New article out: “The Perspective of the Instruments”

“The Perspective of the Instruments: Mediating Collectivity”, in: Foundations of Science: https://rdcu.be/Masx.

Numerous studies in the fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and philosophy of technology have repeatedly stressed that scientific practices are collective practices that crucially depend on the presence of scientific technologies. Postphenomenology is one of the movements that aims to draw philosophical conclusions from these observations through an analysis of human–technology interactions in scientific practice. Two other attempts that try to integrate these insights into philosophy of science are Ronald Giere’s Scientific Perspectivism (2006) and Davis Baird’s Thing Knowledge (2004). In this paper, we critically discuss these two approaches from the perspective of postphenomenology. We argue that Giere and Baird problematically assume that scientific instruments (a) have a determined function, and (b) that all human members of a scientific collective have immediate access to this function. However, these assumptions also allow them to offer a clear answer to the question how scientists can collectively relate to scientific phenomena. Such an answer is not yet (explicitly) formulated within the postphenomenological perspective. By adding a postphenomenological touch to the semiotic approach in Actor-Network Theory, we offer an account of how different individual human–technology relations are integrated into larger scientific collectives. We do so by showing that scientific instruments not only help constitute scientific phenomena, but also the intersubjectivity within such collectives.

New article published: Technological Environmentality

(Online first at: https://rdcu.be/LpS0)

After several technological revolutions in which technologies became ever more present in our daily lives, the digital technologies that are currently being developed are actually fading away from sight. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are not only embedded in devices that we explicitly “use” but increasingly become an intrinsic part of the material environment in which we live. How to conceptualize the role of these new technological environments in human existence? And how to anticipate the ways in which these technologies will mediate our everyday lives? In order to answer these questions, we draw on two approaches that each offers a framework to conceptualize these new technological environments: Postphenomenology and Material Engagement Theory. As we will show, each on their own, these approaches fail to do justice to the new environmental role of technology and its implications for human existence. But by bringing together Postphenomenology’s account of technological mediation and Material Engagement Theory’s account of engaging with environments, it becomes possible to sufficiently account for the new environmental workings of technology. To do justice to these new workings of environmental technologies, we introduce and develop the concept of “Technological Environmentality.”

Conference ‘Critical by Design?’ (Basel)

“Critical By Design?” is a two-day international research conference on the capacity of design as a mode of critique. It offers a unique platform for the interdisciplinary discussion of critical theories and practices from a design perspective. Renowned experts from design theory, history and practice, the philosophy of technology, the art, cultural and media studies as well as the field of human-computer interaction come together to reconsider historical trajectories, advance contemporary understandings and propose future developments of design as a materialized form of critique. Conference website: https://criticalbydesign.ch

Conference ‘Politics of the Machines: Art and After’ (Copenhagen)

http://www.eva-copenhagen.dk

How does the machine impact and contextualize artistic production and perception? Recent research on the impact of machines and technology on art places the machine in the centre of ‘ecologies’ (Fuller), ‘archaeologies’ (Parikka) and ‘aesthetics of interaction’ (Kwastek) pointing towards a ‘techno-ontology’ (Broeckmann). However, the growing interest in describing the phenomenon of the ‘computer’ as the electronic machine has risked to keep both the computer and technology more broadly trapped within a logic in which technology appears as our transcendence from which we ‘cannot escape’ (Heidegger, Zizek). Whereas the matter of technology should always be approached critically, the focus on machines as ‘digital’ and ‘electronic’ hides the alternative, experimental and different ontologies and materialities of the machine and the correspondingly  different epistemologies they may operate in. Throughout his writings, Bruno Latour, for instance, develops a thinking based on the notion of the ‘politics of things’, which may also give our relation to machines a less immaterial and semiological bias. How are the relationality and operationality of machines being negotiated into cultural and social ontologies? Where do experimental and artistic practices  work beyond the human / non-human dualisms and  into biological, hybrid, cybernetic, vibrant, uncanny, overly material, darkly ecological, critical, (etc.) machines?

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

María Antonia González Valerio (MEX)

Ljiljana Fruk (CRO)

Peter-Paul Verbeek (NL)

Andreas Broeckmann (D)

The conference is hosted by Aalborg University Copenhagen and IT-U Copenhagen in collaboration with EVA London, Computer Arts Society, British Computer Society, and DIAS Gallery Copenhagen.