This blog is aware (for those who read those words as a philosophical provocation, please contact Jamie Brassett, MA Innovation Management) that the mere hint of the word ‘database’ has the shutters of many imaginations slamming. However, we are all connected in myriad ways through, and in, relational databases.
Data ebbs and flows across the messy digital landscape. When converging and concentrated, data produces relations or disassociations.
Relational databases have become such a crucial part of the conceptual and material infrastructure of the present that it is difficult to imagine many contemporary media systems without their existence as a foundation.
Fuller, M & Goffey, A (2012)
The multiplicity of communication technologies and patterns at the heart of our everyday experience is enabled, in part, by the database. Manuel Castells talks about mass self-communication facilitated by social software and how the revolutionary aspect of new communications technologies has made ‘virtuality a fundamental dimension of our reality.’ Part of the messy infrastructure supporting our perpetual connectivity are databases. As they normalise and abstract each piece of data, in turn they construct networks of new relations and new possibilities.