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robertogreco : prosthetics   29

Science and the Senses: Perturbation — Cultural Anthropology
"I vividly remember how, on certain nights in my childhood, my brother and I would be herded toward the entrance hall of my parents’ house, where the Carl Zeiss Ultraphot II microscope still stands. This was a huge machine from the 1960s, one of the relics that my father would rescue from the constant upgrading of his lab required by so-called scientific progress. To me, as a child, it was some sort of abstruse, mysterious device. Taking up a large portion of the hall, it was a massive object, coming with its own table, which was usually covered with a thick gray drape to protect it from dust. Above the oculars, there was a giant, round screen typical of the 1960s design, all curves and matte metal. On those nights, my parents—both freshwater microbial ecologists—would take off the drape, turn all of the lights off, and turn on the screen to show my brother and me the wonders of microscopic worlds.

Growing up with experiences like this, the notion that science forgets the sensory never made much sense to me. Perception was present and was much more than just that: it entailed the full spectrum of emotions, passions, senses, and the kind of fascination and wonder that only the natural world can inspire. Still now, when I converse with scientists in the course of my fieldwork, I see that wonder and I find the senses present in all kinds of ways. Yet the role of the sensory is shifting. I hear it whenever my mother discusses her work with me: so many of the younger scientists with whom she works are oblivious, she tells me, to the sensorial engagements that she grew up with. “They don’t even count them!” she exclaims, referring to the microorganisms in their samples. “How can you know what you have if you don’t even look in the microscope?” The sensory dimensions of molecular biology are replacing the time consuming, eye-wrenching work of counting by microscope. More advanced techniques allow the scientist to determine what is in a sample without ever putting it in a slide under a microscope. Or so their proponents claim.

The problem with these changes is not so much the depersonalization of sensorial experience. Rather, it is the increasing confidence in new methods and the assumption that these are unproblematic and fully objective. The story goes that 16S rRNA analysis tells you what organisms you are dealing with with the certainty of a fact. Of course, most people working with these techniques know better. But as students have less time to get their degrees and are pushed forward faster, they have less time to doubt and to fully grasp the limits of their newly acquired sensorium. Often these techniques rely on advanced knowledge in other fields, far from the expertise of those who use them, thus hiding their limitations by design. Those who depend on these prosthetics are easily alienated from the nitty-gritty details of the materialities in play, and have little sense of what the limits and constraints of those prosthetics might be."



"This re-scription is useful when considering the scale of the microbial and the scientific sensorial apparatuses proper to it. But it is equally useful for thinking and doing on another scale, which is central to my current work: that of the planetary. Having been sucked into the maelstrom of the Anthropocene, my research tries to resist the traction of this notion and its mainstream political currents. To do so, I attend to the figure of the planet. The planetary scale is the motor force of the Anthropocene, on which the gears of the vast machine of sustainability rely. The way in which the Anthropocene frames global environmental change depends on the same sensorial apparatuses that make the planet. But in the process of making environmental emergency, the Anthropocene also risks remaking the planet Earth in its own image, perpetuating dangerous elisions and tensions and forgetting the limits of its own planetary sensorium. In resisting the notion of the planetary, then, I attend to it historically and praxiographically—but also, one might say, scientifically. My aim is to flesh out not only the continuities in the histories of this notion and its object, but also the gaps, interruptions, and diversions that characterize it. In doing so, I aim to offer inspiration for unfolding alternative constellations of the planetary. Here, the planet emerges not only as an object; it complicates the clear distinction between subjects and objects that informs the official epistemology of modern science. Rethinking the sensory in terms of modes of attention (and distraction) can, I think, play a crucial role in this rearticulation of the planetary away from received theories of knowledge, toward a world in which knowing is just one among a multiplicity of practices and doings/undoings that make worlds in which living together, willy-nilly, is done.



