Critical Algorithm Studies: Ethnographic Approaches

Upcoming PhD symposium features anthropologist and STS scholar Nick Seaver, talking about Critical Algorithm Studies. Register now for this May 27, 2019 symposium!

/Living in/ A Methodology of Transgressiveness/

What’s the value of transgressiveness? The Skagen Institute annual conference offers opportunities you never thought you needed. Jannek Sommer offers a small riff in this post.

Speculating with predictive memory-making: The (Black) Box of Memories

At EASST, we used speculative science-fiction to think about current and future algorithms for memory-making. Through a fictional story and its analysis, we discuss the “black-box” metaphor, the business/entrepreneurial aspect of algorithms, and the conception of predictive memory-making.

Glitch Memory: Raising Ethical Questions

At Godsbanen, we retell a woman’s story, one year after she donated her memory to MoRM. On three screens, excerpts and meta-conversations are mutated and glitched algorithmically to raise questions about data degradation and the illusion of the representational archive.

The Un-archivable and the Sound of Forgetting

As we scavenged through public repositories to build the base for our sound installation, we didn’t have any trouble finding stuff. But we struggled to find ways of adequately including or representing memories that are not archived, or could never be archived.


This network of researchers brings together people from industry and academia to explore how we’re building possible futures through our everyday activities of talking, researching, curating, writing, and teaching. These ‘methods’ we use to make sense of our world also shape our future, for ill or good. How can we intervene in this process, to build more sustainable, ethically sensible futures? What do we want to become? Projects and meetings within this network strive to connect practices of inquiry with larger social structures of knowledge and action.


Future Making explores creative and transgressive approaches to thinking about scientific and humanistic inquiry practices. We believe that pushing against established disciplinary, methodological, and epistemological boundaries is essential to building robust attitudes and practices within cultures that are ever more impacted by digital media, global networks of connectivity, and technological mediation.


This inter and multi-disciplinary research group is part of the Cultural Transformations Research Programme. Anyone interested in these issues is welcome to join. We have research members from multiple countries, from both academic and non-academic research contexts. To gain the most benefit, members should expect to attend at least one meeting of the research group annually.


Through a range of ongoing projects, we engage in proactive, future-oriented research that asks such questions as:

Museum of Random Memory (MoRM)

How ­is memory-making influenced by platforms like Google, Facebook, or basic photo management software on our computers or smartphones sort and organize our images? How do companies track us and create memories on our behalf?

Creating future memory

How can citizens better use ethnographic and phenomenology methods to analyse their own lived experience? How can they develop tools to understand, explore, curate their own big data?

The Institute of (im)Possible Subjects

How do we trans nationally exchange visual cultures and social justice through media and technoscapes?

Education: The day after tomorrow

How can we merge playful experimentation with educational models to foster critical thinking and digital literacies for future entrepreneurs and world citizens?

Produsing Ethics for the digital (near) future

How can academic researchers lend their intellectual strengths and energies to more directly help create better ethical futures?

The Skagen Institute

Where are the safe spaces for playful and innovative experimentation in methodologies? How might academic institutions value innovative forms of knowledge production?

Tracing the Circulation of Communicative Objects

How do different stakeholder groups circulate digital communication objects and what are the implications for the constitution of different kinds of publics?

Visuality, Culture, Method

How do we approach visuality as a topic of analysis and, in turn, how can we use incorporate the visual in the conduct of our research?

All the Feels

This project studies lived experience of digital platforms. Researchers draw on a range of phenomenological, visual analysis, ethnographic, and grounded theory methodologies to reveal granular details of everyday life in digitally-saturated societies.


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