Over twenty years ago, the Internet of Things was coined to describe the instrumentation of all things, from the natural to the manufactured, allowing distributed sensing and control. Today the Architecture Media Politics and Society conference recovers the term countryside to explore the parallels and mutual influences across urban-rural relationships. As data feeds (social, environmental and economic) continue to surface through new internet platforms, our entanglement with the countryside becomes more complex. Chris will explore how a series of recent projects reframe countryside as country-side through an agential realist framework’s intra-actions (Barad). Agential realism is an onto-epistemology concerned with immanent, material knowledge. Material knowledge is entwined with the world’s continuous differential becoming inseparable from observational and measuring apparatuses such as data feeds from people, devices, and the land. Fraught with the problems that all ‘cartesian machines’ bring with them, Chris introduces prototypes, including a coffee machine with its own wallet that needs your help buying the most ethical coffee beans, to a hairdryer that chooses the right time for you to blow dry your hair according to the needs of the environment, and an app that places you into smart contracts with earthquakes – anywhere in the world.
Prof. Chris Speed FRSE, is Chair of Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh where he collaborates with a wide variety of partners to explore how design provides methods to adapt and create products and services within a networked society. Chris directs the Institute for Design Informatics that is home to a combination of researchers working across the fields of interaction design, temporal design, anthropology, software engineering and digital architecture, as well as the PhD, MA/MFA and MSc and Advanced MSc programmes. He is Director of the Creative Informatics R&D Partnership and Co-I to the Next Stage Digital Economy Centre DECaDE led by Surrey with the Digital Catapult. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2020.