Thursday, October 27, 2005

Martin Sønderlev Christensen checking in, check it out!

Hi INCITE aassociates and casual blogreaders. Encouraged by kat I thought I might shortly introduce myself as I have the privilege, not only to have access to this blog, but also currently to be associated with the INCITE group for a couple of months - October and November that is.

I normally reside in Copenhagen, where I’m currently doing the final stages of my PhD at the IT University of Copenhagen, so my visit at Surrey and INCITE is mainly one of getting away on my own for writing, and to see how research is done outside the configuration of my “normal” environment, which on a private note includes wife and two kids.

I should note here that I’m not a sociologist by training or by heart, my background is in Nordic literature and film/media studies – though I have while doing my master degree and within my PhD mainly concerned myself with what “goes on” between people and technology within late modernity from a cultural critic perspective. Including here the macro sociological thinking of Giddens, Beck, Lash and the lot of them. So while I haven’t had the micro-level empirical encounters as I find so prominent within INCITE, and that I have come to acknowledge that I would have liked to do, I do share the critical approach to technology positioned largely in Philosophy of Technology - mainly Andrew Feenbeerg, Don Ihde which in its (post)phenomenological outset has many threads to the works of Latour and Harraway – so the link is there I sense to core INCITE curriculum.

As for my project, it revolves around the concept of affect, which I approach as a central notion that has come to define what people do with and through technology and to some extend also what technology it self has become, an augmentation of our affect, our “outer” body rather than our effective rational one.

Affect is here understood not as a merely emotion, though it does point to the fact that people (formerly known as users) increasingly create, share and coordinate their experiences of everyday life through mobile and social computing. I therefore look at the ubiquitous mobile phones, digital photography sharing, blogs and subtract a number of characteristics from the use of these technologies allowing me to form a “genre” depiction denoted “Personal Affective Media Technologies” and I subdivide my study into three main parts of enquiry:

Firstly, what I call “Affective mediation”, how people connect to other people through technology? Covering mediated communication within social and cultural realm. Secondly "affective attachment", how do people connect to technology? Concerning the design of theses technologies - the interaction and the aesthetics of the genre. And Thirdly “affective augmentation” how do technology connect to people? Enabling me to reform a framework for seeing human technology relations as affect.

Affect here is rather a social and cultural phenomenon that allows us to critically talk about ways that people are enabled or imposed towards new ways of using technology – and to discuss the cultural implications as well as the aesthetical forms that follows from affective technological forms of life, to refrain Scott Lash. As it might be apparent from this the project is way to broad (and someway in between too ambitious and too naïve). Yet I feel it only covers half of the interesting and problematic issues I find in that critically important field where people and technology relations emerge and evolve.

Well that’s pretty much it. Only a few acknowledgement and your free to continue into the blogosphere. I would like to use the opportunity to thank all of INCITE particularly Nina and Katrina for being so open minded and helpful to bring me to UK and into the group, providing me ample space to work, knowing that I might be working from a different tradition and in different ways – it speaks highly for their academic openness and personal kindness. Also to Kris, Gerard, Steve and not least Sandeep for pleasant meetings. Now, it seems like I’m saying goodbye when this was suppose to be hallo.
Well, I’ll be around for another month before head home, so there are still time for more interaction, and if you, dear blogreader, have caught interest in my work OR find it deeply disturbing, you are most welcome to contact me on

all the best,