In September 2017 I participated in an expert meeting for mapping the research on Gender and ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) in Malaysia. This event brought together researchers, academics and activists from all continents. The conversations span around 4 research areas: Access, Economy and Labour, Embodiment and Social Movements and Activisms. Here I compile the general points that serve as a framework for those who want to understand this topic and the discussions that surround it in the field of research, academia and activism.
The evolution of the information society has seen ´data´ becoming the most important economic resource of the networked economy, mediated by the co-located and instantaneous access, dissemination and sharing of information amongst people across vast distances. There are numerous policy propositions that seek to regulate the management of data, which are often enforced upon users, rather than being modelled by the very participants of the network. On this debate, there is little or no room for a larger public discourse where people can reflect on the implications of data and help re-shaping public policy.
I was the moderator of this panel en ISEA (International Symposium of Electronic Arts) in Manizales, 2017. The panel explored transdisplinary contributions from art and design, in tandem with information policy activists, to re-imagine data ecosystems and at the same time engage the public into this discussion.
I coordinated and guided this project, in collaboration with students at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology and IT for Change, a Bangalore based NGO working on digital rights and social justice. We engaged with four rural communities of Dalit girls and adolescents, in order to understand their daily practices and how particular relations of power and processes of identity manifest in their daily lives. We created a set of tools and methodologies for facilitating dialogues about gender, self-expression and identity, making use of digital technologies as smartphones, tablets and sound recorders and exploring digital literacy as a process of empowerment.
WHOSE WEATHER IS IT ANYWAY? AN ART MEDIA INSTALLATION ON THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN "THE CLIMATE OF ECONOMIeS, AND THE ECONOMIeS OF CLIMATE"
Power structures in society shape the way we access and use data and information. Weather data, which use can be beneficial for people, has been subscribed to larger closed infrastructures that do not allow citizens to make use of it, and at the same time feed the corporatization of weather forecasts. I collaborated for this Art Media Installation that depicts scraped weather data from international airport sensors into an experience around the notion of intellectual property of data.
FINDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR TECHNOLOGICAL AND CREATIVE INTERVENTION WITH A COMMUNITY OF HEALTH WORKERS IN CHANNAPATNA, INDIA.
I contributed to this project as a facilitator, together with Naveen Bagalkot and in collaboration with Maya Health, an NGO that works with a group of health workers in Channapatna, Karnataka. The initiative where our project is located supports the ecosystem of workers as a channel to improve the overall health status of the villages. Part of this support includes providing the women with tablets. Our objetive of including design thinking and creative pedagogies, is to understand how technology can be part of their routines beyond playing a purely utilitarian role. At the end of the project we created a series of design tools that women can use in the future, and we identified the opportunity to work with dietary charts for the local use in the villages. The prototype is currently being developed by IIT Bangalore.
The Institute for Network Cultures released this book on Digital economy, edited by Geert Lovink, Nathaniel Tkacz and Patricia de Vries. This compilation of essays from artists and practitioners introduces conceptual frameworks that expand the notion of money as a medium of exchange and manipulation, towards new understandings of the economy given the posibilities for trading on the internet.
CRYSTAL VIOLET - INSPIRED BY QUORUM SENSING AND THE INTRIGUING NOTION OF INFORMATION IN SOCIAL NETWORKS OF BACTERIA
Bacteria are microscopic organisms that express incredible cooperative behaviors. They communicate with each other sending chemical signals, organizing themselves and acting together, which sometimes translate on expressing a disease for humans beings, and other manifestations as creating light. Cooperative behaviors of bacteria are particularly fascinating because they represent one of the major challenges for evolutionary biologists: How to explain altruistic behaviors, where actions that increase another individual's fitness come at a cost to your own, as natural selection appears to favor selfish, uncooperative individuals.
I´m founder of a civic movement in Bogotá that promotes collective action and cooperation through particular lived experiences in the public space. We plan and execute massive mobilizations where people collaborate with each other and achieve goals together. The experience of engaging directly with communities brings up aspects on collective action at micro level, which are hardly discoverable from a theoretical perspective.
BOOK REVIEW: DILEMMAS OF THE COLLECTIVE / institutions, poverty and cooperation in the local management of common-pool resources
Original name in Spanish: Dilemas de lo colectivo: Instituciones, pobreza y cooperación en el manejo local de los recursos de uso común. Juan Camilo Cardenas (2009).
"Collective or communitary spaces confront us to the dilemma of managing them in a collective manner, or abandoning them to rules of the game that are incomplete and considerable individual incentives that will take them to be territories of noone. [...] The central topic of this book is cooperation, and its principal postulate of collective action."
This design research project included 19 street vendors over 5 months in Bogotá. The idea was to explore the relationship of the vendors with money, savings and credit. The research was a very revealing experience, that showed to us how the understanding of money for the vendors, as well as their aspirations for the future are collective constructs rather than individual perceptions only. This study included individual interviews, as well as economic experiments to explore dynamics of cooperation amongst the vendors.