Geomedia Speaker Seriers - Jenny Sundén
VIBRANT MATTER, NETWORKED PRIVACY, AND LEAKY DATA
Against the backdrop of current discussions of GDPR, privacy rights, and data protection, this presentation engages with questions of privacy and agency in networked publics of humans and nonhumans. It uses as its point of departure examples of privacy breaches and data leaks in the world of networked sex toys, such as an incident in which a networked vibrator allegedly audio recorded their clients’ play sessions without express permission.
Without contesting the legal definitions of privacy, sensitive data, and data protection, nor those users who feel strongly about having had their rights (or even their bodies) violated, I want to make two points. The first point has to do with how the discussion at hand is underpinned by particular understandings of intimacy and privacy in ways that exclude forms of intimacy – such as queer or non-normative intimacies – that were never a fully private matter (and as such not worthy of protection). The second point concerns what it means to insist on intimacy as something tightly linked to privacy in the context of digital, networked technologies that in their very basic functions and protocols are everything but private, sealed, and safe.
Weaving together Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner’s (1998) classical essay “Sex in public” with a new materialist analysis of ‘vibrant matter’ (Bennett 2010) to understand the disobedience and willfulness of objects in toy-based sexual play, I ask: What does it mean to have an intimate moment when connected to a device, a medium, and a network that is by definition public (and promiscuous)? (cf. Chun 2016). And what does such intimate publicness mean within digital networks that are not only leaky, but also corporate? In other words, how can we claim private rights in public and corporate networks?
Date: September 12
Venue: MINERVA, Karlstad University
13.00 - 15.00: Presentation by Jenny Sundén
Closed seminar (Geomedia research group):
Date: September 13
9.00-12.00 Geomedia Research Group Presentations
12.00 – 13.00 Lunch