/Research Agenda

My research interests revolve around issues of digital media, specifically subversive appropriations of technologies by media artists and activists. From my undergraduate experimentations with net art, my thesis research on interface design, software art and aesthetic experiences and the more recents doctorate experiments with physical computing, my research methods have often implicated in critical making.  I strongly believe that innovative research and teaching must mobilize sensorial, speculative, intellectual and tacit inquiry.

Ongoing research projects

I am interested in interdisciplinary collaboration among the fields of Humanities, Social Sciences and Computer Science to further investigate epistemological notions of digital media and survey methods and tools for data collection and processing. Through this gesture I bridge the social, ethical and political implications of new media technologies, specifically regarding data mining practices and predictive analysis.

As of 2016, I have started the following projects:

Alternate visions for the IoT and Smart Cities: The predominant vision of the Internet of Things is animated by Mark Weiser’s vision of calm computing and its (tentative) implementation through Smart Cities models developed by Cisco, IBM and Intel. The social imaginary of this technological future privileges seamless interfaces between machine and human, in almost septic, automated physical spaces in which networked connectivity is taken for granted. All models of smart cities are designed for urban areas in developed countries in which technological infrastructures are mature and developed. This study investigates design models for Smart Cities in developing countries, considering cultural, economic and infrastructural specificities. The goal of this study is to present alternatives for “smart city services” in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. This investigation is being conducted in partnership with Iluriel Teixeira, an undergraduate student in Product Design at the School of Design/State University of Minas Gerais.

– Survey of qualitative methods and tools to collect and process large datasets in New Media Studies and Digital Humanities: This study surveys existing methods and digital tools for qualitative research in New Media Studies and Digital Humanities. Next, it aims to experiment with forms of data visualization and propose alternative tools that dismantle the mechanisms of data mining, through critical making experiments and other forms of digital activism.

The fine-grain resolution of data added with the inductive correlations brought by big data analysis confer an aura of “objective truth,” capable of assessing reality effectively through mass data aggregation and correlation. In consequence, big data analysis often conflates data
aggregation with knowledge construction. As a researcher from a Humanities and Social Sciences background, I advocate that these areas of expertise can provide valid contributions to practices in big data mining. I believe that the qualitative methodology tradition is
complementary to provide the necessary contextual perspective to big data. Digital activism and media arts are productive approaches to investigate the mechanisms of big data because a subversive take on technological use evinces the power relations they are rendering. In this study I propose critical making experiments that follow the trajectory of media arts in ways that privilege the emergence of digital embodiments (aka arrangements of datasets) as transitory processes more than stable states. In consequence, these experiment should focus on making the mechanisms of algorithmic knowledge visible to users in order to demonstrate their dynamic constitution similarly to other forms of discourse. This move would allow us to engage with data mining practices as a productive and informative event about datasets, instead of taking it as a defining standard to be followed. It would also prompt awareness about the underlying mechanisms that construct data analytics. 

Latest Research

I am currently working on publishing the results of my latest research project which was developed during my doctorate in Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media at North Carolina State University. 

My doctorate research investigated how the emergence of the Internet of Things and the embeddedness of sensors and networked connectivity onto things, physical spaces and biological bodies rearticulates embodied spaces, devises practices of self-making and forms of power in the governance of the self and society (see full dissertation).

In this dissertation I adopt a materialist framework that reconciles perspectives in the fields of Digital Humanities and Critical and Cultural studies to discuss media technologies and networks as a procedural material articulation of discourses, social practices and actions. I started this investigation through auto ethnographies to produce accounts of my use of self-tracking technologies. Based on this initial experiences, I developed a critical making experiment titled “Truth or Dare: a moral mobile compass for ethical living” (ToD). ToD is an interactive installation that mimics the function of a lie detector. In this installation I installed analog sensors in a micro-controller that when held by the installation participant produce values that measure her emotional distress (similarly to a typical lie detector, emotional distress is measured based on the variation of electric conductivity). The values are relayed to an app in a smartphone that interfaces with Twitter. As the participant tweets, the app inputs how her values fall into the threshold of distress. If the value is off range of the baseline for normalcy, the app tags the tweet with #lie. ToD produces an ironic and critical approach to the adoption of biometric and computational parameters for the construction of truth and reveal a wide range of symbolic negotiations that shape the construction of mediated subjectivities.  And lastly, I also conducted a case study of the Quantified Self movement, which is a community of “self-trackers” that mostly uses sensors and wearable computing for self-knowledge and life-logging.

