1 Apr 2022 - 2 Apr 2022


Organizers: Ignacia Arteaga, Debangana Bose, Katarzyna Cieslik, Juan Del Nido


Through online games, videos, posters and interactive art, the exhibit explores how ubiquitous data (through disease-screening technologies, labour management algorithms, polling software) is changing our lives. Using art and play, the exhibit visualizes the research of four Philomathia Fellows, challenging the viewer to think critically about the implications of datafication in everyday life. Description: The insidious, dispassionate categorization of individuals into types and probabilities is ubiquitous in today’s datafied world. Data does not simply describe us: it makes us who we are as citizens, employees, patients. We either divulge our information involuntarily as data exhaust or we are coerced into compliance when accessing public goods (such as healthcare), or seeking employment (gig platforms). As the computing power of global data centers increases in geometric progression, more and more aspects of our life become datafied; from our emotions and instinctive reactions when we watch a film to how many of our neighbours miss their mortgage repayments before we have gone into debt ourselves. Showcasing the interdisciplinary work of the Philomathia Foundation’s Cambridge scholars, this exhibit explores how different technologies create, collect, analyse and distribute data about our work, health and civic decisions. The session aims for a broad and general public, including both teenagers and adults, featuring the following interactive experiences that capture some of the key findings of the four respective projects. 1. ‘Gigco: Escape The Gig Economy’ is an interactive online game designed by Spekwork visualizing the job of a gig worker whereby the player must defend their precarious job against impending automation. Gigco uses gameplay as a method of civic engagement providing the players with an interactive platform to experience how technology is shaping the world of work. 2. Storyboards, posters and installations featuring our research into gig economies (Uber, Swiggy, Upwork) in India, Argentina and Nigeria, and health technologies in the UK. Produced in a collaboration with artists, these works visualize the fundamental data questions of today: how algorithms are redefining work, workers and working lives, and how our engagement with new health technologies have transformed what we understand by health and illness. 3. Video-streaming screen installation of interviews with behavioural economists in the United Kingdom, discussing how the government collects and analyses data about public sentiment, emotions, consumption and other aspects of our lives to develop policy and regulation. 4. An interactive session with the SpekWork Studio artists whereby the participants jointly produce a critical gamified narrative on datafication as an emergent ideology, aided by the visual artists/programmers.

Social Science Research for the 21st Century - Progress through Partnership

Email: philomathia@admin.cam.ac.uk