Attending to the sensorium of the planetary highlights the technosocial apparatuses that are at work in making planetary vision possible. It imagines as nature not only the planet, but also satellites, spaceflight, remote sensing, radioisotope tracers, global circulation models; the vast machine of climate-change science policy; social phenomena like the green economy and austerity; and the discourses of extinction, loss, adaptation, and proliferation that characterize the Anthropocene. Considering these sensory mediations as relational and historical modes of attention and distraction inflected across heterogeneous materials and sites allows us to attend to how knowing, doing, and living with the planet are enacted in the same gesture. This move can restore the sense of wonder that I saw in the screen of my childhood to the sciences."
science  senses  wonder  method  sfsh  expeuence  2017  donnaharaway  anthropology  anthropocene  perception  doubt  prosthetics  technology  time  technoscience  attention  maríacarozzi  williamjames  vincianedespret  knowing  distraction 
february 2017 by robertogreco
Brenda Vaden on Instagram: “(Warning: long sentimental post ahead) Today I am forever thankful to a young man named Willie Maxwell aka Fetty Wap. While his music is catchy (not always agree with his lyrics but hey who am I to judge...), I'm not necessar
"anaisvaden (Warning: long sentimental post ahead) Today I am forever thankful to a young man named Willie Maxwell aka Fetty Wap. While his music is catchy (not always agree with his lyrics but hey who am I to judge...), I'm not necessarily his fan (although Trap Queen is my jam), BUT today I'm his biggest fan.

Many close friends, and of course our family know that Jayden was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma at the age of 1. In result of that he had his right eye removed 2 weeks after his 1st bday. He's worn a prosthetic eye since then. He has always been terrified of taking it out and would not be caught without it...and then comes along Fetty Wap... Similar to Jayden he lost an eye at a young age and along the way he decided that he didn't want to wear his prosthetic eye anymore, so he stopped. Jayden, let it be known, is a Fetty Wap fan, a real fan, not like me ha! Well, today, after weeks of asking, Jayden is venturing the world without his prosthetic. I of course am a wreck because this world can be cruel, but so proud of our Boogies. This young rapper unknowingly gave Jayden something we weren't able to give him-the confidence to be different- and I am grateful to him. Thanks to Fetty Wap for saying F the world this is me, and for helping make our baby boy just a little more remarkable than he already is. And we'll be purchasing his album, a small thank you to him for changing Jayden's life forever.
#oneeyeandawesome #jaydenismyhero #thankyoufettywap @fettywap1738"

[via: "A little boy in Colorado stopped wearing his prosthetic eye because Fetty made asymmetry alright."
http://www.npr.org/2015/09/21/442241983/first-listen-fetty-wap-fetty-wap ]
parenting  prosthetics  fettywap  2015  asymmetry 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Radical Sensing - Selwa Sweidan
"Radical Sensing is a speculative design project rooted in the sense of smell. Radical Sensing imagines a future in which people have chosen to replace their noses with a "super smelling" neuroprosthetic or a "post-nose” that amplifies, isolates, decodes and records scent with simple gestures and downloadable customizations.

Radical Sensing poses questions about the future of prosthetics. Can the voluntary removal of body organs, in favor of augmented replacements, become normative?

Radical Sensing proposes a rearchitecting of the body, externally (though a wearable nose) and internally (through the neurological and experiential changes that arise when ehancing and even sharing the act of smelling).

Through performative prototyping, 3D modeling, user interviews, and a smell recording device - Radical Sensing raises questions about what it means to experience an enhanced sense of smell in the future, and what arises when we "live in our nose" in the present."

[See also:
https://vimeo.com/122488780
https://vimeo.com/124908121
https://vimeo.com/136255169 ]
smell  senses  speculativedesign  selwasweidan  prosthetics  neuroprosthetics 
august 2015 by robertogreco
The Hidden Burden of Exoskeletons for the Disabled - The Atlantic
"“We’re at a cultural moment where young people who are going into technology are looking around for research where they can feel purpose,” says Sara Hendren, an artist, designer, and researcher based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who specializes in assistive-design projects. When they encounter assistive technologies like prosthetics and exoskeletons, she explains, they think they’ve found something that seems like pure good.

