EF #1.18 Telling Tales on I.o.T.

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Catalyst: Jessica Foley

Host: Cristina Cano and David Malone, MADCOM, ESWN 2018

Date: 14th February

We all have a way of explaining what we do and why we do it. We tell ourselves tales about the purpose of our research, and then we tell anyone who’ll listen about it too. In technical research, we don’t often have the opportunity to reflect upon these stories and to think about their effects.
This writing workshop offers participants a chance to reflect on the stories we tell ourselves about Internet of Things research. The session will be ‘catalysed’ by Jessica Foley, a writer exploring the way information and communication technologies are shaping society inside and out.
The first half of the workshop will see Jessica introduce the seed ‘Telling Tales on IoT…’ followed by open conversation in the group, where questions and comments can be shared. Based on this discussion, Jessica will introduce a writing game that will help participants to generate short alternate tales of Internet of Things research.
Participants are welcome to write through English, through their Native Language, or through a mix of both, and are invited to combine technical RF terms with everyday vocabulary. No experience required!

Workshop outline/script…

3:00            Gather, grab a coffee/tea and assemble in the room together

3:10            Warm up: ‘Yes, And’ a cliché (a) Valentines Day (b) Internet of Things

3:20            Telling Tales on IoT…

I am writer in residence at CONNECT, the Science Foundation Ireland centre for future networks and communications headquartered at Trinity College Dublin.

 As a writer, I’m interested in how technology shapes the way we use language and words. I’m interested in how technology and language influence our sense of agency and organisation as individuals and as a society. So I’m interested in how technology and language shapes us inside and out.

 My PhD research explored how a relationship between creative arts practices and telecommunications engineering could be opened up and sustained in the context of academia. I continue to look at how we can induce transdisciplinary collaboration and understanding through processes of conversation and writing.

 Engineering Fictions is one of the tools I use to do this – it’s a way of drawing out questions and ideas in interdisciplinary contexts that may ordinarily be overlooked. This means setting up a process of defamiliarisation – where an idea that seems generally understood is explored in a different way and becomes somewhat strange again… surprising us in some way, like a kind of serious joke…

 Today I want to explore the idea of IoT as a thought-terminating cliché… a phrase that is a thought-stopper, a phrase that discourages critical thought and meaningful conversation…

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Poem written by Inga Rüb during the EF session

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