Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty Profiles

National University of Singapore
10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260

Office: AS6/03 - 17
Email: denisa@nus.edu.sg
Tel: 97850694
Homepage: http://profile.nus.edu.sg/fass/cnmdk/
| Brief Introduction | Teaching Areas | Current Research | Research Interests

Brief Introduction Top

Denisa Kera is Assistant Professor at the National University of Singapore where she is also a fellow of the Asia Research Institute (STS cluster) and Tembusu college. Her present research brings together history of science, philosophy and design, and combines issues and methodologies  from Science Technology Society (STS) studies and interactive media design. She is trying to create design probes and tools for deliberation and public participation in science. She follows and supports science community labs and alternative R&D places (Hackerspaces, FabLabs) across the world with a special focus on DIYbio movements, consumer genomics and various citizen science projects. The ethnographic research of these participative and design oriented forms of R&D is combined with genealogical interest in the origins of tinkering culture in the 16. century mechanical arts, early visions of Academy of sciences and discussions between science and alchemy. Current design projects focused on food and the use of design probes and critical design to reflect upon issues in food studies.
Previous design project (2008 - 2010): real time video & heritage (Living Avatars Network: outsourcing experiences in real time), real time video as ethnographic methodology.
Research interests in Interactive Media Design, Science and Technology Studies and topics in Digital Culture and Art.

Teaching Areas Top

Interactive Media Design 2008 - 2011
Food Studies between STS and Design 2011
Critical Approaches to Interactive Media 2008 - 2001 
New Media Theory 2005 - 2008
Digital culture and art 2002 - 2008
Philosophy of Science 2003 - 2006

Current Research Top

1. Food Networks Design: from farm to fork to phenotype
Researchers: Denisa Kera, Marc Tuters (University of Amsterdam), Florian Cornu (Hackerspace.sg)
Research into food data interactions connecting design with STS (Science, Technology, Society studies) issues: social networking via food, monitoring food flows, building interfaces for nutrigenomics and citizen science projects related to food. We use design probes and performative (diegetic) prototypes to documented design fictions related to future "diet-tribes" and "food-cults" connected to various cultures and technologies. With these prototypes we rethink the use and function of future and emergent technologies in novel dining practices related to food.  Our food probes and future of dining scenarios extrapolate various trends in identity formation and social bonds based on data monitoring, tracing and exchanges, hacked, DIY tools, commons-based peer production, Internet of Things and "networked" 2.0 body monitoring techniques such as "Quantified selves". Probes and scenarios we tested: hacking rice cookers into low tech souv vide equipment for paleodieters, Facebook apps for underground restaurants, personalized dinners based on DNA profiles, food foraging and food hopping.
Selected publications:
DENISA, K and Tuters Marc, "Social Stomach: Performative Food Prototypes". Creative Science - Science Fiction Prototyping for Technology Innovation (2011). Nottingham: IOS Press. (Plenary paper) (2nd International Workshop "Creative Science - Science Fiction Prototyping for Technology Innovation" (CS'11), 25 - 26 Jul 2011, Nottingham, United
Kingdom) http://dces.essex.ac.uk/Research/iieg/CS2011.htm
DENISA, K, "Bionetworking over DNA & Food: Critical design probe for nutrigenomics". 10th IAS-STS Annual Conference “Critical Issues in Science and Technology Studies” (2011). Graz: Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society. (10th IAS-STS Annual Conference “Critical Issues in Science and Technology Studies”, 2 - 3 May 2011, Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society, Graz, Austria) http://www.ifz.tugraz.at/ias/IAS-STS/Publications/Proceedings-10th-IAS-STS-Annual-Conference

2. Sensor Networks from design & STS perspective
Researchers: Jan Rod from Keio University and Connor Graham from ARI, Tembusu college
Exploratory research into the design challenges related to harnessing, sharing and making meaning of a massive amount of data generated by humans, environments and things which we face with the rise of distributed environmental sensing, sensor networks technologies, wireless sensors and wireless monitoring. We think of nature, cities and environment but also bodies increasingly in terms of these technologies and data and these micro-scale levels of interaction between various sensor data form unique communities. Are we creating new models for future oriented and sustainable communities intimately connected to their environment in these prototypes? Will prototypes become political and social manifests and not only solutions to a specific problem?
Selected publications:
DENISA, K and Graham Connor, "Collective sensor networks and future communities: designing interaction across multiple scales". Proceedings of the 22nd Conference of the Computer-Human Interaction Special Interest Group of Australia on Computer-Human Interaction, ed. Margot Brereton, Stephen Viller, Ben Kraal (2010): 396-399. New York: ACM. (OZCHI 2010: Design-Interaction-Participation, 22 - 26 Nov 2010, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia) (http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1952312&dl=ACM&coll=DL
DENISA, K and Jan Rod, "From agency and subjectivity to animism: phenomenological and Science Technology Studies (STS) approach to design of large techno-social systems".
Digital Creativity, 21, no. 1 (2010): 70-76. (United States). (ISSN 1462-6268). http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14626261003654558#preview
DENISA, K, "From data realism to dada aggregations: online visualizations in digital art, data mining in digital humanities and the popular culture of web mashups". 14th International Conference on Information Visualisation, 2010, 26-29 July 2010, London, UK. IEEE Computer Society 2008 (2010). London: IEEE Computer Society. (IV10 - 14th International Conference on Information Visualisation, 26 - 29 Jul 2010, London South Bank University, London, United
Kingdom) http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1906603

