This lecture is part of the series, D-Lab presents… The series, sponsored by the Digital Methods Initiative, brings together current thinkers about digital research. The first lectures were given by Christian Sandvig on algorithmic auditing and Zizi Papacharissi on affective publics. Subsequent lectures in the series will be given among others by Phoebe Sengers, Axel Bruns, and the artist Jonathan Harris from ‘We feel fine’, in collaboration with the Cultural Embassy Lloyd Hotel.
Environmental sensors are becoming increasing pervasive as tools to monitor and regulate environments. This presentation will discuss work from the forthcoming book, Program Earth (University of Minnesota, 2016), which examines the use of sensors within environmental infrastructures, and within citizen sensing practices. Program Earth addresses the programmability of the planet by focusing on the “becoming environmental of computation.” Through discussing specific instances where sensors are deployed for environmental study, citizen engagement, and urban sustainability across three areas of environmental sensing, from wild sensing to pollution sensing and urban sensing, I ask how sensor technologies are generating distinct ways of programming and concretizing environments and environmental relations. I further consider how sensors inform our engagements with environmental processes and politics, and in what ways we might engage with the “technicity” of environmental sensors to consider the possibility for other types of relations with these technologies.
Jennifer Gabrys is Reader in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project, "Citizen Sense." Her publications include Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (University of Michigan Press, 2011); and Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (University of Minnesota Press, 2016). Her work can be found at citizensense.net, and jennifergabrys.net.