“But the problem is that patients are so marginalized from defining their own wishes, that you risk replicating that same top-down assumptions about what people want.” Hendren uses cochlear implants as an example: Inventors assume that a person must want to hear, because they can’t imagine another possibility—but in reality, the Deaf community is quite vibrant, and not everyone feels the need for an implant.

Hendren points out that that putting too much focus on these kinds of devices can also create the idea that there is a “successful” disabled person: that someone who can use an exoskeleton to walk, or a prosthetic limb to run, has succeeded more than someone who cannot. “I worry that an excessive focus on this technology risks romanticizing bootstrapping and overcomer stories,” she says. “I don’t want to diminish what they do, but I don’t want to live in a world where there’s a continued repulsion around dependence. I want to live in a world where it’s okay to ask for help.”

Exoskeletons aren’t the only project that illustrates this issue. Hendren remembers a person who suggested that those in wheelchairs could perhaps carry their own ramps around in case they want to go somewhere that isn’t wheelchair-accessible. Aside from the fact that different settings require different ramps, these sorts of solutions put the onus on the individual to make something usable, rather than on the community. Why should each wheelchair have to come with a toolbox in order to be able to get anywhere?"
sarahendren  disability  2015  design  accessibility  prosthetics  exoskeletons  deaf  deafness  difference  wheelchairs  ramps  technology  bootstrapping  overcomers  dependence  assistance  assistivetechnology  disabilities 
august 2015 by robertogreco
prosthetics, child-rearing, and social construction - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"N.B.: I am not arguing for or against changing child-rearing practices. I am exploring how and why people simply forget that human beings are animals, are biological organisms on a planet with a multitude of other biological organisms with which they share many structural and behavioral features because they also share a long common history. (I might also say that they share a creaturely status by virtue of a common Maker, but that’s not a necessary hypothesis at the moment.) In my judgment, such forgetting does not happen because people have been steeped in social constructionist arguments; those are, rather, just tools ready to hand. There is a deeper and more powerful and (I think) more pernicious ideology at work, which has two components."



"Those who look forward to a future of increasing technological manipulation of human beings, and of other biological organisms, always imagine themselves as the Controllers, not the controlled; they always identify with the position of power. And so they forget evolutionary history, they forget biology, they forget the disasters that can come from following the Oppenheimer Principle — they forget everything that might serve to remind them of constraints on the power they have ... or fondly imagine they have."

[See also: “Blueprint for a Better Human Body: People who wear and design prosthetics are rethinking the form of our species.” http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/05/a-blueprint-for-a-better-human-body/389655/ ]

[Follow-up post: http://text-patterns.thenewatlantis.com/2015/05/ideas-and-their-consequences.html

"I think there is a great tendency among academics to think that cutting-edge theoretical reflection is ... well, is cutting some edges somewhere. But it seems to me that Theory is typically a belated thing. I’ve argued before that some of the greatest achievements of 20th-century literary criticism are in fact rather late entries in the Modernist movement: “We academics, who love to think of ourselves as being on the cutting-edge of thought, are typically running about half-a-century behind the novelists and poets.” And we run even further behind the scientists and technologists, who alter our material world in ways that generate the Lebenswelt within which humanistic Theory arises.

