Domestic data: towards an aesthetics of intimate resistance

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract / Description of output

During 2020, one perhaps unexpected impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and rules restricting people to their homes, was the increased engagement and adoption of Virtual Reality (VR) technologies, for both commercial and leisure purposes. In September 2020, Facebook launched its next generation VR platform, the Oculus Quest 2 with greatly improved performance, but major criticism is directed at prerequisite of a Facebook account to use the device, imposing users commit to the company's ecology of data-collection. Notwithstanding the data-capture of bodies in motion where "spending 20 minutes in a VR simulation leaves just under 2 million unique recordings of body language" (Bailenson 2018), the Oculus Quest is effectively a head mounted room-scanning device, algorithmically analysing the environment and its contents to spatially determine position and movement.

In the context of VR technology in the home emerges an arrangement of machine visioning hosted by the movement of the user in space, proposing the performance of an intersectional body-space hybrid of machinic aesthetics. The informatic condition maps body-space to domestic/intimate, where under the home the domestic and intimacy are of the same order, but rendered as contradiction through the techno-viewing apparatus. Notwithstanding the specifics of VR, the troubling of domestic/intimate is also amplified by the further digital re-configurations of space that has alienated people from the domestic environments through the mass deployment of webcam-based 'Working From Home' practices necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The domestic home, traditionally a retreat from work and labour, is institutionalised and its intimate status now precarious and dislocated.

This paper presents practice-based research that interrogates the contradiction of domestic/intimate as rendered under the hybridisation of body-space machine aesthetics. Experimenting with digital design practices of 3d printing and photogrammetry, the research explores aesthetics paradigms - such as the glitch - as means for actualising machine viewing to expose its intersectional potential, and establish the materialist characteristic of the domestic/intimacy contradiction.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2021
Event11th New Materialist Informatics International Conference - University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany
Duration: 23 Mar 202125 Mar 2021


Conference11th New Materialist Informatics International Conference

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • digital intimacy
  • photogrammetry
  • cyborg
  • new materialism
  • virtual reality
  • surveillance capitalism


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