Datacatchers are mobile location-aware devices that stream messages about the area they are in. Derived from a large number of ‘big data’ sources, the messages simultaneously draw attention to the socio-political topology of the lived environment and to the nature of big data itself. We batch-produced 130 Datacatchers as part of our ongoing programme to explore how people appropriate and make sense of open-ended designs. They are research devices that are designed both to embody our conjectures about certain issues and to act as tools helping us to further investigate peoples’ orientations around those issues. We deployed the Datacatchers to volunteers recruited at local markets and car-boot sales, and commissioned filmmakers to produce short video documentaries of their experiences.

Click here to view the Datacatcher Vimeo channel or here for a conference paper about the project.

Date: 2015

A photograph of the Datacatcher device being viewed on a bridge in London
A photograph of the Datacatcher, packaging, charger and user guide
A photograph of the Datacatcher standing upright on a white surface
A still from a documentary about a participant who has been living with the Datacatcher, the image is of a close-up of the participant holding the device in their hands
A photograph of the Datacatcher's screen showing the following data from the device's history: Earlier, in Deptford you thought it smelt of "smoke" - Participant Poll, Deptford, 28th January, 14:56
A photograph of the internal structure of the Datacatcher, standing upright against a white background, surrounded by prototype 3D prints of the device's dial
A still from a documentary about the distribution of the Datacatchers, the image shows a wheelbarrow full of packaged Datacatchers next to the distribution team