Archive for the '02_Discussion' Category

7. INFRASTRUCTURAL CARE: SOCIAL CARE

December 11, 2018

cof clone tag: 7113714258002571899

I met a group of playful teenage boys on the bike lane outside the library in Rosengård.

– What do You think of the surveillance cameras up there? I pointed at a CCTV camera placed just under the roof on the Sports centre.

The boys looked up, chuckling and looking around.

– It’s good for society…but not for us. We do bad stuff, one of them said still chuckling.

Another boy said:

– 360! 360 degrees! It can see all the way from here to Babylon.

Babylon is a supermarket at the end of the main walking path through Rosengård. When I later biked there, I realized what he meant. It is true, the cameras see You almost everywhere in the public space in Rosengård.

These boys have insight. They know they might be involved in social relations that can lead to a criminal path. Safety is part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person (Article 3.). How does society care for these young boys?

In Malmö social sustainability is central in developing the city. The quote above is taken from Virginia Held’s The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global, and illustrates my thoughts on social sustainability. When discussing CCTV in socio economically exposed districts it is important to always keep in mind not to divide people into “us and them”. Then a spiral of distrust emerges which often also is gendered in the sense we put a spotlight on our society’s most vulnerable young boys fostered in the most exposed districts and stigmatize them already from the beginning.

CCTV can not solve these problems, but if the use of it were discussed with teenagers and they got to know the theories behind the use of CCTV, maybe this could make them interested in the social care taking of their own neighborhood? If teachers and other key professionals in the district would discuss how social unrest, socio economic inequality and gender roles affect life in public space, maybe something positive can happen which facilitates social care? 

6. INFRASTRUCTURAL MAINTENANCE: POLISH

December 11, 2018

cof

“The recorded material is erased after two months and the police have set up barriers so that it is not allowed to look into apartment houses or public buildings. Only some police officers are allowed to follow that cameras film in real time.” (D. Lennartsson. 2018)

CCTV can be said to be the infrastructure that only shines when something terrible happens. Otherwise it works in the background, silently, to affect the way people behave. But when someone has been shot, the CCTV can reveal the secrets of the public space to the Police. All infrastructures can fail. Most of them fail at some point if they are not maintained. Roads, rails and bridges can break. The internet can collapse if it is hacked.

The failure of CCTV cameras might be of another kind, unless it is shut down by lack of electricity or another, mechanical reason, its failure could be its inability of reaching far enough and therefore not capture all of the necessary evidence in case of a crime in the public space it is set to surveille. It can deceive us, misleading us to believe it’s all is ok, just because we do not see bad things happen in the public space monitored by CCTV cameras? What happens in the shadows of the CCTV? If there exists a vulnerability of relying on CCTV, or not, is not debated. I think of all families who have lost their sons to violence. A CCTV can help catching murderers, but it is the social relations who will help reconstructing the trust and like in housework it is the mothers who contribute the most, I dare to say.

The situation is visibly gendered. The modernist project from which Rosengård derives is at large extent created by male architects within a discourse where women’s household work was measured and standardized and children’s play were regarded important in contrast to the earlier days in the 1900s. This affected how planners prioritized to separate cars from greenery. Today these million housing program public spaces has become questioned. They are not well maintained, and are experienced as unsafe. They are quite monotonous in their expression, not varied like the city core of Malmö.

Catharina Gabrielsson (2017) writes on housework in a multi dimensioned sense where women’s housework is to be compared to the maintenance of houses, both regarded low class work. I find this interesting since I recognize a similarity in unemployed night walking mothers who engage in the maintenance of their local youth, who unemployed do it because they know the importance of the polishing the human relations, like cleaning or mending one’s house is too. It is all about love, hard work and the polish made of tears and a great desire to protect children and youth against social damage, or to mend what’s broken. The CCTV is mended by technical support (a male dominated profession). Social trust is mended by socially responsible human beings (often mothers).

5. INFRASTRUCTURAL AFFECTS: DIFFERENCES

December 11, 2018

Skärmavbild 2018-12-10 kl. 22.58.09

 

While reading Sara Ahmed’s text Happy Objects (S. Ahmed. 2010) I reflect on public space and design for happiness in the sense expected behaviours leading to expected and wanted social order. Gender roles are extra visible in public space. They manifest in who sit where, who looks at who, who walks alone and who doesn’t, and why. In Rosengård centrum, inside the mall, there are two cafés which are crowded with men, socializing. Almost no women sit there. I know women who has tried to sit there and they say they felt uneasy and some were even told to leave, just because they were women. The promise of happiness at the café is not fulfilled, on the contrary one feel alienated.

