Laura Parraga Gonzalez, Freelance User Experience Researcher

Sydney 2018: Methods and Practices

The idea of a ‘smart home’ has recently caught the attention of many scholars, journalists and marketeers who think of ‘smart homes’ as environments offering unprecedented connectedness and control over living spaces. But the idea of a ‘smart home’ does not only exist as a particular future vision, rather, ‘smart’ appliances and devices are, in many contexts, already part of people’s homes. In this project, I take one of these devices, a so called ‘smart meter’, as a starting point to explore not only the concept of a smart home ‘put into action’ in a specific household, but to also look at the way we can think (anthropologically) about the changes and transformations set in place by those technologies.

The outcomes of this project take the final form of a website. Drawing on  regular field visits over the short period of two weeks the website presents back a digital ethnography that deliberately excludes humans and that suspends an intervention with written words. The aim is to use digital technologies themselves to create more unrestricted forms of reading and to produce a non-linear narrative that better highlights the relations, nodes and connections of the field site to do more justice to the messiness of the digital technologies it sets out to study.