Grasping the digital

A Recent article (not yet published) I wrote with my brother examines some of the difficult questions raising from the increased use of digital technologies. For example, digitalization can be seen to act as an almost mythological buzzword for progress. But, what does digitalization mean? How do we live in the digital world? In our article we argue for a more embodied understanding of digital technologies is needed to participate in the discussion of the digital world; without experiental, embodied understanding, it can be difficult to comprehend what digital is and how it affects as well as appears in one's life.

We offer a concept of digi-grasping to analyze and talk about the different ways digitality can be grasped, that is, understood without, -or before- technological knowledge. Digitality is ubiquitous; we live in a post-digital era where digital technologies are profoundly intertwined in our everyday actions in complex ways. As such digital technologies are not mere devices, one utilizes but they are actors that affect the way we comprehend the world as well as interact with it.

The below presentation is from the Futures conference held in Turku this June where I presented our article.

Here's also the abstract of the article:

Society is increasingly digitalised and connected, with computers and algorithms mediating much of the daily actions of people in one way or another. The degree of digitalization and its consequences are challenging to understand because most people lack a first-hand experience of what digitalization actually feels like. Digitalization is abstract and difficult to grasp, which leads to a detached sense of digital surroundings. In this paper we argue that in order to grasp the nature and future of digitalized society, an embodied understanding of digitalization is needed. This can be achieved through approaching coding and the manipulation of digital world as a craft, as “doing-by-hand”.
In this paper we elaborate the meaning of doing-by-hand in a digital society, a skill and mindset we call “digi-grasping”. Digi-grasping is active sense making and existing in the world that consists of both digital and ”real” world, and creates an ethical and aesthetic attachment to society. It can empower people to understand and question the choices and motivations behind current digital structures and create new structures. Digi-grasping is thus an important approach to shaping the futures of digital society. The paper draws theoretically from futures research, embodied cognition science and artistic research. It combines the recent research on “the experiential shift in foresight” with the long tradition of research on art and craft.
Key words: digitalization, digital society, experiential foresight, craft education, art education, artistic research, embodied learning, critical theory.

Interested? Feel free to contact me!

Featured photo taken by Mikko Dufva