwick), Sam Hind, Hendrik Bender, Tristan Thielmann, Carolin Gerlitz, Fernando van der Vlist, Jörg Potthast, Sebastian Gießmann Cornelius Schubert, Jörn Preuß, Johannes Paßmann, Pablo Abend, Max Kanderske, Tatjana Seitz, Marcus Burkhardt, Lena Teigeler, Lisa Gerzen (Siegen).

# Please bring your laptop to the workshop! #

Organisers: Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies (University of Warwick) and Media of Cooperation and Locating Media (University of Siegen)

Mobile Interface Methods Workshop Series


Universität Siegen
Campus Herrengarten
Raum AH-217/18
Herrengarten 3
57072 Siegen


Monday, 11 December

Introduction by Noortje Marres and Carolin Gerlitz and discussion of the workshop proposal
Project material presentation
Project work
Project work
Dinner at Da Luciano, Koblenzer Str. 29, 57072 Siegen

Tuesday, 12 December

Project work
Group presentations and final discussion
Evening talk by Noortje Marres, “Digital bias in and as practice?”, Room AH-217/18


Prof. Dr. Carolin Gerlitz

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