Mapping labour : Participatory practices as mode of inquiry in reconfiguring work

TRADERS hosts its second International Autumn School in Genk from the 10th – 13th of November 2015. This AS will explore the role of participatory art and design in the reconfiguration of labor in the post-fordist era. The workgroup in Performative Mapping will discuss art and design practices as potentially interesting modes of inquiry, analysis and debate – ones that are more interested in the underlying and hidden data, than data derived from sterile inquiries in which a rational response is given. We will do this by sharing our own practices in participatory and performative mapping and related socio-spatial approaches, and apply it to the context of Genk.

Brief of this working table:

Immaterial, affective and intellectual labor are increasingly important for producing value in the post-Fordist system (Lazzarato, 1996; Hardt and Negri, 2000). As example many of today’s workers are expected to constantly improve their technological knowledge, they are judged on their affective qualities, and new forms of unpaid labor and practices that produce diverse forms of knowledge are valued. Because of the geographically diffused and temporally fluid nature of these kinds of labor, cartographic practices are needed to politically put them on the map; recognising the significant role that they can play in the overall economy.

The participants of this workgroup are invited to share their own participatory practices or ones that they are particularly interested in. We will discuss their value for data collection and visualisation as a mode of inquiry that allows for a ‘thick description’ and we will look at the role that visual/other forms of representations can play in putting new forms of labor on the map.

The full progamme for this AS can be viewed here:…/uploads/2015/10/TRADERS_AS_PROGRAM1.pdf

Discussion Mapping labour : Participatory practices as mode of inquiry in reconfiguring work

  • Naomi Bueno de Mesquita

    De Stad als lab voor eigen verbetering. Interesting article related to the work that Living Lab in Genk is doing:

    What determines economic and social resilience of regions, and what are the opportunities for renewed growth and innovation in urban European regions? There has been a lively discussion on regional resilience after the crisis, but this article adds a couple of points that are currently under-addressed in the overal resilience debate. How can these points be (further) addressed and explored? I’m especially interested in further thoughts or examples of location based or serious games as important practices.

    The points mentioned in this article:

    1. The role that policy, institutions and instruments can play.

    2. The importance of the human scale. Who are the more resilient actors in a region? How can we measure well-being/ happiness? Can we compare different European regions?

    3. The question of how economic and social resilience depends on the way that a region is organising itself and diversifies relative dependence of positions in networks. As a large part of the local development depends on investment, trade relationships and knowledge elsewhere, the position one has in a network is crucial to shed light on.

    René Kemp (Maastricht University) examines the phenomenon of Urban Labs. The program is called URB @ Exp. It analyses how urban experiments contribute to the cities development and what lessons those experiences yield for ‘urban governance’ and eventually how good practice can be scaled-up.

    Interesting to investigate is the role that serious games or location based games can play in this context. Katharina Gugerell (University of Groningen), leads the program ‘play!UC. “Cities seen as systems are characterised by a high degree of complexity. Urban projects require the involvement of different stakeholders and actors. There is already a thing for developed, but challenges remain. How do you ensure that everyone involved in the long term and remains motivated? And how do you reach traditionally under-represented groups? We wonder whether serious games here have a useful role to play.”

    01.11.2015 — 12:41Yes(0)No(0)Reply

  • Teodora Constantinescu

    Playing with Urban Complexities _ Researching the role of games in re-valuing spaces for work

    The research is part of a bigger framework: a European funded research program: Play!UC – ‘Playing with Urban Complexity’ that aims to foster the understanding of complex urban problems by combining participatory processes with serious games in a co-located setting. In particular, Play!UC seeks to explore how game mechanics can be used to engage with citizens to make informed decisions on a series of urban issues such as the carbon footprint, emerging and informal economies and activating people in public space. These mechanics will be tested in a total of three Living Lab environments in Holland, Belgium and Austria, resulting in a tested suite of applicable game-based methods that can be used in urban development and other participatory contexts.

    Capacity building to map ecosystems
    The tacit knowledge and shared learning that is embedded in local networks is key to trace and understand emerging economic ecosystems (Ekynsmith, 2002; McRobbie, 2002) and gaining industry ‘know-how’. (Conventz et al., 2014).
    The hypothesis of the research proposal is that the uncovering of this knowledge, requires a process of capacity building among all the stakeholders involved. By capacity building we mean the process of improving the ability of people, organizations and institutions to (1) understand spatial transformation processes taking place in their environment and (2) act upon these processes, either individually or collectively.

    Games as medium to support capacity building
    Alternative means to collect data from the city for the city, based on a socio-engaging approach, specifically: investigating the use of games to build capacity, makes the subject of this thesis. This then leads to the following research questions: (1) How can games support the building of capacity among collectives of people to reflect over and understand the urban ecosystems they are part of? And (2) how can games help these collectives to act upon these systems?

    Serious games have been used in a variety of contexts to motivate engagement and promote the understanding of complex issues. In meeting these challenges, the research consists of an action based exploration, through iterative testing and description of games, observation and documentation. The iteration component will be organized around three phases: the exploration phase, the co-creation phase and the implementation phase of the game. A series of games will be used and/or developed to support reflection over the meaning of both workspace and value, with an emphasis on the role they play in re-valuating work and its spatial implications. The games will be developed in collaboration with the parallel research track, WeForWork, that complements the Play!UC objective.

    Beyond the Traditional Interview
    In order to gather data for the game prototypes , we are conducting a series of interviews. The purpose of these interviews based on practice is to explore the use of a visualization tool, both physical and non-digital, to shape personal social and economic networks. People’s representation of their networks, the aspects they want to show and the importance of this physical representation creation process in regards of revealing hidden relationships, will all be highlighted. Research is focused on building a recount meaning of a social context by a varied sample of participants and on the advancement of support and arbitration instruments, applicable to these constructions. The interviewing technique is to display ways in which people build privately meaningful recounts of their social networks as well as their interpretation of the economical ones by means of creating physical images of them. Private networks can be experienced physically and brought to light by building them with everyday materials; touch screens and PC monitors could never highlight these aspects to such extent, nor bring them to the focus of haptic and lived-experience awareness.

    Complementing the interviews we are developing the ‘Animated Urban Series’ comic ‘book’ that will visualise the different phases and activities of the research. The intention is to both document the process and test its potential to act as a tool in establishing a relationships between the research and locals.

    04.11.2015 — 19:08Yes(0)No(0)Reply