Another café in Rosengård is located in the public space at Bennet’s Bazaar, a few minutes walk from the shopping mall. Bennet’s bazaar comprise a small scale center and an outdoor public space located along the path way through Örtagården, a residential area in the city district Rosengård, Malmö. Bennet’s Bazaar was designed by Jaenecke Arkitekter as part of a regeneration of Rosengård in 2009/2010. It comprise 12 new premises attached to the already existing residential buildings from the time the district was built in the 1960s- 70s. The aim of was to create opportunities for entrepreneurs to live and work in the same building. The client was the public housing company MKB, also hoping to give the place a better service, a more vivid public life and social control (Jaenecke.se).


The public space in Bennet’s Bazaar is, like the Rosengård centrum shopping mall, characterized by the flow of people shopping and socializing there, but as it is an outdoor space also by those walking and biking through on their way to or from Rosengård Centrum. The architecture has a brutalist style with an asian touch, made of concrete and with green roofs. The square in front of the bazaars is lit by a row of large scale metal outdoor lightning which glow of different colors in the dark. Some benches are placed in the middle and as time has passed plants and trees has grown to give public life some privacy. Opposite the little square and lower residential buildings with the bazaars, several high rise brown brick housing stands. Together the buildings frame the public space and creates a social space where people gather and pass through.

During my visits to this public space I have noticed that there are many men of different ages meeting at here, sitting at the café, chatting, smoking, working in the shops. This café affects me totally different than the “men cafés” in the mall. Here I feel safe, and I am not alone. Other women also come here, to shop, meet and chat. Children and youth also spend time here.


And over us – CCTV – the black eye-ball in the sky.

3. INFRASTRUCTURAL INSTRUMENTS: TOOLS

December 11, 2018

 

Skärmavbild 2018-12-08 kl. 15.39.41

“The recorded material is erased after two months and the police have set up barriers so that it is not allowed to look into apartment houses or public buildings. Only some police officers are allowed to follow that cameras film in real time.” (D. Lennartsson. 2018)

CCTV surveillance as an intervention against crime derives from the ideas of Bentham’s Panopticon, an ethically controversial solution to social problems (T. McMullan. 2016).The CCTV of today is a chain of controlling eye-balls often placed high up on facades, impossible to break by throwing stones, impossible to reach. They are managed by the Police and how they are used follows swedish laws and regulations for data protection.

 

CCTV is an infrastructure if tools for society to maintain social order, and to improve and develop the methods used by the Police. When CCTV is used in the public space within a housing area it affects the population. Many feel safer, others feel disturbed. Research show that it makes drug sellers change place for business and even though this does not stop crime, it helps by causing disturbances. This is important as neighborhood becomes “criminalized” when crime is not stopped. People get affectedas they witness crime and criminal residents, no matter they are few, threatens neighbors and families. This makes things worse, as people then do not dare to speak to the Police or report crime because of fear of punishment (Nationella operativa avdelningen Underrättelseenheten. 2017.).

1. GENDERED INFRASTRUCTURES: CONTROL

December 11, 2018

TV/Video bevakningThe CCTV cameras forms a concrete, yet invisible and abstract, infrastructure supporting society’s aim to keep crime low and public space. Large parts of the public space in Rosengård is now surveilled by CCTV cameras, monitoring what happens down on the ground from their place high up on the facades, recording all at an 360 degree angle.

 

Today, many public spaces are surveilled. CCTV cameras have become an integrated part of the infrastructure for safety, and as such a tool for preventing, as well as solving, crime. The discussion about privacy and the risks of camera surveillance has been overshadowed by a general acceptance and even a positive attitude towards them. The risks of violating people’s integrity are in this case subordinated the benefits of security for most.

Still I wonder how people feel about being surveilled in their own neighborhood? And does gender affect the way people feel about surveillance? A report made by The Police show that women in so called vulnerable districts are likely to feel more unsafe than women from other areas (Nationella operativa avdelningen Underrättelseenheten. 2017.). Crime in Rosengård grow from social unrest, fertilized with destructive male norms. Maybe also the lack of women and queer agency due to a dominance of patriarchal norms in public space?

