On 19 June 2014, Citizen Sense participated in “The Practice of Entanglement” panel in the event series, “Transmissions and Entanglements,” organised by Kat Jungnickel. The Citizen Sense presentation included an overview of the project and introduction of the work that has been developed so far, from a review of literature and practices, to a research on practice based methods, testing existing air quality monitoring kits, as well as the development of monitoring workshops and walking seminars. The presentation also introduced the current research on fracking that has been undertaken in the last months, making special emphasis in the entanglement methods developed to collaborate with citizens, scientists and other research groups.
As one example a live transmission practice, the Citizen Sense project presented the AirCasting DIY kit that it has been testing, which is a platform that senses, records and maps air quality data in real time. We displayed the readings that were recorded from a walk undertaken the previous day, displayed through a mobile app and web platform. And we collectively inquired about the type of data that we were collecting, the interferences that the device and sensors may have generated, and how this changed the readings that were output.
In the panel discussion, we further considered the various ways in which local expertise might be engaged with, how to manage expectations in relation to what environmental monitoring may be able to accomplish, and how to consider the life of sensors within a material and environmental perspective.
Citizen Sense further addressed the ways in which experience influences and changes what counts as evidence. When citizens are leaving nearby unconventional natural gas infrastructure, for instance, how do their experiences inform monitoring practices and the forms of data generated? And in the absence of governmental or industry monitoring or publicly accessible data, how do citizen initiatives to generate environmental monitoring data mobilise discussions about air quality and its impact on health?
The discussion of experience as generating new registers of and encounters with what counts as evidence builds on Jennifer Gabrys’s work in this area on speculative modes of data. This work has been presented as “Pollution Sensing and Fracking: Reworking Environmental Monitoring through Speculative Research and Practice,” at the British Sociological Association in Leeds (25 April 2014), and at a roundtable on speculation at Goldsmiths (3 May 2014).