‘Data Curiosities’: a digital cabinet of reflections

Monsters as subversive devices... questioning the necessity to fully datafy the world

This is a quick post to let you know that my new site, Data Curiosities, is now launched! This is a virtual cabinet of reflections that gathers thoughts, artwork and prototype experiments on the use of a carnivalesque framework to challenge the issue of (over) datafication of people, especially children in education.

The structure of the content is deliberately fuzzy and iterative (in keeping with the idea of ‘dataflux’ as opposed to ‘dataset’) and is meant to grow organically as I process and further the reflections from this fellowship.

Data Monster

As part of my research, I got enthused with the potential of Medieval monsters to subvert the assertion that it is possible to fully grasp (datafy?) the world. My belief is that datafication, whilst useful in certain cases, can, if overdone, lead us to objectify or discriminate against people… but also strip-off the enchantment, poetry and sense of possibilities that come with human existence. I find this to be especially the case in mainstream education, where datafication requirements have a deep shaping effect on curriculum priorities and teaching approaches… often to the detriment of less measurable, more creative topics and life paths.

This idea of using playful monsters to subvert the focus on datafication in education is something that I am exploring further as part of a SWCTN prototype app, developed in collaboration with visual artist Louisa Currier, and i-Dat University of Plymouth. The Data Curiosities website will also be a means to communicate the progress on this prototype.