Affective Cartographies: Visualizing Affective Infrastructures of Control in the “Networked” Society

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
A.T. KINGSMITH, York University, Canada
Julian VON BARGEN, York University, Canada
William JAQUES, York University, Canada
We begin from the assumption that bio-sensorial changes are an indication of ‘affective’ intensity and fluctuation, (Massumi, 2015). These biorhythms can be added to an existing assortment of health metrics developed in the quantified-self-movement — what Moore & Robinson (2015) call the ‘dataist self’ — as well as by corporate and state interests, to build detailed profiles of people as individuals, dividuals, and populations. Entrenched and multivalent, these biorhythmic technologies (hardware, interfaces) and self-quantification (disciplinary apparatuses, sensorial regimes) appear to offer the colossal possibility of being able to record emotional states anywhere in the world (what we call “Affective Cartographies”) through their emphases on self-management, rational self-optimization, and technologies-of-the-self as add ons to, and thus not co-constitutive of, human and social becomings, (Deleuze, 1992; Rheingold 2002; Galloway, 2006; Turner, 2008; Morozov, 2010; Danter et al, 2016).

Drawing from theories of spatial production (Lefebvre, 1991) and deploying modern technology, our project attempts to map emotional reactions to constructed spaces and aesthetic encounters. We ask, in what ways is it possible to map the affective impact of highly ordered urban environments emerging across a network of global cities (Sassen, 1991) central to neoliberalism and what might such maps reveal about the role of spacial construction in controlling flows of subjectivity? To optimize this experiment we designed and built an Affective Mapping Device (AMD), which is a portable and wearable tool recording electrocardiography, (heart rate), electrodermal activity, (skin moisture), and electromyography (motor neurons), while a GPS records the spatial location of the wearer as they pass through moments where these affective intensities occur. Our hypothesis is that through a blending of biosensoric information, geographical positioning, and phenomenological encounters such embodiments will help us to re-visualize the affective infrastructures of control in the “networked” society.