[-empyre-] Critical Making in International Networks

Nina Belojevic nbelojevic at gmail.com
Fri Apr 25 08:46:47 EST 2014

Hi, all. I also want begin by also thanking Tim and Renate for inviting me
to participate in this conversation. I've really enjoyed the conversation
so far, and it's great to hear about some of the presentations at HASTAC
this year. Liz -- I'm very much looking forward to the two panels you're
organizing. The Hemispheric Hacktivism panel looks especially relevant for
me, as it overlaps with my own recent work on hardware hacking and circuit

I like to think of hacking as a way of exposing or foregrounding what is
usually obfuscated, such as material particulars, glitches, or operations.
The WHOSE HAND AM I HOLDING ANYWAY? interactive makerspace project we're
demonstrating at HASTAC today and tomorrow does something similar by
literally rendering material processes that have become difficult to "see"
more visible. As Katie already mentioned, the practice-based side of our
mold-making workshop draws attention to a common form of production
required for many of the devices we use and thus foregrounds the otherwise
invisible production process. By making molds that are conceptually
representative of our identities -- our unique fingerprints -- we draw
attention to the messiness of identity by foregrounding the border between
data and bodies. In so doing, this project also comments on how our virtual
identities play a value-productive role in the digital economy, even when
we aren't aware of it or when it is not even us doing it (for example, if
someone else is using my IP address). As Jentery mentioned, the abstract
rendering of subjects alienates us in new ways. The physical computing
element that we are adding to the molds also foregrounds the computational
processes through which physical interaction is translated into data.

By foregrounding these elements and functions, it becomes possible to use
material objects and processes to make arguments. Our makerspace at HASTAC
is a way for us to experiment with this approach.

I look forward to hearing other people's perspectives.


On Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 3:05 PM, Losh, Elizabeth <elosh at ucsd.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Delighted to be part of the contingent talking about Critical Making in
> International Networks, as I sit in the Atlanta airport waiting for my
> flight to HASTAC in Peru.  Michael Simeone raised some important issues
> about "making decisions" earlier in the month, and of course my own
> thinking in the Virtualpolitik book has been shaped by the Latour and
> Weibel exhibition and book about "making things public."
> In the context of work going on at UCSD as we approach the “Hemispheric
> Pathways” theme of HASTAC, I often think about conversations with my
> colleague Teddy Cruz about the flows of people, products, ideas, and
> resources in both directions across the US-Mexico border.
> For those who don’t know Cruz’s work on the list, I offer this report back
> from Cruz’s extraordinary conference Political Equator 3 to help you get
> acquainted with it:
> http://ucsota.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/political-equator-3-report-back-from-liz-losh/.
>  Part of the conference actually took place in the middle of a normally
> deserted no-man’s-land that was under constant patrol of Homeland Security
> forces.  There were a number of particularly memorable examples of critical
> making highlighted, including a detailed 3D topographic model of the border
> landscape in which we had assembled.
> Political Equator set a pretty high bar for an unforgettable conference,
> but I am hopeful that this year’s HASTAC will facilitate vivid encounters
> with how we “make things public” and “make decisions” by activating new
> kinds of discourses between the Global North and Global South.  I’m
> thrilled to be organizing two panels this year, one on “Hemispheric
> Hacktivism” with Joan Donovan of UCSD, Micha Cárdenas of the University of
> Southern California, Kyra of the Free Software Foundation, and Isabel
> Restrepo, Universidad de Antioquia, and one with my longstanding FemTechNet
> collaborators: CL Cole, TL Cowan , Jasmine Rault, and Radhika Gajjala, (who
> will participate remotely, because of a family emergency).
> Both HASTAC panels are explicitly cyberfeminist, although one focuses more
> on hacking conventional political imaginaries around e-government, and the
> other focuses more on hacking conventional structures of e-learning.  I’ll
> report back on our discussions later in the week and hope to hear your
> comments, so we can incorporate in framing these events in advance as well.
>  I am looking forward to learning more about hacktivism and tactical media
> activism from new colleagues in Peru and excited about collaborating with
> those interested in or already teaching courses on feminism and technology
> in Latin America to see how we can work on content-creation that reverses
> the flow of conventional North-South MOOC instruction.
> Elizabeth Losh
> Director of Academic Programs, Sixth College
> Culture, Art, and Technology Program
> 249 Pepper Canyon Hall
> University of California, San Diego
> 9500 Gilman Drive
> La Jolla, CA 92093-0054
> (858) 822-1666
> lizlosh at ucsd.edu
> http://losh.ucsd.edu
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre
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