Archive | Digital World

This section of the site is dedicated to the research and interests clustered together within the UCL Centre for Digital Anthropology.

Digital Materialities: Design and Anthropology, Edited by S. Pink, E. Ardevol, and D. Lanzeni

Zachary Hecht, UCL Digital Anthropology

 

I must admit, this review has been a long time coming. I was given Digital Materialities and asked to review it many months ago. I proceeded to read it immediately, but writing the review, well not so immediately. At the time, I had been in the process of exams and dissertation fieldwork. Several of the book’s chapters were very useful while I was working through concepts for my own work. Since reading this book, I have moved to another country and read several other books and articles. Yet, importantly, I had been given a hard copy of the book and it managed to make it across the ocean with me—sitting in my suitcase, underneath my belongings, until I finally got around to unpacking.…

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Digital Ontologies

Hannah Knox, Department of Anthropology, UCL

Last year, someone made the observation at a workshop I was attending, that no single person knows how a contemporary computer works. The rapid development of computing over the past 70 years, the interconnectivity of the internet, and the layers of programming needed to make digital devices function, mean that digital technologies have gained a kind of distributed autonomy, divorced from the understanding or expertise of any individual person or group of experts. One response to this complexity has been to argue that if we want to understand digital technologies as material culture, we should not really concern ourselves with how these technologies come into being, but should simply look at how they, like other forms of material culture, are understood and deployed in everyday life.…

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Big Bang Data

Jo Cunningham, UCL Digital Anthropology

Recently, a cohort of students from the Masters in Digital Anthropology course visited the ‘Big Bang Data’ exhibition at Somerset House.  Exploring the rise of Big Data, the exhibition featured a mix of pieces commissioned from media artists alongside exhibits explaining the history and scope of the ‘data explosion’.  Here are a few of the students’ reactions to exhibition pieces that inspired them:

 


Big Data and Twig Data by Jo Cunningham

BBD

The Big Bang Data exhibition identified 2002 as a landmark year for data when digital took over from analogue. During 2009, more data was produced than all the preceding years put together.  This explosion in data production is linked with the capacity to store data and one of the exhibits showed the evolution of storage devices, from punchcards that could hold just 0.08 kilobytes, to floppy disks, CDs, and finishing with DNA, 1 gram of which can store 455 exabytes.  

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New Open Access Series: Anthropology and Photography and open access initiatives from the Global Social Media Impact Study

Haidy Geismar, UCL

The movement towards open access has continued to gain momentum in the social sciences, and in anthropology, with important new journals such as Hau; and new movements to develop alternative publishing collectives afoot. I have just stepped down as editor of the Journal of Material Culture where we are moving a little slower. We have committed to ensuring that there is at least one open access article per issue, and Sage has a very generous Green archiving policy which allows the accepted version of an article to be made available immediately. However, Sage owns both the title and the back issues of the journal which makes a transition to fully open access more of a decision to form a completely new title.…

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