Mapping Future Histories of RFID: Workshop Results


Recalling RFID

On 19-20 October 2007, De Balie hosted a two-day event called 'Recalling RFID', a programme by Richard de Boer and Eric Kluitenberg (De Balie), Rob van Kranenburg (Waag Society) and Sabine Niederer (Institute of Network Cultures and Digital Methods Initiative).

It's in travel documents, building passes, pet animals, clothing stores, libraries, public pools, theme parks and prisons... and yet only a few of us know what RFID is. RFID (radio frequency identification) uses radio waves to identify people, animals or objects carrying encoded microchips. For government and industry, RFID signifies economic innovation, while for the futurist it marks the next stage in digital connectivity. RFID's pervasiveness will only increase in the years to come, forcing shifts in perceptions of the public sphere and private domain.

Alongside the promise RFID brings, there are implications for security, individual privacy and beyond. If it was not already clear, RFID clues us in to the fact that in digital networks, there is no forgetting or memory loss. As such, RFID lends itself both to optimism and fear, forming a microcosm through which a collective, ambivalent relationship to technology is put on display. Recalling RFID centers around this 'invisible' technology with a public seminar, workshops and a smart opera. The program brings together distinctive conceptions of RFID and its uses, reconfiguring discourses as dialogue.

The programme consisted of a seminar on October 19, and workshops on October 20, the Digital Methods Initiative organized one of the workshop, dedicated to mapping RFID on the Web. The Mapping Future Histories of RFID workshop was supported by the Mondriaan Foundation Interregeling.

Check out Anne Helmond's Recalling RFID photoset on Flickr.


Workshop Results:

The workshop started with a short introductory lecture by Richard Rogers, about researching RFID on the Web. After this, smaller teams were formed that worked on various projects. The day ended with presentations of all the projects.

1. The Substantive Composition of RFID According to Folksonomy and the Web

Research Question: Which issue language is significantly associated with RFID according to the top 100 Web pages returned by Google for the query, RFID?

Method:Query Google for 'RFID' and uinsert the first 100 results into the Issue Discovery tool, which seeks noun phrases and weighs them according to specificity and frequency. Remove everything that is not 'issue language'. Visualize in a cloud, where terms are scaled resized according to frequency.
  • Source:;
  • Query: RFID
  • Tools:Google Scraper, Harvester, Issue Discovery Tool and Tag Cloud Generator
  • Date: 20 October 2007

Findings: The issue language at the top of the Web (according to Google search results) is primarily industry-driven. Particular concerns expressed by progressive geeks (represented by the Chaos Communications Congress as well as the RFID Guardian firewall) and non-governmental watchdogs (represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the RFID implants) resonate less so.

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
drama_rfid.pdfpdf drama_rfid.pdf manage 119 K 23 Oct 2007 - 21:33 RichardRogers  
drama_rfid.pngpng drama_rfid.png manage 450 K 23 Oct 2007 - 21:32 RichardRogers  
issue_packaging.jpgjpg issue_packaging.jpg manage 3 MB 20 Oct 2007 - 15:32 SabineNiederer  
logo_ms.gifgif logo_ms.gif manage 3 K 12 Sep 2008 - 09:49 Main.issuecrawler14  
rfid-logo-def.jpegjpeg rfid-logo-def.jpeg manage 9 K 12 Sep 2008 - 09:36 Main.issuecrawler14  
rfid_compostition_folksonom.pngpng rfid_compostition_folksonom.png manage 65 K 24 Oct 2007 - 11:25 UnknownUser  
rfid_compostition_folksonomy.pdfpdf rfid_compostition_folksonomy.pdf manage 369 K 24 Oct 2007 - 11:31 UnknownUser  
rfid_compostition_web.pdfpdf rfid_compostition_web.pdf manage 353 K 24 Oct 2007 - 11:37 UnknownUser  
rfid_compostition_web.pngpng rfid_compostition_web.png manage 85 K 24 Oct 2007 - 11:26 UnknownUser  
rfid_imagery_dry.pdfpdf rfid_imagery_dry.pdf manage 1 MB 23 Nov 2007 - 21:24 RichardRogers Recalling RFID workshop - Image Analysis - Final 'dry' association
rfid_imagery_dry.pngpng rfid_imagery_dry.png manage 660 K 23 Oct 2007 - 17:44 EstherWeltevrede Visualization Recalling RFID dry
rfid_imagery_dry_corrected.jpgjpg rfid_imagery_dry_corrected.jpg manage 550 K 21 Oct 2008 - 16:23 RichardRogers Recalling RFID workshop - image analysis - 'dry' corrected jpg
rfid_imagery_dry_corrected.pdfpdf rfid_imagery_dry_corrected.pdf manage 2 MB 21 Oct 2008 - 16:18 RichardRogers Recalling RFID workshop - image analysis - 'dry' corrected
rfid_imagery_wet.pdfpdf rfid_imagery_wet.pdf manage 1 MB 23 Nov 2007 - 17:14 EstherWeltevrede rfid imagery wet
rfid_imagery_wet.pngpng rfid_imagery_wet.png manage 669 K 23 Oct 2007 - 17:44 EstherWeltevrede Visualization Recalling RFID wet
rfid_imagery_wet_corrected.jpgjpg rfid_imagery_wet_corrected.jpg manage 587 K 21 Oct 2008 - 16:25 RichardRogers Recalling RFID workshop - image analysis - 'wet' corrected jpg
rfid_imagery_wet_corrected.pdfpdf rfid_imagery_wet_corrected.pdf manage 3 MB 21 Oct 2008 - 16:20 RichardRogers Recalling RFID workshop - image analysis - 'wet' corrected
wikipedia_rfid.pdfpdf wikipedia_rfid.pdf manage 695 K 23 Oct 2007 - 21:20 RichardRogers Recalling RFID workshop - Wikipedia Entry for RFID
wikipedia_rfid_entry_piechart.pdfpdf wikipedia_rfid_entry_piechart.pdf manage 215 K 23 Oct 2007 - 21:34 RichardRogers  
wikipedia_rfid_entry_piechart.pngpng wikipedia_rfid_entry_piechart.png manage 59 K 23 Oct 2007 - 21:32 RichardRogers  
wikipedia_rfidentry_cartogram.pdfpdf wikipedia_rfidentry_cartogram.pdf manage 484 K 23 Oct 2007 - 21:34 RichardRogers  
wikipedia_rfidentry_cartogram.pngpng wikipedia_rfidentry_cartogram.png manage 90 K 23 Oct 2007 - 21:33 RichardRogers  
Topic revision: r30 - 29 Oct 2008, ErikBorra
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