Situated Technologies Reading

Week 1 Reading

Situated Technologies Pamphlet Series #3:

Suspicious Images : Latent Interfaces

by Benjamin Bratton & Natalie Jeremijenko

(Section 1 of the Pamphlet, Pages 1 – 53)

download the pdf here

We will discuss this reading on Friday, August 30


“You can’t walk through a design graduate program anywhere in the first world, whether in architecture, interaction design, or media arts, without seeing at least half a dozen beautiful “data smog” projects modeling ambient urban-environmental information in one way or another… There is something great about this, but also something troubling. The danger is that in their spectacularization of information, they in fact distance people…even further from their abilities and responsibilities to understand relationships between the multiple ecologies in which they live, and the possibilities for action that they have… They produce the effect of a “missing expert,” the implicit presumption that somewhere along the line, whether inside a mountain in Wyoming, at the EPA, or through an activist on her bicycle, somewhere someone must be using this interface to actually modulate these things. In this they further distance people from their own ability to look, hypothesize, and act. But in their own way, they are projective images of a parliament of the material public that doesn’t exist yet. The question is…do they provoke the possible emergence of this new form of political engagement, or do they provide an alibi for it never happening because they make it appear that the parliament is already there?”

natalie jeremijenko/NYU environmental health clinic:

benjamin bratton:


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