3. Citizen Labs: Convergence of Policy & Design in Hackerspaces, DIYbio movements and Citizen Science Projects
Researchers: part of http://ari.nus.edu.sg/asianbiopoleis
Ethnographic and genealogical research into consumer genomics, citizen science projects and “DIYbio” and Hackerspace labs with a special focus on biotechnology. The research follows and supports emergent D.I.Y cultures in the context of Open Science, alternative R&D labs (Hackerspaces, FabLabs), and various Open Hardware and Software movements characterised by design oriented approach to innovation outside the official academia and industry walls. This open model of R&D creates global flows of data, kits and protocols serving as means of not only scientific but also citizenship innovation and empowerment.  The global and alternative innovation networks around Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and Do-It-With-Others (DIWO) subcultures, such as Direct to consumer (DTC) genomics, DIYgenomics Clinical trials 2.0, DIYbio labs and various attempts for garage biotechnology, challenge the meaning of science dissemination, popularization, but also policy. Novel forms of research and cooperation connect directly politics with design, community building with prototype testing, and offer an experimental approach for discussing issues of policy, innovation and citizen participation in science. The use of gadgets and tools based on open hardware platforms feed the needs of various open labs for affordable equipment and offer opportunities for entrepreneurship but also R&D in developing countries.  The ethnographic research follows these global networks around low-tech biotechnologies and communities of people monitoring, sharing and making sense of various scientific data and practices in their everyday lives.  The genealogical part of the research compares these alternative socio-technical formations with the original attempts to organise research back in the 16. and 17.century (Invisible colleges, Academies of Sciences etc.) and discusses how artisan and mechanical arts influenced our modern idea of science.
Collaborator in "Asian Biopoleis: Biotechnology & Biomedicine as Emergent Forms of Life and Practice" (Academic Research Fund Tier 2 Grant, 2009 – 2012).
PI for "Participatory policy model for emergent technologies:  comparative study of alternative R&D spaces in Singapore and EU" (EUC Research Grant - European Union Centre in Singapore, 2011 – 2012).
PI for “Biopolitical Interfaces: social networking over SNPs and web 2.0 services in the age of personal genomics and E-Health” (Staff Research Support Scheme Nus, 2009 – 2010)
PI for “Biotech Cultures: Global And Asian Assemblages On Science & Technology” (Division Of Humanities & Social Sciences NUS: Reading Group Grant,  2009 – 2011).
Selected publications:
DENISA, K, "Bionetworking over DNA and online forms of biological citizenship: STS and design perspectives". Genomics, Society and Policy, 6, no. 1 (2010): 47-60. (United Kingdom). (Main STS journal on research in genomics http://www.genomicsnetwork.ac.uk/cesagen/people/academicstaff/forename,160,en.html
DENISA, K, "Grassroots R&D, Prototype Cultures and DIY Innovation: Global Flows of Data, Kits and Protocols". In Pervasive Adaptation: The Next Generation Pervasive Computing Research Agenda, ed. Alois Ferscha. Linz: Institute for Pervasive Computing, Johannes
Kepler University Linz, 2011. 2 pp. http://www.perada.eu/essence/pdfa/PerAda%20Research%20Agenda.pdf
Selected presentations:
DENISA, K, "COSMOPOLITICAL “KIBBUTZIM” from Academy of Games & Pleasures to present day Hackerspaces". Invited talk (Invited paper) ( 3 Nov 2011, School of Computing & Engineering Systems, University of Abertay Dundee, Dundee, UK)
DENISA, K, "Consumer genomics, citizen science and DIYbio movements". Interdisciplinary research platform “Life-Science-Governance” (LSG) (Invited paper) (28 Oct 2011, Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria)
DENISA, K, "Global Pop Biotech as a Policy Model for Emergent Technologies". Dilemmas of choice. Responsibility in nanotechnology development (Plenary paper) ( 6 - 7 Jun 2011, CIGA Centre for Environmental Law Decisions and Corporate Ethical Certification, Rovigo,
DENISA, K, "Right to Communicate: Global Flows of Data, Kits and Protocols". World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Formu 2011 (Invited paper) (16 - 20 May 2011, UNESCO, Geneva, Switzerland (http://groups.itu.int/wsis-forum2011/Agenda/HighLevelDialogues.aspx
DENISA, K, "DIYbio cultures". 10th World Congress of Bioethics (Invited paper) (28 - 31 Jul 2010, Suntec Singapore International Convention, Singapore).

