Polly put the kettle on, Sukey take it off again: Mapping a techno-mobile protest
This presentation will draw on some preliminary research undertaken last year (2011) exploring the implications of a new mobile geospatial application called Sukey. Firstly it will lay the groundwork for digital technology’s centrality in a new kind of political arena, roughly sketching out the historical background to Sukey’s deployment in late-2010 and continuing relevance in the midst of global political unrest. This will involve interrogating the necessity of digital technology vis-à-vis the ‘playful’ dimension of protest. With this done, I will dissect the application itself, pointing towards it’s functionality as a mobile, ‘real-time’ and collaborative tool. Then, by way of my training in Human Geography and ‘critical cartography’ I will characterise Sukey’s mediatory role in shaping spatial practices. In conceiving the application as a generative device that brings ‘new kinds of sensing’ (Thrift 2004: 271) I will look to develop an interdisciplinary approach that harnesses the impact of those in the field of ‘digital play’ and those in Political and Geographical fields. By way of conclusion I will map out the future potential of research into protest applications, open-source projects and the ‘hackspaces’ that serve as experimental laboratories for computer programmers, coders and social activists.
Sam Hind has an interest in politics, technology, space and play. He has a background in Geography, having graduated in 2010 from the University of Manchester, UK. An MSc. in Geographical Information Science (GIS) the following year crystallized an interest in these broad thematic categories. Although his work has gone through a number of conceptual phases, he maintains a commitment to ‘non-representational’ and performative approaches. His postgraduate dissertation explored the playful and performative role of a digital mapping technology during urban protest, and future work is intended to follow from this preliminary research.