Research projects, publications, talks and presentations
Towards inclusive multi-sensory digital space and virtual sociality/ Thomas Tajo 2020 Eyebeam Rapid Response fellowship
The project seeks to investigate unconscious social and cultural and
capitalistic biases that are embedded in digital life. To unearth biases that we have unknowingly mapped on to the digital platforms. The result of which not only excludes certain peoples and individuals
from easy access to essential online platforms. Removes their visible presence in everyday online social life as orindary members of online humanity. Reinforces stereotypes and prejudices against the marginalised peoples. Thus make digital platforms as spaces of segregation rather than of inclusion and integration. But how this also prevents us from tapping into the potential opportunities that is presented by digital technologies: to become rich spaces for broader transformative human sociality. To provide us with opportunities for diverse possibilities for open intimate interactions online. By stimulating the use of our diverse sensory and bodily abilities, from safe distance. Thus, I will take the case of online dating platforms. Specifically examine the popular mobile dating apps. Which are all designed and developed by sighted people. I will look at how digital dating spaces are designed and structured from visual view of the world. Which allows designers and content creators to map their visual cultural biases on to online dating spaces. Which makes digital spaces primarily visual in nature and online social interaction predominantly vision-centric. Thus, How visual cultures and visual view of the world that is mapped on to digital spaces and virtual sociality and social interaction which has made online digital sensorium predominantly visual. Restricts diverse creative ways we could present ourselves digitally on online dating platforms: innovatively using non-visual senses. How it also makes vision and visual perception obtain dominant position in determining our virtual interaction: shaping our tastes and perceptions, guiding our decisions and judgements online. Primarily guided by people’s visible digital persona featured on online platforms: in the form of digital profiles; made up of written textual descriptions and photographic images. Whether to enter or avoid, to initiate conversation and engage in social interaction, with someone, with the intention of finding potential partner for specific connection.