Author:Laura Kocksch (Ruhr-University Bochum)
Paper short abstract:
Mushrooming big data labs are sites of intense collaboration towards new data habitats. This talk explores how preparing for big data means re-configuring the data centre along with shared imagined futures and responsibilities.
Paper long abstract:
My notebook and I are standing in an insurance company's big data lab. A poster near me offers an insight into the ongoing collaborations right now. It depicts grey shaped icons and arrows in one direction, attached to it, coloured post its with handwritten notes. The data centre is in flux and demands collaboration of different actors, including posters and post-its, but also the re-organization of responsibilities and data itself.
In my ethnographic field stay I observed how different actors engaged in preparing for big data. This involved re-configuring the data centre, the data stream, the data itself and people's relations to each other and the data. This re-configuration draws on existing infrastructures of responsibility, data work and valuation of data. In this paper I show that big data labs are sites of infrastructuring where several actors, technologies and visions come together in order to collaborate for a new data infrastructure, including a new data habitat. This results in productive frictions between various actors, practices and concepts, i.e. between infrastructure and security experts.
Throughout the nine months of fieldwork, the envisioned data centre fulfilled a variety of functions to various actors, from being home of new imagined (big) data value to being a flexible object of collaboration. The big data lab is where the new data infrastructure comes into being while re-configuring relations of people, technologies and economic value. .
Farming data - collaborations on site