4. Liminal Interaction and Real-Time Heritage: Interfaces for Outsourcing Experience (2008 - 2010)
Researchers: Denisa Kera, Connor Graham from ARI and Tembusu college,  Pin Sym Foong from CNM NUS, Inosha Wickrama from NGS NUS, Muhammad Farkhan B Salleh from CNM NUS, Muhammad Shafi B Rafie from CNM NUS, Tan Xiu Fang from CNM NUS and Vu Giang Thanh from CNM NUS
In this project we critically assessed the notion of heritage and interactive walks and looked into novel ways of interacting over memories by using real-time video and related mobile technologies. We prototyped an interface for reviving heritage sites that support the notion of liminal space in which several time layers and experiences connect and interact in real-time. Designing such “liminal space” enables users to discover and build personal knowledge and relationship to someone’s past, various archives and forgotten history. The resulting prototype, “Living Avatars Network (LAN)”, was using real-time video interaction as social networking platform encouraging users to exchange, volunteer or simply buy and outsource different experiences  in real-time.  We evaluated how users outsource, share, compare and relive foreign experiences and how they negotiate the liminal space of this interaction. Personal and unique experiences and stories related to a specific location were shared in a given location with the “living avatar” that interacted with the viewer over situated oral histories and by using various media “in situ”. The convergence of geo-location technologies with social networking platform and real time-video created a medium for interactive walks in “someone’s shoes” redefining how we interact over memories.   The liminal interface animates and revives what is hidden and forgotten and transforms the mobile phone into time machine used to explore not only space but also time.
Selected publication:
DENISA, K, "Digital memorials and design for apocalypse: towards a non-anthropocentric design". COST Action 298: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE CHALLENGING. The user and the future of information and communication technologie., ed. Bartolomeo Sapio, Leslie Haddon, Enid Mante-Meijer, Leopoldina Fortunati, Tomaž Turk, Eugene Loos (2009): 100-110. Brussels: COST Action 298 - Participation in the Broadband Society. (Plenary paper) (COST Action 298 - Participation in the Broadband Society. The user and the future of information and communication technologies, 13 - 15 May 2009, Copenhagen Institute of Technology, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark) ISBN 978-961-6277-17-4
DENISA, K, "Flat World, Mahups and Microglobalization". Technologies of Globalization, ed. Anderl, R., Arich-Gery, B., Schmiede, R. (2008): 202-214. Darmstadt: Technische Universitat Darmstadt. (Technologies of Globalization, 30 - 31 Oct 2008, Technical University Darmstadt, Germany)
FOONG, P S and K DENISA, "Applying Reflective Design to Digital Memorials". Social Interaction and Mundane Technologies (SIMTech 08) [DVD]., ed. Graham, C., Rouncefield, M., Gibbs, M., Widjaja, I. (2008). Cambridge: Microsoft Research. (International Workshop on Social Interaction and Mundane Technologies 2008 (SIMTech '08), 20 - 21 Nov 2009, Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom)
DENISA, K and Graham Connor, "CULTURAL HERITAGE IN THE AGE OF REAL TIME MEDIA: Designing for Living Avatars Network". Virtual Systems and Multimedia (VSMM), 2010 16th International Conference (2010): 349-352. Seoul: VSMM2010. (Plenary paper) (VSMM 2010 : 16th International Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia, 20 - 23 Oct 2010, COEX Seoul Korea, Seoul, South Korea) (http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=5665936
Print ISBN: 978-1-4244-9027-1
DENISA, K and Graham Connor, "Living Avatars Network: Fusing traditional and innovative ethnographic methods through a real-time mobile video". Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, 2010, no. 1 (2010): 149-168, 0. Washington: American Anthropological Association. (Plenary paper) (The Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference (EPIC 2010), 29 Aug - 1 Sep 2010, Midtown Conference Center (Roppongi), Tokyo, Japan) (http://www.epiconference.com/epic2010/
ISSN: 1559-8918
Grants and achievements:
PI for “Geoweb Applications and Mobile Internet for Environmental and Heritage Sites” (Fass Start Up Fund NUS,  2009 – 2010)
"Afterlife & Death in Digital Age" seminar in April 2010
Design prototype “Living Avatars Network” won the second prize from 90 submissions in International CHI 2010 Student Design Competition.
Selected presentations:
DENISA, K, "Death & Apocalypse in Emergent Art & Design Practices: Between Technological Sentimentality and Posthuman Indifference". Re:live Third International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology: 8 (3456 words) (Plenary paper) (23 - 26 Nov 2009, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia).
DENISA, K, "Cultural heritage and location sensitive technologies". Interactions in Liminal Space: Location Based Technologies as Time Machines ( 4 - 10 Jun 2009, New Media Studies, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic).
DENISA, K, "Ephemeral Interactions & Hedonism of Space". Extending geo-locative media (30 May - 1 Jun 2009, University Siegen, Siegen, Germany) (http://www.spatialturn.de/).
DENISA, K, "Design Rituals for Reviving Heritage Sites: Cultural Heritage and the Convergence of Media". Museum Without Walls: Expert Group Meeting in Prague (Invitedpaper) (18 - 20 Oct 2010, Jewish Museum, Prague, Czech Republic).

Research Interests Top

Science and technology studies (STS)
Interactive Media Design
Critical Design

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