Confinement Day 4

Feels like the emotional aspect of Covid19 and self-isolation is hitting home now. I think I was running on adrenalin for ages, getting everything ready for self-isolation. Now the tiredness and numbness is rising. Writing the first blog on this yesterday was helpful. Thank you. I realised that fear and tension were lurking in my being and I had to breathe them out, channel them, address them, rest… or this wasn’t going to be sustainable.

Confinement Day 4

Confinement Day 3

Hackney Flashers Collective (1978)

I was going to start blogging a research diary anyway but there is a whole extra urgency to that now under Covid19 confinement. I’m working at home with my little one, and my Dad will be joining us once we have all completed quarantine. Working as a single parent (and carer) regularly feels a like mission impossible. Now in self-isolation, the level of difficulty has now zoomed up again onto a radically higher level.

Confinement Day 3

Who are the Storytellers?

In parallel with the storytelling themes, I’m asking Who are the Storytellers? as a way of proactively problem-solving some intersectional issues in the research project. For example, key literature regarding my fieldwork with Decidim Barcelona has a very limited range of authors in terms of gender. In contrast, during my fieldwork, I could see many women authoring and creating Decidim Barcelona. And of course if we are going to look at gender, we also have to look at the full range of intersectionality (race, class, dis/ability, caring responsibilities, etc.). In order to recognise a more accurate range of authors and creators, I am working with a broader idea of authorship in my research, and developing the profile of the Storytellers alongside the Storytelling themes. And I’m also trying to connect with my own lived experience (especially my caring responsibilities) and articulate how all those intersectionalities come together in the research process.

To be continued…

Storytelling Research #1

I’m submerged in the analysis phase of my Collective Intelligence PhD and I’m enjoying the feeling of getting intimate with the concepts, turning them over in my mind’s eye and diving into the thoughts of the people who allowed my research to enter their world: the organising team of Decidim, the offline-online participatory democracy project of the City of Barcelona.

Work will start going public soon and I’m excited to develop storytelling tactics to give the material the best chance of travelling on it’s own two feet.

I’m working on three storytelling devices to carry all the more technical, formal and less accessible detail (outlined below). Meanwhile, I’m also exploring the question of Who are the Storytellers? as a way of addressing intersectionality in an integrated and pro-active way.

Storytelling Research #1

Learning Gephi from Zero #4: conceptual networks in Gephi and Arc diagrams

Gephi conceptual network by Pablo Aragon

I have some relatively advanced work on a “universe” of concepts around Collective Intelligence. Many very different politics surface in a collective intelligence space, from a Brexity “Will of the People” to Zapatista inspired swarming strategies. Mapping out these concepts has many uses, and potentially it help us navigate the kind of “cognitive slippage” between left and right popular approaches. For any map to be accessible and actually usable for a wide range of people, it needs to be attractive, intuitive and easy to use. Data visualisation techniques seem key here, which leads us to Gephi, and also “Arc Diagram” code which I found through the brilliant Dictionary of the Revolution project.

Learning Gephi from Zero #4: conceptual networks in Gephi and Arc diagrams

How do you define collective intelligence?

Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND

Many versions of collective intelligence are active around us. From the social media Hive Mind, to wikipedia’s Wisdom of the Crowd, to the ant colonies under our feet, to Extinction Rebellion’s swarming tactics, to talk of citizen assemblies solving Brexit or even climate change. To name but a few. My PhD aims to organise different conceptualisations and manifestations of collective intelligence into written and visual meta-analysis. In the wider video work, I am also working with audio-visual analysis and am currently exploring “The Sound of the Hive”. In other words, exploring an understanding of collective intelligence and the hive, through sound and patterns of sounds.

How do you define collective intelligence?