The Function of Representation in a "Smart Home Context"

The Function of Representation in a "Smart Home Context"

Mats Edenius
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-87828-991-9.ch158
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In our society, we seem almost completely engaged in a variety of representational processes. By rendering events and processes “still”, they can be more easily manipulated and transferred into a stock of movable resources which can provide the possibility to control. It is in that context information technology can give us power. In this article it is argued that in order to understand information technology we must begin with representation. I will illustrate such a perspective by a case study that puts a smart home-technology in focus and exemplifies how it may let us deeper our knowledge about IT, how that knowledge is constructed, knowledge is constructed, what actors are involved, what drives them and what kinds of issues are at stake. Antiquity had been a civilization of spectacle. “To render accessible to a multitude of men the inspection of a small number of objects”: this was the problem to which the architecture of temples, theatres and circuses responded. With spectacle, there was a predominance of public life, the intensity of festivals, sensual proximity. In these rituals in which blood flowed, society found new vigour and formed for a moment a single great body. The modern age poses the opposite problem: “To procure for a small number, or even for a single individual, the instantaneous view of a great multitude”. (Foucault, 1977, p. 216)

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