CISP Online

Blog of the Centre for Invention & Social Process, Goldsmiths

Heart Beats: Biological Data and Feminist Sciences




Nassim JafariNaimi and Anne Pollock

22 November 2018 16.30 – 18.30 

Goldsmiths RHB 304a



This paper presents the design of a series of experimental data visualizations aimed at exploration of embodied interactions and physiological data. More specifically, we present three visualizations. The first one, which will be demonstrated during the event, illustrates physiological interaction with emotionally engaging material. The second one explores the experience of time by centring the rate of heartbeats. The third one foregrounds the impact of the environment on physiology and its role in creating a kind of embodied social connection. Together, these three visualizations open up space for new problem formulations and design explorations in and around the themes of data and embodiment by collapsing classic binaries such as matter/meaning, subjectivity/objectivity, and self/other. As such, they challenge the dominant paradigm of science in which bodies are framed as sites for extracting data. Our visualizations are an occasion for thinking about bodies as active participants in “making” data, with potential for producing alternate hypotheses and new sciences that are distinctly feminist.



Nassim JafariNaimi is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech. Her research interest is in the ethical and political dimensions of design and technology, especially as related to questions of democracy and justice. Her  interdisciplinary research integrates theoretically-driven humanistic scholarship and design-based inquiry. That is, she both writes traditional scholarly papers and make digital artifacts that illustrate how humanistic values may be cultivated to produce radically different artifacts and infrastructures.

Anne Pollock is a Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College London. Her research is rooted in science and technology studies, and focuses on biomedicine and culture, theories of race and gender, and science and social justice. She is the author of Medicating Race: Heart Disease and Durable Preoccupations with Difference (Duke 2012), and Synthesizing Hope: Matter, Knowledge and Place in South African Drug Discovery (forthcoming Chicago 2019).

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