Infrapunctural imaginaries (exercise)

We have discussed how bots can be entry points for studying infrastructures, as they require the familiarity with their material and social conditions. An intimate knowledge of how an infrastructure operates can be helpful in identifying the power hierarchies in place or the embedded values in the design of an infrastructure. This is needed to be able to identify stress and pressure points.

We have encountered different computational infrastructures throughout this module. In this track we will get hands on with communication infrastructures, which include for example micro-blogging platforms, groupchats, discussion forums, or mailinglists; places where people come together for discussion and to organise themselves.

We will now do an exercise to apply the term digital infrapunctures to a (more or less) fictional setting, allowing us to imagine possible bot interventions or infrapunctural actions.

What is the exercise?

During this exercise we will use the practice of script writing to imagine a bot as a potential digital infrapuncture. To do this, we will write a script made up of a fictional series of posts, staged on a communication infrastructure of your choice. The script will simulate the way in which your proposed bot operates within its context.

When using the word script, we wish to evoke the double meaning of the word. Script as it is understood in programming practices, where a task is written in code as a series of steps and script as it is used in theatre plays, where a text is written in order to be performed.

Depending on the type of bot you are making, the format of the script may challenge you to think about the bot's attitude, what it posts and what kind of possible responses or reactions the bot triggers.

While keeping in mind that different groups use infrastructures in different ways, it is important to work with a specific context in mind. In the next page we will take a moment to formulate this context first.