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Under the auspices of modernity, the public sphere was largely elaborated through spatial analogies that foreground a physically tangible division between the public and the private, between rights of ownership, control and usage. The contemporary public sphere of data can no longer be comprehended in such terms – as a static, albeit progressively opaque, environment that we simply traverse. Rather, today’s data publics bring with them a profound blurring of the capacities, roles and motivations of different actors. Traditional power apparatuses are now being confronted with a citizenry that is increasingly tasked with self-servicing of the social, cultural and infrastructural fabric of the societies they inhabit. Within these new spatial coordinates any notion of social capital is now joined to an affective economy powered by desire, identification, fear and rejection. The fate of the public of these new data publics is thus both generated and implicated in new technologies of governance and their associated digital economies that presently traverse into and beyond the realm of data. 

The acceleration of data constitutes one of the most powerful transformative forces in the world today and is radically changing both the way we live our daily lives and processes operating on a global scale. The international research forum DATA PUBLICS {Goldsmiths 26–28 January 2017} takes as its starting point an active understanding of the participation of today’s populations in data generation and the shaping of new public spheres. It seeks to dynamically explore the political implications of hybridised data environments in which individual, commercial and governmental agendas and actions are becoming increasingly blurred. Through both theoretical and artistic explorations it inquires into the impact of a “data mentality” on our expectations and articulations of public spheres, experiments with new visual and cultural modes of binary transgression within the digital public realm and speculates on new models of governance in the context of self-generating data publics. At a time when governments become increasingly private and citizens increasingly public, we argue that it is vital to look into the critical pluralities of both data and publics. 

Find out more about Data Publics. 


The Saturday Salon
This afternoon of creative presentations seeks to explore the potential for arts-based interventions into what constitutes the plurality of both data and publics. It will feature the work of artists whose projects breach the theoretical and practical divide and challenge the dynamic of the data mentality many of us have adopted as part of our contemporary being in the world. Questions of value, attunement, environment, capture and captivation will all be themes of this day of exploratory engagement. This event is held as collaboration between Goldsmiths University's Department of Visual Cultures, the Institute of Art and Design at the Vienna University of Technology and Gasworks.


12:00pm-12:30pm: Opening Remarks

12:30pm-1:15pm: Dani Admiss/CRUMB Sunderland University and Cecilia Wee/Royal College of Art

1:15pm-2:00pm: Autogena Projects - Lise Autogena and Joshua Portway/Sheffield Hallam University

2:00pm-2:15pm: Tea break

2:15pm-3:00pm: Simon Yuill/Goldsmiths Digital Culture Unit

3:00pm-3:45pm: Plenary Discussion with presenters chaired by Ayesha Hameed/Goldsmiths Department of Visual Cultures/Fine Art

3:45pm-4:00pm: Closing Remarks


All events are free and open to the public but registration is essential