Urban AirQ plaatsing sensors

Making Sense of Sensor-environments

How do sensors impact the environment and society? On Friday April 21 and Saturday April 22, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Waag Futurelab organise the living lab Making Sense of Sensor-environments.

Making Sense of Sensor-environments 

The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Waag Futurelab organise the two day living lab: Making Sense of Sensor-environments. The living lab will serve as an interactive platform for exchange, experimentation, dialog and learning. We will meet at the VU Amsterdam and combine scholarly reflection with hands-on, embodied sense-making practices. Using our bodies and sensing technology as a foundation, we will consider the air quality around us and discuss what sensor data and sensing practices can mean for governance, public health and policy. This is a unique opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds and learn more about the world of sensors and how they impact our daily lives. We will explore small-scale local solutions to global challenges in an informal, friendly and active environment.

Day 1: Workshop (full)

In this workshop we will explore two different sensing practices to explore our local living environment. We will start with a common introduction, then break up into two groups for the workshops, so one group first starts from the perspective of technology and the other from the perspective of embodiment. Afterwards we exchange.

By using sensor technology we can gather information about our surroundings and make aspects of our living environment visible that could not easily be seen. Using citizen science air quality sensors we will measure our surroundings and collect data on air quality. During a walk we explore how we use technology and how we interpret data. A series of questions will guide along the walk. What does the data tell us? But also: what does it not tell us? Does the data influence our emotions or actions? Which choices have been made in the technology that influence our understanding of our surroundings?

Our bodies are perhaps one of the most spectacular sensing ‘technologies’ out there. Not only are we able to combine input from multiple senses at the same time, but we can also couple this with our memory, knowledge-base and speculative capacities. We will explore how our interpretations are part of the insights we collect. By documenting our findings in an innate subjective way, we aim to collectively question what you can observe if you leave room for your own embodied notions and references. Also we discuss how this could inform data sensing practices, policy and research; whether that be for the purpose of science, art or governance.

Program Friday April 21:

10:00-11:00 hrs: welcome and introduction

11:00-12:15 hrs: Workshop round 1

13:00-14:15 hrs: Workshop round 2

14:15-15:15 hrs: Reflection, exchange and closing discussion

This event will be in English.

Day 2: Symposium

During the symposium, international researchers will present their on-going projects on sensor technology, and embed the workshop in larger debates about sensor cultures and justice. We'll be talking about how sensors impact the environment and society, and how we can use them to build a more equitable future. We'll also be exploring how to use sensors in ways that are sustainable, and how to develop new tools to make them more accessible. This is a chance for us to come together and discuss what we've learned and how we can use it to shape the future.

Program Saturday April 22:

09:30-10:00 hrs: Opening and welcome

10:00-10:45 hrs: Roundtable discussion Sensor Literacy and the Politics of Sensing

11:00-12:20 hrs: Panel 1 Challenging the Unseen and Unheard in Sensor Technologies

12:20-13:15 hrs: Lunch

13:15-14:15 hrs: Panel 2 Interfacing Digitality: Tactics & Critiques in a Networked World

14:30-15:45 hrs: Panel 3 Governing Space with Sensor Media

16:00-17:00 hrs: Panel 4 Sensing (and) the More-than-Human

17:15-18:00 hrs: Roundtable discussion Sensor-Media & Infrastructure Imaginaries

18:00-18:10 hrs: Closing remarks

This event will be in English.

Making Sense of Sensor-environments is organised by Dr. Sebastian Scholz, Dr. Marek Jancovic and Dr. Jolanda Veldhuis (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) in collaboration with Waag Futurelab.







Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam


Thermo-staat is financed by NWO, TAUW Foundation and NPO Innovation.