A common interest in the materiality and environmental effects of the internet brought our group together. We were initially interested in gaining an understanding of an individual’s digital and carbon footprint when analysing their internet and technology usage, but it was clear early on that it would be virtually impossible to accurately gather data on such a huge project. As such, we honed in on Facebook, and used Feminist TechnoScience, Archival theory and Materialism as our guiding lights in critique, analysis and research.
Mél Hogan’s piece “Facebook Data Storage Centres as the Archive’s Underbelly” became our central text, as it was clear that bringing digital and carbon footprints into the same arena is a relatively new area of inquiry. We looked at “ecoart”, works by artists such as Julian Oliver, that use an artistic medium to make a political statement as well as having a tangible effect on an ecology or environment. With ecoart in mind, we decided to create speculative products that would allow people to gather energy through green methods (solar, wind, hydro) to power their own social media, or internet usage.
I found it exciting to be working in an area of computational theory that seems quite new and unexplored, though I suspect in the future, interest will intensify. It brought together interests of mine that, at the outset, felt quite disparate, but I presume that is how many theoretical and especially computational theory frameworks appear. I realised in undertaking the research that there is much to be gleaned on this topic, and I feel it is particularly pertinent at this time in human history.