Accepted Paper:

Improvising Technology and Power: Long live use-value and Cyborgs  


Felicity Heathcote-Márcz (Alliance Manchester Business School)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will explore ontologies & lived experiences of power & use-value that exist in one unique UK technology-arts organisation. Improvised makings, cyborg tech, open source bricoleur & ‘making-other’ are discussed via ethnographic fieldnotes and the concept of ‘exterior concentric’ relation.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will explore the ontologies and lived experiences of power and use-value that exist in one unique UK technology-arts organisation. Improvised makings and cyborg technologies characterise the organisation of this site, and its circumvention of structures, particularly those of 'value' and capitalist economy, will be translated via ethnography. The non-privatised, non-hierarchical nature of how this organisation operates and is, along with a history of functions and 'reach' into diverse (and several traditionally power-less) audiences via technologies and values of 'altruism' and 'openness', (their lexicon) make it an especially unique and historically contingent place for ethnography. Differently constructed use-values and "education by other means" are explored by the repurposing of digital trash the organisation engages in, and a co-constructed learning of the organisation and its - often radically different - sets of audiences. Yet the ways in which 'other' spaces such as this one are still bound into traditional means of structuration will also be articulated via the introduction and delineation of the concept of an 'exterior concentric' relation. Ethnographic fieldnotes are called upon to demonstrate the escape mechanisms making-other (especially 'open source bricoleur') does allow via technology and via art. Making-other is brought together in this analysis via ethnographic-making in the figure of the Cyborg. Reconsellating (in Spivak's terms) computers, art, and those things in-between is shown to be a very cyborgian activity, and one that may have an interesting contribution for debates in STS.

Panel T019
Science and Technology through Critical Art Practice