Spring 2013

LMC 6650: Civic Media, Surveillance, and Design

Office: TSRB 316A
Office Hours: TBD and by appointment.
Email: ledantec@gatech.edu

Class Meetings: Tuesday, 11:05AM–12:55PM
Location: TSRB 323

Course Description

This project studio will explore civic media and the opportunities for designing and deploying mobile and social technologies that involve, extend, or subvert surveillance (broadly defined). We will consider artifacts and systems intended for surveillance, as well as those that enable surveillance as an unintended consequence. The studio will be structured around exploring the challenges in interaction and information design when working with surveillance data, and with the design of different kinds of sensors and surveillance artifacts and systems. We will investigate participatory design practices, data representation and identity, the design of software services and interfaces for data analysis, and the design of sensors and other artifacts of surveillance.

Students from any discipline are welcome to enroll.

Course Objectives

This project studio will further your exposure to design research and practice. We will conduct a wide ranging review of literature in design research, human-computer interaction, and science and technology studies. We will examine existing products and systems, including local efforts to create different kinds of surveillance programs. This studio will provide a venue for exploring the cultural, social, and ethical implications of design and civic media through the lens of surveillance technologies.


The total grade for the class will be based upon the following factors and weights:

Writing Assignments: 20%
Design Sketches: 10%
Design Project: 40%
Final Presentations: 10%

Participation & Attendance

Studio attendance and participation is mandatory. Participation in discussion is imperative because it allows you to explore the readings and themes collaboratively, and in the process, discover meanings and issues that you probably would not discover on your own. Participation in class also challenges you to continuously question, refine, and articulate your own ideas and interpretations.

Missing more than 2 classes will result in a loss of 1 letter grade.

Readings & Texts

There are no required texts for this course, all readings will either be accessible via T-Square or online.

Writing Assignments

Writing will correspond to the weeks we have reading assignments. The class will be split into roughly half and will alternate between creating blog entries and providing substantial comments to the previous week’s entries. Each blog entry should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words and engage in a meaningful way with the ideas presented in the readings (minimally from that week but may include reference and reflection on any previous reading or relevant source from outside class). These are not to be simple summaries of the readings, but critical reflections to motivate and inform our design investigation of surveillance.

All up, you will each need to produce three blog entries and an appropriate volume of thoughtful and critical comment your classmate’s blog entries. This will be structured so that you’re switching between producing content one week and commenting on content the next.

Design Sketches

Throughout the semester you will be completing short design sketches that will allow you to explore the concepts from our readings and discussions. These are meant to provide you with an opportunity to explore ideas and get early feedback that you may use to guide your design project.

Design Project

You will be developing an interactive prototype in this studio. The focus of the prototype is to develop ideas iteratively and critically with each other and with members of the community in which we will be working. There will be a series of milestones that will progress from proposing a design project and then iterating on the design toward a final artifact or system. You will document this process in a process book that will be turned in at the end of the semester. The process book will need to include details about each design iteration and short segments of text that connect the design explorations to the issues and topics discussed in class or surfaced through the readings.

The design project is an individual project.

Final Presentations

The last two classes will be dedicated to final presentations where each of you will present the work done during the semester, including the final version of your designed system/artifact. You are expected to produce a poster that will be presented at the end-of-term demo day along with a slide presentation and/or system demo.

Course Schedule

What follows is an outline for the course. As the course progresses, we may adjust dates and materials; however, unless specifically stated in class, you should assume this schedule is current and accurate.

Week 1

January 8

First day of class, introduction to the project studio.


Week 2

January 15


Agre, P.E. Chapter 51: Survelliance and Capture. New Media Reader. N. Wardrip-Fruin and N. Montfort, eds. MIT Press.

Clarke, R. Information Technology and Dataveillance. Commun. ACM. 31, 5 (1988), 498–512.

Mann, S., Nolan, J. and Wellman, B. Sousveillance: Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments. Surveillance & Society. 1, 3 (2003), 331–355.


Examples of five intentional systems of surveillance.

Week 3

January 22


Deleuze, G. Postscripts on the Societies of Control. OCTOBER. 59, (. 1992), 3–7.

Elmer, G. A diagram of panoptic surveillance. new media & society. 5, 2 (2003), 231–247.

Weibel, P. Pleasure and the Panoptic Principle. CTRL [SPACE]: Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother. T.Y. Levin, U. Frohne, and P. Weibel, eds. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA., 2002, 207–220.


Design sketches for two systems from previous week.

Week 4

January 29


Friedman, B. Value-Sensitive Design. interactions. 3, 6 (1996), 16–23.

Knobel, C. and Bowker, G.C. Values in design. Commun. ACM. 54, 7 (2011), 26–28.

Le Dantec, C.A., Poole, E.S. and Wyche, S.P. Values as Lived Experience: Evolving Value Sensitive Design in Support of Value Discovery. In CHI ’09: Proceedings of the 27th international conference on Human factors in computing systems. ACM, (2009), 1141–1150.


Examples of five unintended systems of surveillance.

Week 5

February 5


Friedman, B., Kahn, P.H., Jr, Hagman, J., Severson, R.L. and Gill, B. The Watcher and the Watched: Social Judgments about Privacy in a Public Place. Human-Computer Interaction. 21, (2006), 235–272.

Gilliom, J. Struggling with Surveillance: Reistance, Consciousness, and Identity. The New Politics of Surveillance and Visibility. R.V. Ericson and K.D. Haggerty, eds. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada, 2006, 111–129.

Lievrouw, L.A. Oppositional and Activist New Media: Remediation, Reconfiguration, Participation. In PDC ’06: Proceedings of the ninth conference on Participatory design. ACM, (2006), 115–124.

Shklovski, I., Vertesi, J., Troshynski, E. and Dourish, P. The commodification of location: dynamics of power in location-based systems. In Ubicomp ’09: Proceedings of the 11th international conference on Ubiquitous computing. ACM, (2009), 11–20.

(Optional: pairs with “The commodification of location”)
E. Troshynski, C. Lee, and P. Dourish. Accountabilities of presence: Reframing location-based systems. In CHI ’08: Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, pages 487–496, New York, NY, USA, 2008. ACM.


Design sketches for two systems from previous week.

Week 6

February 12


Björgvinsson, E., Ehn, P. and Hillgren, P.-A. Participatory design and “democratizing innovation.” In PDC ’10: Proceedings of the 11th Biennial Participatory Design Conference. ACM, (2010), 41–50.

Kuznetsov, S., Davis, G., Cheung, J. and Paulos, E. Ceci n’est pas une pipe bombe: authoring urban landscapes with air quality sensors. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, (2011), 2375–2384.

Shilton, K. Participatory Sensing: Building Empowering Surveillance. Surveillance & Society. 8, 2 (2010), 131–150.


Design project concepts.

Week 7

February 19

Ramia Mazeé talk; TSRB Auditorium @ 11am sharp

Movie day group #1 (see blog assignments for which group you’re in)

Week 8

February 26

Yanni Loukissas talk; TSRB Auditorium @ 11am sharp

Movie day group #2 (see blog assignments for which group you’re in)

Week 9

March 5

Design proposal due.


Week 10

March 12



Week 11

March 19

Spring break, No class.


Week 12

March 26

First iteration due.


Week 13

April 2



Week 14

April 9

Poster critique.


Week 15

April 16

Second iteration due.

Present posters and demos at the Digital Media & GVU Demo Day, April 17, 2–5PM

Week 16

April 23

Final presentations.


Week 17

April 30

Final project materials due.