Sensing, Walking and Embodiment With and By Technologies: A Track Away From The Desk
Christopher Wood (Queen Mary University of London)
Friday 2 September, 12:30-14:15 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

A track interested in the complex relationship between location-aware technologies, the body and site. We propose experiments in presentation and discussion drawing on ideas of walking, embodiment and sensory methods. These will take place outside the venue. Critical art practices are also welcome.

Long abstract:

Location aware devices are becoming ever-present both through GPS-enabled smartphones and RFID chips. As this equipment becomes increasingly present and embedded in public space, the production of the body, sensors and ideas of location and presence becomes more complex and multi-layered. This emergent complexity raises challenges for ethnographic methods. This track seeks experimental presentations connected to the affordances, potentials and construction of a given site and the technologies which construct it. Following Tim Ingold in saying that "Locomotion, not cognition, must be the starting point for the study of perceptual activity (Ingold, 2000: 166)", we are particularly interested in walking and embodiment. This may contain, but not be limited to, sensory ethnographic methods (Pink 2015, Bull 2013). We may also consider how sensory approaches could be developed or reframed in relation to machine sensors operating across networks. Walking and discussion also has the potential to create new and rewarding spaces for the development and proliferation of knowledge (Wickson et al 2015). We especially value a process where the presentation and discussion of work takes place within a physical space relevant to its content. Critical art practices may also be a useful entry point into this discussion.

We propose a panel of experiments in presentation outside the conference venue. These could comprise of sound or smell walks, site-specific discussions, observations of the operation of technology in public space or interventions involving the movement and arrangement of bodies.