This panel examines the materialities and technical objects of open laboratories to analyse how boundaries are established and crossed through collaborative production. We focus on the dynamics of emergence and institutionalization "from below".
We are witnessing a return to questions of public participation in science and technology with the emergence of convivial spaces for collaborative work around (bio)hackerspaces, fablabs, and innovation laboratories. The importance of these spaces resides in their ongoing experimentation with alternative organizational models, collaborative-competitive arrangements, and varying degrees of openness to public participation. Assembling new sociotechnical collectives, they hold the promise of providing wider access to science and technology. Yet, they are also sites of tensions involving distinct forms of expertise at the intersections of markets, publics, and institutional politics. In this panel, we will examine the materialities and technical objects of open laboratories to analyse how boundaries are established and crossed through collaborative production. We will also focus on the dynamics of emergence and institutionalization "from below" through the collaborative work on shared technical objects and infrastructures.
We welcome contributions addressing the following questions:
- What kinds of organizations, materials, concepts, and norms do "open labs" produce?
- What kinds of expectations, promises, futures, and utopias are articulated through their material objects and practices?
- What kinds of boundary-work are made visible and invisible through processes of institutionalization?
- How do technical objects and sociotechnical practices collapse and challenge established spatial analytics of locality and globality?
- For the purposes of collaborative ethnography, how productive are terms such as "(bio)hacker", "maker", "entrepreneur", and categories such as "openness"?