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Planetary data infrastructures 
Estrid Sørensen (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
Nancy Mauro-Flude (RMIT University)
Stefan Laser (Ruhr-University Bochum)
Steven Jackson (Cornell University)
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Format :
Combined Format Open Panel

Short Abstract:

With the concept “planetary data infrastructures”, the panel explores expanded engagements with networked infrastructures, both concrete and speculative, that help foster more response-able, aesthetic, cooperative, and sustainable planetary relations. We invite conventional and experimental formats.

Long Abstract:

STS scholarship has extensively studied how data infrastructures have both epistemic and social as well as material components. Recently, attention has been extended to understanding data infrastructures as caught up with and increasingly forming the core biological, chemical, and physical processes that shape and define human and more-than-human lives on earth. These processes are moreover entangled in more mediate planetary relations: historical and colonial practices and discourses of growth and progress (Hogan 2015), of thin hope solutionism (Jackson 2023), critiquing growth paradigms of computing, encouraging embedded, intimate processual, visceral systems (Mauro-Flude 2022), as well as atomised ownership and governance structures (Sørensen & Laser 2023).

STS and related scholars have been particularly creative in proposing concepts that intervene into harmful planetary relations: care and bodily relations (Mol 2008; Puig de la Bellacasa 2017); broken worlds, ruins and fragility (e.g. Papadopoulos et al 2023; Jackson 2014); half-built assemblages (Burrell 2020), monsters, ghosts and friction (Tsing et al 2017), and many more.

With the notion of "planetary data infrastructures" we aim to a) enrich STS insights into data infrastructures as planetary by thinking across empirical studies, b) expand STS’s conceptual resources for understanding data infrastructures as planetary (including through new borrowings and partnerships beyond STS), and particularly c) inquire into engagements with data infrastructures, both concrete and speculative, that might help us think and act toward more response-able, creative and sustainable planetary relations.

In order to envision planetary data infrastructures in new ways, experimenting with different material practices is necessary alongside established epistemic formats. The Panel thus combines academic paper presentations with experimental formats such as material hands-on server experiences, virtual reality applications, game renderings, artistic and bodily performances etc.

We invite contributions that address the above and related topics. For inquires, do not hesitate to contact: