Beneath and Beyond Big Data: Helen Nissenbaum, Kazys Varnelis, and Trebor Scholz

Conversation between Helen Nissenbaum and Kazys Varnelis, Moderated by Trebor Scholz
April 28, 2012

In April 2012, the League presented Beneath and Beyond Big Data, a symposium — co-organized by Omar Khan, Trebor Scholz, and Mark Shepard — to celebrate the publication of the final issue in the Situated Technologies Pamphlets Series. The half-day event addressed current issues surrounding situated technologies and the increasing entanglement of data, technology, and the built environment, and identified future trajectories for their evolution.

The afternoon began with a conversation between pamphlet authors Helen Nissenbaum and Kazys Varnelis, moderated by Trebor Scholz, addressing the redefinition of privacy in the age of big data and the networked, geo-spatial environment, and questioning the implications for the construction of contemporary subjectivity.

Helen Nissenbaum is Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, and Computer Science, at New York University, where she is also Senior Faculty Fellow of the Information Law Institute. Her book Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life accounts for privacy threats posed by IT and digital medial systems in terms of the theory of contextual integrity. She is co-author, with Kazys Varnelis, of Situated Technologies Pamphlet 9: Modulated Cities: Networked Spaces, Reconstituted Subjects.

Kazys Varnelis is the Director of the Network Architecture Lab at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. He is editor of books including Networked Publics (MIT Press, 2008), The Infrastructural City: Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles (Actar, 2009), and The Philip Johnson Tapes (The Monacelli Press, 2008). He is co-author, with Helen Nissenbaum, of Situated Technologies Pamphlet 9: Modulated Cities: Networked Spaces, Reconstituted Subjects.

Trebor Scholz is a scholar, artist, organizer, and chair of the conference series The Politics of Digital Culture at The New School, where he also teaches in the Department of Culture and Media Studies. Scholz is co-organizer of the Situated Technologies Project and is co-author, with Laura Y. Liu, of Situated Technologies Pamphlet 7: From Mobile Playgrounds to Sweatshop City.