What Counts as Data and for Whom? The Role of the Modest Witness in Art-Science Collaboration

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this chapter, I suggest that in the context of art–science collaboration, scientists and artists can play the role of the “modest witness.” By bringing together Donna Haraway’s figure of the modest witness and a diverse body of scholarly literature on data-centred research in experimental systems, this chapter argues that unveiling the role of the modest witness is a required action for any scholar and/or artist engaged in art–science. I introduce the concept of the “modest witness” in art–science projects to understand how facts are generated from data, validated, and then circulated within and beyond the laboratory into the public arena. The modest witness, far from being an objective observer whose testimony is crucial, can determine what counts as knowledge and for whom. This conceptual framework can enable researchers to address matters of concern rather than just matters of fact in the situated laboratory and art–science settings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Art, Science and Technology Studies
EditorsHannah Star Rogers, Megan Halpern, Dehlia Hannah, Kathryn de Ridder-Vignone
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429437069
ISBN (Print)9781138347304, 9780367564926
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2021


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