What is the overarching area of research?
Digital witnessing and the politics of seeing.
What are the key questions or queries you will address?
Who makes this work we digitally witness and for what purpose? If it can be perceived as activist computational art, what, if any, effect has it had on its subjects? I will be critically analysing Lynette Wallworth’s VR film “Collisions”, and two works by SBS Australia, interactive video “My Grandmother’s Lingo” and interactive graphic novel “The Boat”. I am interested in unpacking the complex nature of being a digital witness; how one in the West can choose to engage or ignore; how the existence of technologies, truly everything we touch and use each day, have hidden and obscured consequences; how we, as humans, have a responsibility to use technology and our ability to witness digitally to change the world, to amplify the voices of those who have and continue to be silenced.
Why are you motivated to undertake this project?
I am fascinated by the politics of seeing, the geopolitics of privilege and the idea that computational art can give audiences immersive experiences that cross political, social, cultural and in ways, physical borders. The effects of scaling such borders exist on a spectrum, ranging from immensely positive intervention and support (potentially construed as “white saviours”) to fetishising violence and death, and exploiting vulnerable, persecuted or stranded persons or groups. I am interested in delving into these complex undercurrents, specifically looking at computational artworks that hinge on the idea of witnessing.
What theoretical frameworks will you use in your work to guide you?
I will be guided by Digital Witnessing and Geopolitics to situate and contextualise the investigated ideas and artworks, with specific focus on those who have an interest in obscuring information, those that seek to make it visible, and those that are affected by the actions of the aforementioned parties. I will also be utilising Archival Theory to consider how specific narratives are documented, both historically and online, or not documented, and how the internet has and will continue to revolutionise the way information is disseminated.
What theoretical frameworks will you use in the analysis of your project?
I will be approaching my topic through the lens of Feminist TechnoScience and Intersectional Technology Studies, considering ideas of privilege, colourism, colonialism, the politics of forgetfulness (Verges) and how computational activist art approaches and encompasses these concepts.