Illuminating Networked Belonging: The SIM project

by Liz Hingley and Zeena Feldman

Illuminating Networked Belonging - The SIM project

This workshop explores the ways that people, photography and smartphones intermesh to foster belonging. In the interactive session we ‘open up’ the smartphone to consider the significance of SIM cards and the visual artefacts they circulate, in order to understand how these technologies help forge users’ sense of security, identity and community. The networked SIM card is seen as a precious and evolving storyboard of intimate relationships, a symbolic and practical resource that connects the vast majority of the world’s population. This minute object is an overlooked but key backbone of modern mobile communication – it is a vital tool for unlocking transnational as well as local networks, user independence and imagined futures.


Participants will be introduced to the inspiration, process, context, and findings of The SIM Project. They will then be guided to map and visualise their own SIM card belongings through a series of activities, and invited to contribute a ‘screenshot with a story’ to The SIM Project international exhibition. These screenshots will be fabricated into wearable SIM-scale artworks using a hybrid process incorporating 3D printing, analogue darkroom techniques and the craft of silversmithing. Developed over years of collaborative research, these artworks hold both a physical and virtual presence and respond to our increasingly embodied relationships with mobile devices.

This workshop’s methodology attends to the meanings and materialities of personal digital ecosystems encoded and enacted through the smartphone. It employs perspectives from cultural studies, and the anthropology and sociology of material and visual culture. All materials will be provided.



Zeena Feldman’s interdisciplinary research examines the relationship between digital technologies and everyday life. She has published widely, including on visual culture, the sharing economy, online communities, digital detox and mental health apps. She is the editor of Art & the Politics of Visibility (IB Tauris, 2017). Liz Hingley is a photographic artist and anthropologist. Her inherently collaborative work illuminates the systems of belonging and belief that shape cities around the world. Her projects, made in Europe and China, have been published as five monographs, exhibited around the world and received numerous accolades including a Getty Grant.