 

In The Internet of Things, Kelly Easterling (K. Easterling. 2012) writes about how we use digital devices at the extent that space itself has become irrelevant for many, in the sense that one depend a lot on the information coming from mobile phones rather than the space around us – yet the architecture itself and the non-human objects in public space does not collect information and do not have agency to interact and transmit information. Yet. Except for CCTV cameras which allow the Police to monitor public space and collect data.

 

Many don’t seem to care about lost integrity though. The people I met in Rosengård surprised me, by being all positive. Eight grown ups and a group of young boys all agreed on it being good. Less bad things happens now, a woman said and pointed at the cameras on a facade at the square at Bennet’s bazaars.

Infrastructural Care

November 30, 2018

Metro station_care.ai

Care vs. Control

“While it is fair to say that care has been and remains an essential feature of transformative feminist politics and alternative forms of organizing, ‘caring’ is also commonplace in everyday moralizations: for example, companies compete to show how much ‘they’ care, buying recycled toilet paper shows that ‘we’ care, and caring for ‘the self’ is a pervasive order of biopolitical morality.”         – María Puig de la Bellacasa

 

Sometimes I feel unsafe when I walk home during dark hours and I usually prefer to walk when there are more people walking in the same direction. And I have experienced more than one girl or woman turning their head around a bit nervously to see who is walking behind them, in the same way that I do sometimes. If we have a problem of women feeling a bit frightened to walk from the metro station when it is dark outside, how can we address that problem? Could there be a simple way to organize so that people can accompany each other on the way home from the metro? Maybe we could create a meeting point in each metro station, where you can go to and wait for others that might be able to voluntarily accompany you to where you are going. Maybe a friend or neighbor you trust would happen to be on the same train. This suggestion raises a lot of questions off course. Who is it for and who can take part of it? Would it only be for women? How do you agree on which route to take? Is it just an imaginary feeling of safety? Can it be misused for bad intentions? And so forth. I don’t have the answers to all those questions, but thought it was interesting to propose this idea.
Care can turn in to control or judgement towards the object/person(s) of interest. “Here, the notion of doing something with care led to that of ‘being exact’. The tempting proximity between these terms reveals a risky ground: the ambition to control and judge what/who/how we care for.” (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2012) An example I heard about was a metro station in another suburb in Stockholm. There was a café by the entrance of the metro station, and it turned out that some of the men often sitting in the café where preforming a kind of social control, keeping track of the movement of women among their acquaintances. We can never completely rule out the misuse of things. Issues of personal and societal safety, care, social control and individual freedom constantly needs to be discussed and negotiated.

Helena Eriksson

Infrastructural Maintenance

November 30, 2018

03 Instruments _ Layout

 

Maintaining the safety

“…much of the sociotechnical infrastructure of the word remains invisible until it ceases to work, losing its ‘ready-at-hand’ qualities.”       –  Janek Ozmin

 

Things seems to move faster and faster in society, and we are probably less tolerant with delays and problems in the public transportation today, since we have gotten so used to infrastructure that runs very fast and smoothly. We also have a lot of systems to control and monitor the public transportation. My opinion is that the Swedish society has a rather strong culture of control and that we, as a society, kind of suffer from an over-exaggerated fear of chaos, and that this is manifested for example in the rigorous control of the metro system.
Looking at the metro station, it seems to be the movable parts that are the most vulnerable and with the highest risk to break down. One of the entrance sliding door broke down and had to be closed. The gates have relatively new sliding doors in glass that often break in one way or another, and it happens that people get squeezed and injured by them. There are three escalators, and one of them are usually broken or under maintenance. I guess they have three escalators because of this, so that one can be maintained as the other two one still goes up and down. There is one elevator, which is off course stops working from time to time. There is no other option but to use the escalators or go to another metro station, which means that people in wheelchairs as well as people with bad balance or with strollers and small children, find them self in a troublesome, time consuming, situation. Another main system that seem to break down is the digital information and the machines that requires internet connection, like the information boards telling us how many minutes to the next train and the ticket machines.
We depend on the infrastructure of the metro, but the system also depends on us. It need us, and/or taxes, paying for the services and the maintenance. It need to be accessible for people to use, and as seen in the New York example, it needs to have a good reputation and feel safe and trust wordy. In an aim to return to the main topic of this course, infrastructure and gender, I started to think about women and safety and the fact that some people, mostly women I guess, are a bit frightened to walk to or from the metro station when it is dark outside. Especially when there are few people moving in the area. Could this be addressed in some way?