/Previous research

The materiality of the dispositif in net art experiences (2007): This study results from a MPhil thesis in Communication that investigated the relationship between the materiality of code, the graphic interface and the concept of aesthetic experience in software art projects. The study is comprised of case studies of two software art projects: Alexei Shulgin’s Form Art Competition and Dyske Suematsu’s Net Abstraction. I implement a visual content analysis to discuss the ways in which the graphic interface of the websites that host these projects proposse directives for aesthetic experiences that privilege a communicational relation with the interactor where the production of images follows synthetic procedural codes.

?option=process(): Interactivity in net art projects (2003): This is an undergraduate multimodal thesis co-written with Maria Teresa Tavares that explored the poetics of interactivity in net art projects in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. The theoretical framework of the thesis is sustained by three essays, and each one of them is built upon one concept: network, mediation and process. These concepts work as rhizomatic points of access to discuss issues of online communication, media arts and legitimization of net art as an institutionalized art practice. This study also produced a series of net art projects that pushed the limit of interactivity (from mechanic, pre-programmed reactions in a system to interventionist actions and remixing), question notions of authorship, and of art as a finished, self-contained object of exhibition.


/Publications (see the full list)


DUARTE, F. Transborder Immigrant Tool. Transfers, v. 1, p. 113-118, 2011.

GOGGIN, G.; DUARTE, F. Mobile Internet In: Dialogues on Mobile Communication (Changing Mobilities).1 ed.New York: Routledge, 2016, v.1, p. 110-124.

DUARTE, F.; SILVA, A. Arte.Mov, Mobilefest, and the emergence of a mobile culture in Brazil. In: Gerard Goggin, Larissa Hjorth. (Org.). The Routledge Companion to Mobile Media. 1ed.New York: Routledge, 2014, v. , p. 206-215.

DUARTE, F. Rerouting borders: politics of mobility and the Transborder Immigrant Tool. In: Adriana de Souza e Silva, Mimi Sheller. (Org.). Mobility and Locative Media – Mobile Communication in Hybrid Spaces. 1ed. New York: Routledge, 2014, v. 1, p. 65-81.

DUARTE, F. Materialidade do dispositivo e o auto-referencialismo nas net artes. In: Suzette Venturelli. (Org.). Arte e Tecnologia: intersecções entre arte e pesquisas tecno-científicas. 1ed.Brasília: Universidade de Brasília, 2007, v. , p. 110-116.

DUARTE, F. Atravessamentos materiais nas net artes. In: CEPIA | COLABOR, coord. São Paulo: MAC USP / Programa Interunidades de Pós-Graduação em Estética e História da Arte. (Org.). Caminhos da Arte para o século XXI. 1ed.São Paulo: Editora USP, 2007, v. , p. 64-66.

DUARTE, F. Net artes: conceitos, heranças e tendências, ISSN 2175-2389. In: II Simpósio Nacional da ABCIBER – Associação Brasileira de Pesquisadores em Cibercultura, 2008, São Paulo. Anais do II Simpósio Nacional da ABCIBER – Associação Brasileira de Pesquisadores em Cibercultura, 2008.

DUARTE, F. Poéticas do dispositivo nas net artes, ISBN 978-85-88573-26-2. In: XXX Congresso Brasileiro de Ciências da Comunicação, 2007, Santos. Anais do XXX Congresso Brasileiro de Ciências da Comunicação, Intercom/Unisanta/Unisantos/Unimonte, 29 de agosto a 02 de setembro de 2007 / organizado por Sueli Mara S. P. Ferreira., 2007