Luna Runa (dir.) The Pools of Cosmas, by Apollonia Isadora the Elder, image courtesy of the author, 2018.
In the imagined future posited in my research, the term “data wilding” refers to the phenomenon of making data donations as a form of civic sit-in.
Data wilding was started by people-in-transit, as opposed to migrants and displaced people, at the big-hit providers of free and reliable resources around globe, like Starbucks. The mobility and productivity of people-in-transit had become increasingly scattered across time zones, cityscapes, and digital platforms. The securities of their citizenships withered. There were no spaces in which to place their concerns between the fields of social networks. Still, they refused to support the rising demands for remunerations of user data during the AI training boom. Instead, they prefigured a politics of data creation in the modality of contribution, civic action, and social investment. Data wilding was, therefore, the instantiating ritual of the communities. It signified the grafting of histories and movements from networking profiles into open-access totem poles of situated conviviality. The ritual of donating data at the data wildings took on a social mythic quality, like funerals and coming of age ceremonies. When data was donated, something new formed.
Notes from a Data Wilding Witness, Communities 2072
We use transdermal replenishment for our data absorption. We smear the gels over our haired bellies and porous breathed walls to make our skins rise, chemical chords plump, and internal organs throb. The menthol smell heightens our sensitivity to the unfamiliar port as our band clusters on its long-hardened duff grounds. Winds whip from the site’s loops as we friction ourselves against the surfaces for our multimodal embodiment encoding. Every ritual of donation reminds us - we are not our data.
It takes the band longer than usual to make it to this site. Little sounds shuffle between the 8 of us mixed-sentients as we embrace each other to form our key-pattern to get through the entrance. Tender to energy smoothing for our immersion, wondering who we will summon to be in our play, wondering the scene to come inside of the port conjured up between us. We are in now and we shake out our many limbs, the lightest of us finds the site’s small craft antenna first. In unison our guts utter HUFF , punching the antenna into the tunnel-tube to connect our donation to the data repository. From the outside, our band becomes one molecule, giving and receiving securely with the port that will soon be uniquely amorphous. The reciprocal receptacle for skins we will never know like we know each others. Yet, we all live by these vibrations fortnightly.
It was my turn to guide the band’s contributions to each other. The port’s organs take care of swaddling our environmental conduction as swarm-charge for the our gift to the repository. In preparation to give, I listen: My name is Luna Runa, I have many names. I am a conductor of the spaces for perspective. I am a space-time-opener. I don’t make them - I don’t enter them. I guide to the edges and show that they are not walls. We lean in.
Close the eyes and imagine our puddles. They expand into pools and the salted water in which we float today. Backs arc and band member waves glide towards each others until they meet, collide, combine, move through. We lap on the surface to the blank texture of the host- port’s sentient walls, now horizontal from the incantation’s vibration.
Architectures for no possession are ideal for rituals of abundant presence. Information secretion flourishes. Without stockpiling, we share, deposit, and pass on. Floating animism. Visceral exchange of pure energy is honesty.
Before us, not everyone could hold the empty position in the pouring vessel. Hoarders wanted subjecthood. But, hoarders were heavy and their links rotted. The fact seekers were purged. We no longer live with our dead.
2018 : 2072
data mining : data wilding
truth/reality : honesty/situated presence
production : pure gift
humans : sentients
mind/body : floating animism
General Data Protection Regulation : Band Data Vulnerability Embodiment
Data wilding indicates a period of transition in the dominant understandings of value-objects and meaning-making. This is a transition from modes of production and commodity exchange to modes of exchange and gift pooling (Kojin Karatani, The Structure of World History ). Small nomadic bands of mixed beings move from port to port of reclaimed sites. The bands decide to keep the deep learning technology using emotion recognition and biometric sensors. These were technologies built originally to extract data for training owned- algorithms that focused on accuracy by way of mass data accumulation in order to produce and expand. Now, the bands practice data-embodiment as emergent meaning-making, together as the band and with the place-based technology. The focus is to bear honesty, presence, and authentic relating, rather than training for accuracy as a means to control and accumulate. There is no ownership, no permanent hierarchy, no subject, no city. Affective charges of the conscious and nonconscious between organisms-environments are the information read as data and life-resource, the commitment to pointing beyond a self(-as subject) to co-constitution as energy-between (Mark Johnson, The Meaning of the Body) . Charges of this life-resource shoot between the ports, moving for up to 14 days. Then, any remains die. This is repetitive process. Heritage is practiced in the living tradition of the data wilding ritual.
Working with the methods of creative writing and collage illustration, I explore the spirit and affect of architectures, geographies, social organizations, and cultures as the creative practice of my PhD research that is co-conducted with my traditional academic humanities methodology.
This is an aesthetic investigation and world-building taking the form of a fictional narrative. It is inspired by popular media pitches, television show bibles and fiction canons, LARPs (Live Action Role Play) games, body-aware- ness exercise tropes (e.g., mindfulness apps, ASMR videos, guided yoga), and Byzantine and Mannerist paintings. I employ devices of allegory, symbolism, iconography, post-internet grotesque and chimeras. The work aims to cross myth, folklore, fantasy fiction and reality TV: adamantly not dystopia, and not utopia. It hopes to stoke a genre of new sincerity and pop-mutuality, as images of power and exchange in differently embodied modalities and mandates for the future.
- Proposition of magic and the gift as modalities of social power and the engagement of vulnerability with security as social formation: a gift, obligation, mandate.
- Consideration of a post-data-as- labour economy and an eclipsing of the pop-culture post-truth fanfare into an economics of exchange through embodied honesty and presence - that is, as one always in position to an other, among others. Where the former orientations have a drive of prediction by fear, might the latter of honesty and presence as the plane upon which social re- production manifests and roves, liberate the functions of prediction as imagining and imposing imagined futures as realities into something else?
- As there have been contemporary gestures in cognitive neuroscience that argue for the embodied mind, can a parallel motion of exploration of embodied data?
- Donating data, to whom? While the act of data donation sustains livelihoods and animates the
social as domestic architectures, it asks if a shift from inhabiting a reality of I-It to I-Thou, a world of animism, substantiate relational, roving social polises, differently patterning memory, identity, and subjecthood to the greater social and planetary body: the sacrifice of information knowledge as gift with AI?
- How could rituals of common embodiment, a building of muscle memory as cultural practice, liberate the human hold on prediction to be adopted other formations, such as responsive architectures? What could be cultural practices of embodiment and processing, of images of the world within and by future zones, like fully-automated spaces?🝏