Latest Project: Stranger-ness & Belonging in a Neighbourhood WhatsApp Group

WhatsApp in Amsterdam(Photo Copyright: Antal Guszlev)

Author: Natalie Dixon

The messaging application WhatsApp is often adopted in urban neighbourhoods to distribute and discuss information as part of neighbourhood watch programmes. In this context, certain notions of information sharing and the cherishing this implies, are often entangled with ideals of protection in the neighbourhood. Using the case study of an enclosed neighbourhood in Johannesburg, this research draws on theories of affect and mobility to introduce the concept of affective mooring. That is, that a neighbourhood WhatsApp group constitutes an affective mooring – an established practice and point of fixity – that generates a sense of being held in a community through feelings of collective presence and safety. Notably, these feelings of presence and safety are hinged on acts of resistance and alienation towards strangers. In this way, WhatsApp as an affective mooring in the neighbourhood is also a site for negotiating ideals of belonging.

This research was peer reviewed and published in the Open Cultural Studies  journal (January 2018). DOWNLOAD THE FULL ARTICLE HERE


Emo Cities

Aleph of Emotions is an experimental art project by Mithru Vigneshwara at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore.

“The camera-like interface allows users to point along a particular direction, focus to a place along that direction, and click to view a visualization of emotions in that place. The intention is to explore and find patterns in human emotions with relation to space and time.

The Aleph, according to the author, Jorge Luis Borges, is a point in the Universe where all other points exist. Therefore, anyone looking at the Aleph could see everything in the Universe at once. In this project, I use the Aleph as a metaphor for an archive; Aleph of Emotions refers to an archive of emotions. This archive is produced by data collected from Twitter. Data is collected based on keywords that define certain emotions. The results are finally presented with an interactive object.”

SPACE, but not as we know it.

Susana Zaragozá has been involved in the media and cultural industries for the last 10 years, always with a deep interest in the convergence of real practice and alternative entrepreneurship. In Madrid, where she is currently based, Susana is involved in several projects spanning crowdfunding, visualization, prototyping, digital humanities, gender and technology.
In 2010 Susana completed an MA (media and culture) at the University of Amsterdam. Her thesis, an interesting exploration of locative mapping and non-representational geographies in relation to affect, was written under the supervision of Dr. Edward Shanken. Below is her abstract and complete thesis available for download.

This thesis I will attempt to redefine the connection between maps and territory within locative mapping practices. In doing so, I suggest a different approach from Situationist International; Michael de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life or the criticized use of the current trace-andtrack model by drawing on the Non-Representational Theory (NRT) of Nigel Thrift. The goal is to offer a modern approach that raises possible futures and expectations related to this novel technomapping impulse, and also a fresh perspective in order to challenge the current standardization of space. The performative character of maps when realized through embodiment and relational practices within our daily activities, offers both new knowledges and different ways of transmitting it. Specifically, there are different modes of expression that locative mapping is attempting to create in relation to the affective and political realms. In this light, non-representational theories share an approach to meaning that is based on the idea of thought-in action. This possibility of thinking space through action can be understood as a revival of the possibility of the event itself in a Deleuzian sense but also of a new vast domain of biopolitics for resistance, from Foucault’s perspective. Therefore, this thesis focuses on the taking-place of our everyday life practices – things and events and their possible interconnections – but also on the potential of the human body and its performative character when ideas and meanings are projected onto those bodies. By drawing on locative media art, I illustrate how NRT seems to be an appropriate approach for combining social research and experimental/artistic practices in order to discover how knowledge is spatially distributed. Indeed, the insufficiently illustrated work of Thrift warrants this attempt, that is, to update the discourses of locative media art which have become stuck since 2006, in order to recapture the potential of locative mapping practices for a better understanding of the current technological world and its re-presentation of maps.

Download Susana’s thesis by clicking here.