Helena Eriksson

Social vulnerability

November 30, 2018

Task_6

Relaying on Facebook, and the rest of the internet is a risk in many ways. We rely on it as a way to stay connected to our friends and other social contexts. We rely on it to keep sensitive information safe. We also rely on it to keep information for us, calendars, personal information, pictures and memories etc. You could almost see it as a kind of a digital dairy that collects information about you and your life, where you always can scroll back and see what you did five years ago, what you posted on your page, what events you attended and who you were hanging out with.

There is a number of threats that could break down the system or jeopardize the safety of Facebook in a second. An interference in the network frequencies could have dire consequences as it could shut down the network in less than a second, that could be caused by bad weather as well as humans.

Another example is hackers. People dedicated and skilled in programming and computer infrastructure. A hacker could in theory break into the servers of Facebook and overcome sensitive information that may violate your privacy and safety. It could be someone that overcomes pictures of you and uses them for purposes you might not be aware of.

The last example is computer viruses, a computer program with malicious intent. A computer virus could be programmed to do basically anything within the boundaries of the network. It could be things like spread information, collect information, delete information, modify computer programs, etc.

Even if the risk of an interference in the network or of Facebook being attacked by a virus or a hacker is very small you can never be sure where your sensitive information ends up and what it might be used for, or maybe even be deleted.

/Amelie Norén

Comparable love

November 30, 2018

Task_4“…good feelings do not simply generate good feeling. We can be asked to smile in order to occupy certain spaces as a form of emotion work (Hochschild [1983] 2003). In such cases, happiness becomes a technology of self-production, which can intensify bad feelings by keeping them on hold. Or, if someone feels bad and encounters somebody being cheerful, it can feel like a pressure and can even be painful: as if that person is trying to ‘jolly you up.’ Happy moods are precarious, even when they are generative.”

 The initial idea of Facebook was a social platform for people to connect regardless of where you were from. Today, social medias partly seem to have developed in a way where it has become a kind of instinctive competition in social status that actually has nothing to do with Facebook as a platform and how it’s being used. Who has the most friends, who is most up-to-date, who is attending the most popular and exclusive events, who is getting the most likes on their pictures and status updates, etc. Who wouldn’t want to be in the top? And somewhere along the way we seem to have lost the ability to be critical to the sources.

It is hard to disregard of other people’s lives when you constantly are fed with this kind of information and the focus seem to be to appear as happy as possible to the ones looking, whether it’s the reality or not. How could you possibly keep yourself from questioning your own life and feelings, when everyone else always seem to be happy and live the perfect life. How could you keep yourself from comparing your own happiness to everyone else?

The problematic aspect of this is when we are no longer looking at Facebook with a critical eye the same way we do when we read the news or other media. A photo of a person with a happy smile is not automatically a photo of a happy person. And a person with two thousand friends on Facebook could actually be the loneliest. The ones who seem to travel the most or the one with the fanciest apartment could be the ones with economic problems. The most important matter to keep in mind, what is on Facebook does not have to be the reality and only you can decide how you process the information you are given.

/Amelie Norén

My dear

November 30, 2018

Task_5

My dear,

It’s been a while. I miss you and it’s been hard being without you. I know this is probably for the best and that I’m better off without you, but I can’t help but think “what if…”. Suddenly I feel so alone, it feels just like nobody know me, not the way you did. No one that understands me the way you do. But I know I have to learn to live without you, be strong on my own and find my own ways through life.

 We were never good for each other. I know I took you for granted sometimes, relied on you to be there as soon as I needed you, as well as you used my weaknesses for your own winning. But I also know all of us make mistakes and it was never my intention. You made me forget about what is really important in life and instead kept my focus on everyone else and I couldn’t stop comparing myself to them. Always being exposed to everyone else’s happy lives and is exhausting and it’s hard not to question your own life and happiness. But what I really finally started wondering, what is true happiness?

I am really trying to find myself and my ways and I believe I am on the right track. I am finally focusing on myself and my own happiness, surrounding myself with people who loves me and want to see me happy, the way I deserve. Nevertheless, I believe I wouldn’t have realized all of this without you and I will be forever grateful for the time we shared and what you have taught me.

Yours forever,

Amelie