Author Meets Critics: James Ash's Phase Media: Space, Time and the Politics of Smart Objects

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Digital Geographies Specialty Group, Political Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM (MDT)
Room: Napoleon C2, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Organizers: Jeremy Crampton
Chairs: Jeremy Crampton


In Phase Media (Bloomsbury 2017), James Ash theorizes how smart objects, understood as internet-connected and sensor-enabled devices, are altering users' experience of their environment. Rather than networks connected by lines of transmission, smart objects generate phases, understood as space-times that modulate the spatio-temporal intelligibility of both humans and non-humans. Examining a range of objects and services from the Apple Watch to Nest Cam to Uber, Ash suggests that the modulation of spatio-temporal intelligibility is partly shaped by the commercial logics of the industries that design and manufacture smart objects, but can also exceed them.

Drawing upon the work of Martin Heidegger, Gilbert Simondon and Bruno Latour, Ash argues that smart objects have their own phase politics, which offer opportunities for new forms of public to emerge. Phase Media develops a conceptual vocabulary to contend that smart objects do more than just enabling a world of increased corporate control and surveillance, as they also provide the tools to expose and re-order the very logics and procedures that created them.

Discussants will include: Agnieszka Leszczynski, Alison Powell, Jim Thatcher, Lizzie Richardson and Scott Rodgers. James will respond to the discussants and any questions from the audience.


Type Details Minutes
Discussant Lizzie Richardson Durham University 15
Discussant James Thatcher University of Washington - Tacoma 15
Discussant Scott Rodgers Birkbeck, University of London 15
Discussant Agnieszka Leszczynski University of Auckland 15
Discussant Alison Powell London School of Economics 15
Discussant James Ash Newcastle University 15

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