Annual Conference 2022

Testing in the Wild
University of Siegen | 19-21 September 2022


About the Conference

The objects, means, and situations of testing have multiplied rapidly in the digital age. Practices of testing have become ubiquitous. They have moved beyond the spatial and institutional confines of scientific laboratories (testing hypotheses), classrooms and exam halls (testing students), consumer organizations (testing products), and inspection agencies (testing systems and protocols) into the wild of everyday digital lifeworlds.

Human beings and technological systems are today both subjects and objects of continuous testing. Paradigms such as A/B testing, machine learning, and test-driven development infuse a logic of testing into the creation, construction and maintenance of digital systems. Digital devices are equipped with ever more sensors that facilitate the monitoring of our health, behavior, and performance, directing our sensibilities towards new modes of data-based sense-making, evaluation, and justification. Platforms incentivise consumers to become critics by testing and reviewing products in public. In parallel, grassroots testing through ‘unboxings’ and ‘teardowns’ have become genres of user-generated content in themselves. Away from online platforms, users grapple with products delivered with rudimentary manuals or generic support, and whose functionality is expected to be extendable, adaptable, and fixable in the wild. Variations of updates are rolled out to select publics in order to test their respective acceptance within, or across, targeted demographics. Testing and evaluating digital products and services ‘on the fly’ has not only become concurrent with ordinary use, but part of it. 

Practices of testing commonly rely on data: its collection, processing, circulation, (re)presentation, justification, and analysis. In fact, datafication and testing co-evolve. The proliferation of testing in the wild and associated controversies can be observed at various levels. On the one hand the intentional organization, analysis and discussion of tests and their results based on data remains relevant and has been controversially discussed in recent years, either with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic (Schnelltests, 7-day incidence rates, intensive bed capacity etc.), climate change (ice core tests, gtCO2, RCPs etc.), or financial crises (banking ‘stress tests’, REAs, leverage ratios etc.). On the other hand the everyday, continuous, and casual capture of data through digital media has led both to practices of self-tracking as well as critiques of a growing and pervasive monitoring and exploitation of users through corporate data practices. 

Countering this, initiatives and policy makers test alternative measures, platforms, and standards to develop digital services that offer enhanced and/or protected user experiences, from routing data through secure pathways, ensuring data ‘portability’, or by restricting data collection altogether. In other respects, the likes of cryptocurrencies and other cryptographic innovations face increasing scrutiny as reckless social, financial and ecological experiments. As the earth system is itself being put to the test by the sum and history of human practices and their consequences, new methods for testing, evaluating, and critiquing the impact of data practices and digital infrastructures are urgently required.

Against the background of the new ubiquity of testing the 2022 annual conference of SFB 1187 Media of Cooperation invites contributions that engage with practices of testing in, of and with digital devices and digital environments in the wild. 


M O N D A Y   19.09.2022


Panel: Testing Alexa: Practices of Private Users and Third-Party Developers

Chair: David Waldecker

Niklas Strüver (University of Siegen, CRC Media of Cooperation): Smart Speakers and Their Attachments: Frustration Free Through Testing?

Stephan Habscheid & Dagmar Hoffmann (University of Siegen, CRC Media of Cooperation): From Initial Setup to Routine Operation: Mundane Experiments for Domesticating Smart Speakers in Private Homes

Silke Reineke & Henrike Helmer (Leibniz-Institute for German Language Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim): Repair Strategies in Dealing with Smart Speakers

T U E S D A Y   20.09.2022

Panel: Trying Times? Temporal Orders of Technology Testing

Philippe Sormani (University of Lausanne): Remaking Intelligence? Of Machines, Media, and Montage

Michael Guggenheim (Goldsmiths College, London): Why Experiment? Sociologies of Testing, Scenarios of Lifeworlds

Lauren Huret & Hunter Longe (Geneva): Artificial Fear? Future Pasts Revisited 

Panel:  Slopes, Trails, Air and Streets: Sharing and Testing Outdoor Environments in Everyday and Adventure Activities
Chair: Susanne Förster

Julia Bee (University of Siegen, CRC Media of Cooperation): Cycling and Sensory Media: Vlogs, Apps and Circulating Practices 

Hendrik Bender (University of Siegen, CRC Media of Cooperation): Follow-Me: Drones as semi-autonomous companions 

Karina Kirsten (University of Siegen, CRC Media of Cooperation): Live-tracks/reports in remote destinations

Panel: Con-testing Sensing Practices
Co-chairs: Daniela van Geenen, Vesna Schierbaum & Regina Wuzella

Anna Berti Suman (European Commission Joint Research Center, Sensing for Justice): Escaping Sensors: A Human “Turn to Sensing” 

Sebastian Scholz (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam): Sensor-Media-Environments as Experimental Systems: Medianaturecultural Aspects of Putting “Nature” to the Test

Daniel Stoecker (ZeM, The Brandenburg Center for Media Studies): “A Smile Looks The Same On Everyone´s Face” – Narratives in the use of facial emotion recognition in market research 

MGKWalls @ Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen
Unteres Schloß 1
57072 Siegen

W E D N E S D A Y   21.09.2022

Panel: Speaking Truth: Testing Language Technologies
Chair: Marcus Burkhardt

Susanne Förster (University of Siegen, CRC Media of Cooperation): Testing for Faithfulness: Hallucinating Language Models

Wiebke Loosen (Hans Bredow Institut): “Artificial Journalism”? How “Communicative AI” is Making its Way into the News Production Cycle

Yarden Skop (University of Siegen, CRC Media of Cooperation): Establishing Facts Under Uncertainty: How Truth is Put to the Test on Facebook



The conference “Testing in the Wild: Publics, Practices, and Infrastructures” takes place in Siegen. Attendance is free of charge. For onsite attendance please register via email at info[æt] Safety precautions will be taken according to the current pandemic situation. Any regulations will be communicated in advance to all registered participants via email. Talks will also be streamed online. The link for the conference stream will be published on the conference website on the day of the event. Registration for online attendance is not required.



Panels & Keynotes @FoKoS / Alte Sparkasse, Siegen-Weidenau
Weidenauer Str. 167
57076 Siegen

MGKWalls @ Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen
Unteres Schloß 1
57072 Siegen