Category: Science and Technology

Prayer against the surveillance state

The colourful ceilings of Mumbai’s taxis, from @thegreaterbombay. Image description: A diptych showing two pictures side by side. The first picture shows the ceiling inside a taxi, in colourful floral pattern with black background covering 1/3 of the whole frame. Visible also is the partial face of a woman in scarf, who also looks down at […]

Holding ourselves accountable

“Anatomy of an AI System“, diagram and essay by Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler that attempts to chart all the human labour, data, and planetary resources used to create an Amazon Echo device. From Data Feminism. I just finished reading this brilliant book by data scientists Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren Klein called Data Feminism, where it […]

A sort of joy

In 2015, the data visualisation firm The Office For Creative Research (OCR), collaborated with the theatre troupe Elevator Repair Service (ERS) to craft a live performance called A Sort of Joy, using the metadata from MoMA’s collection database — all 123,951 of them — as the source material for its script. The performance seemed innocent at […]

No such thing as neutrality

There has never been Palestine on Google Maps. I had been reading Ibram X. Kendi’s How To Be An Antiracist over the weekend and was struck at how much of his central argument — that there is no such thing as neutrality — should always be one of the tenets and cautionary tales when dealing with technology. […]

Suppose your side had won

Chiharu Shiota, A Room of Memorya, 2009 This week I learned that in about 55 days we were stuck at home quarantining, people 2000 years ago had taken the same length of time to travel from London to Constantinople by donkey and civilian boats in spring by the least amount of denarii possible. It was crazy how (surprise!) capitalism and […]

Worry stone

The week after successfully defending my PhD thesis, my life fell into its normal routine — which is to say in this current global pandemic, still hadn’t secured a job, depleting financial savings, worried of my mother’s health and mine in this neverending purgatory, and ready to guard the house in a kebaya on Eid […]

The Forster room

The Soviet control room (Picture credit) After I was turned away at the hypermarket in a manner that is quite rude and distasteful in my opinion, I turned to Shopee, a Singaporean e-commerce portal which sells all sorts of things — from electrical appliances to everyday things and groceries — and gets these things delivered […]

Dinosaurs in love

Another valuable thing I learned from my doctoral journey is somehow developing this tendency to ask more ‘productive’ questions — productive, in which I define as would involve actionable steps, rather than just treating the means as an end. These questions are more than (in the context of social network platforms usage in protest movements) […]

How to make contrails

I finished reading Doris Lessing’s book of essays Prisons We Choose to Live Inside today. It is only 76 pages long, and it contains the essays Lessing had written for the 1985 Massey Lectures. In one of the essays called Group Minds — which is an observation of how hard one would be able to […]