Introducing some ideas around observation


Many things we have been doing is about ways of knowing. This includes method and tools. It could also be a methodology such as critique, asking questions about ideology. 
We are trying to think about how our methods of knowing impact what we know, and what do we do with this knowledge.

Hoe does observation impacts what is being observed. Londa Schiebinger on colonial botany ( & ). Why does some knowledge travel, and why other knowledge doesn't. So it is not only about what knowledge, but also how it travels or gets erased. 

Schiebinger uses the term 'agnotology' to introduce the where and whys of not knowing, in a way the opposite of etymology.

The main prompt of the observatory is 'software', but it is interesting that when we tried to define it we found many definitions but the first maybe comes through legal definition.

We ad some trouble defining, deciding what software is. What is and isn't software. 

Some of the methods that are emerging, are for example:

* Interviews
* Thick description
* Performing systems
* Detournement
* Zenitist interface analysis
* Instrumentation
* Boomerang method
* Vivisection

Software as a critique as a service. 

But what are the power relations of observation? The history of social sciences has links to colonialism. To call yourself an observer, what relation do you set up? How do we get to the 'larger' questions?
How to think for example about the way Google holds the a neo-colonialist position?

So ... what methods of observation are available to us?
observation has a colonial history, and becomes tool through colonial history

Refs/ Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance by Proctor & Schlebinger
        Plants and Empire - Londa L Schiebinger
        Secret Cures of Slaves: People, Plants, and Medicine in the Eighteenth -Century Atlantic World  - Londa L Schiebinger

What does it mean for the colonized to become observed. What does it mean if we observe in a world where power 
What do our observations mean in this framework where estbalished (?) power is so important

Illegible in any kind of political sense. What makes something legible (Spivak, van the subaltern speak). 
Still useful, we become legible to each other, finding common language
We are in powerful positions ourselves. The history of observation is related to power, so how do we deal with that and how far can we go and what work can observation do?

If your way of knowing impacts what you know
often discomfort happens
ex yesterday: One group went to group 0 to observe them and this created discomfort. The interference and discomfort and power becomes clear. Some 
common reactions to this: the work of Mia on comfort is interesting in that respect.
photographer wants to be invisible, what if you could get all the pictures you wanted without having to negotiate relationships. 
all the ways we're tracked online, because they're not visible, people don't care.

super powers to be invisible. In the beginning, there is negotiation but if it takes a long time, a relationship could build or the observers could become invisible. 

This raises some questions.
'owning it as relationship'

Mechanism to measure time for different systems on computer:
If you run xxx to check your software, the execution time can be changed. 
-> instrumentation can be method of observation, brings up intereference & change

Who is looking? From where? What observation is at stake, and what kind of power is related. Software comes out of human relations. Who is looking and from where is central if we want to be post-colonial about this. Situated Knowledge came up. "quote Haraway"

How are we working directly with people, how we bring them into our agenda. What is the relationship we open up with them.
What kind of observation do we include them in?

The audience can also observe something. Eventually they will observe anyway. Maybe they observe something xxxx 

What we will set up will need to be open

We have very different knowledges, different looks: technological; sociological; artistic... Is there a hierarchy between them? And what do we do with that?

It can be related to the intake process, to use a flowchart - Guiding people as one guides logic in a flow chart
The intake means you re-direct questions to what services are available.

Eye movement detecttion software - literally what/where are you looking at?

What is the problem when someone says there's a problem ? power relationship as a limited way to say what's happening
Recent critiques of people studies, that try to say that people 
forms of observation require you to scope
not necessary to solve the problem, we can make problems bigger!
interesting to break open the hierarchy of expertise. not offering a solution but offering ways of looking at problems

We are redefining 'service'.

Wat are the expectations of visitors? Do they really expect to have a phone or laptop problem solved in the Clinic?
Someone arrives with a Windows issue. the solution is not fixing windows but offering something else. a valid perspective

It would be interested to deal with technical questions ... how to deal with the hierarchy of possible responses.
Some people wanted to come because of the critique question. Give us a proper critique.
People that are making a magazine and have problems with the softwares they're using but don't really know what is wrong. Critique can offer some perspective to this frustration with tools, frustration you don't where it comes from 
"this is why you might be frustrated" Lit "critique as a service"

HIerarchy of knowledges needs to be thought about
It is the interface between how people are used to question and the services offered
how we interface this moment ?
question of productivity often comes first -> please repair my software -> no, we don't -> we do VIVISECTION of the software :-)
not being satisfied with the solutions offered
it could be a vivissection of the windows machine 
Thinking about the process of the observation 
http://etherbox.local:9001/p/ (it is a sketch/proposal but something to be filled by all of us, for each service)

Intake with a template:
    form you fill out
    sets up a way to think what the observation consists of: conversation, visualisation, tool....
    sets up idea/plan for a log afterwards if at all you want to record it

Being inspired by Agile Yoga, 
pair programming & retrospective

pair programming yoga on the template
rituals around filling the pads together with visitors

looking back by ... looking back at the process

More concrete discussion about the intake
How do you send people away, close the process
can be part of each of the services

a consent form? To be clear about expectations. (Disclaimer: Your machine can get broken, your problem can get bigger. Do you accept repsonsibility? We do not.)

An evaluation afterwards?
Agile poker at the intake on how long do you think the assesment will take

Add "estimated time" to each observation?

Agile Ethical assessment
Consent form

NEW INTROS: Lonneke, in a research group on data activism (same group as Becky)
Lidia: from Portugal via Rotterdam, immaterial/pervasive no? ;) labour Libre Zine (thanks blanked out ;)
Cristina: from Rotterdam now, algorithm or software ???? where's the line?
becky: phd on strategies to resist surveillance

make inventory of services:
    name pad as ''