Research

The overarching question that drives me is “how does technology shape humanity?” More specifically, I am interested in questions related to how technological mediation structures cultural production, as the (often hidden) architecture of technical media are often overlooked, whether embedded in the BIOS of computer systems, structure of processors, design of compression algorithms, database structures, or the particular ways in which the interface coerces a particular comportment.

Although I consider myself to be “methodologically promiscuous,” (as different questions call for different methodologies) the majority of my research has focused on critical media and cultural studies, utilizing textual /rhetorical analysis, systems / form analysis, and various ethnographic methods.

Thanks to pexels.com for the image

[What hidden architectures lie within the everyday computer components?]

[Modern participatory culture in “The Harlem Shake”]

Much of my research has focused on how technological structures assist in forming understandings. A journal article I published, Nerd Play: Puzzle Hunting as Participatory Knowledge Creation, examined how technological mediation at the MIT Mystery Hunt can either hinder or promote collective intelligence in communities depending on its level of transparency, directly engaging questions of infrastructure.

A book chapter I authored, Postcards from the Other Side: Interactive Revelation in Post-Apocalyptic Video Games, also addresses technological mediation, instead examining the multiple layers of mediation between a player and him/herself through a “postal exchange.”

Most recently, I co-authored an article using “The Harlem Shake” meme as a way to explore the monetization of digital labor in modern participatory culture. You can find this and all my writings in the “publications” section.

My dissertation, Mashup Archaeology: A Case Study in the Role of Digital Technology in Cultural Production, is a critical analysis of the role of digital sharing technology in digitally mediated cultural production. My dissertation reflects my research trajectory as it directly engages technological infrastructure and how it shapes culture, understanding not only the technological systems at play, but also the legal, social, and economic systems that are involved in the phenomenon of the mashup. This work makes new contributions to the understanding of how collaborative communities use digital technologies to create and share, focusing specifically on the consequences of these technologies on the users. I argue that the architecture (form) of digital technologies determine the types of messages that are circulated through them and participate in the construction of messages regarding participation, access, and agency. Significantly, my research provides a heightened awareness to how the form of digital media shapes messages (and by extension, the role of digital media in circulation and production of contemporary culture).

Image from pexels.com

[“Our writing tools are also working on our thoughts” – Friedrich Nietzsche]