This failure of understanding — this systematic undervaluing of the materiality of culture and overvaluing of what thinkers do in their studies — is what produces vast cathedrals of error like what I have called the neo-Thomist interpretation of history. When Brad Gregory and Thomas Pfau, following Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain and Richard Weaver, argue that most of the modern world (especially the parts they don't like) emerges from disputes among a tiny handful of philosophers and theologians in the University of Paris in the fifteenth century, they are making an argument that ought to be self-evidently absurd. W. H. Auden used to say that the social and political history of Europe would be exactly the same if Dante, Shakespeare, and Mozart had never lived, and that seems to me not only to be true in those particular cases but also as providing a general rule for evaluating the influence of writers, artists, and philosophers. I see absolutely no reason to think that the so-called nominalists — actually a varied crew — had any impact whatsoever on the culture that emerged after their deaths. When you ask proponents of this model of history to explain how the causal chain works, how we got from a set of arcane, recondite philosophical and theological disputes to the political and economic restructuring of Western society, it’s impossible to get an answer. They seem to think that nominalism works like an airborne virus, gradually and invisibly but fatally infecting a populace. "]
alanjacobs  posthumanism  prosthetics  technology  culture  2015  biology  multispecies  cyborgs  humans  humanism  control  power  robertoppenheimer  roseeveleth 
may 2015 by robertogreco
investigating normal. | Abler.
"SYLLABUS

ENGR 3299 Investigating Normal: Adaptive and Assistive Technologies

Assistive technologies usually refer to prosthetics and medical aids: tools, devices, and other gear that either restore or augment the functioning of body parts. Historically, these have been designed for people with diagnosable disabilities. In this course, we look at medical as well as cultural tools that investigate the “normal” body and mind, and we design our own devices—high-tech, low-tech, digital or analog—with these ideas in mind. Through readings, site visits, guest speakers, and projects, we investigate both traditional and unusual prosthetics and assistive technologies, broadly defined. We talk to end-users, to engineers and industrial designers, to artists, and to others whose technologies assist with visible and invisible needs, externalize hidden dynamics, and create capacities far beyond or outside ordinary functionality.

Key to our discussions will be the implicit and explicit narratives that get created by and with prosthetic technologies. We’ll look at popular prosthetic tools and examine how their users “perform” them, keeping economic and socio-political factors in mind. We’ll also investigate the ways these narratives get lumped together or distinguished from the available and popular cultural narratives about the cyborg self, about human-machine interfaces in general. With this analysis in mind, I’ll ask you to consider new possibilities for manufacturable prosthetic and medical technologies in the interest of better treatment, especially if that’s where your personal interest lies. But I’ll also ask you to engage in what’s been called interrogative design, or critical design, or resonant design: that is, problem finding as well as problem solving; suspending questions by pressing together, in one artifact or set of artifacts, seemingly disparate or opposing ideas; thinking about what Anthony Dunne calls “para-functionality”: design that lives among recognizable realms of utility, but expands, as he says, beyond conventional definitions of functionalism to include the poetic, or activist, or socio-political.

The class themes are heterogeneous in the first half of the course—on purpose. With visitors and projects and readings, we’ll jump quickly between and among high-tech, low-tech, practical and impractical tools and wearables. The idea is to have you exposed to as many dispositions for making your projects as possible. This “field” is very wide indeed, and its generativity is still under-recognized. Be ready for some zigs and zags along the way, but the goal is to help you elicit your own questions as potential engineers in this broad research space.

It’s worth mentioning right up front that you should divest yourself of the common and well-intended—but utterly misguided—earnestness that drives many designers’ assumptions about “assistive technology.” It may be tempting to find some technical novelty or functional gadget and then, only afterward, look for an application “for the disabled.” I’ve seen too many projects in this vein lately.

Be aware, first, that a central tenet of this class is that all technology is assistive technology: No matter what kind of body you inhabit, you are getting assistance from your devices and extensions and proxies every single day. And second, gird yourself with a proper humility: Ask lots of questions, do the research on precedent tools, and respect the stunning sensory organism that is the living, breathing, adaptive human body. White canes, ankle braces, and assistance animals, after all, are extraordinarily sophisticated prostheses. Digital tools offer unique capabilities, yes—but they’re not inherently “smart” because of their digital nature. The point here is to see ability and disability as an exciting, expansive lens with which to think about many bodies and many kinds of needs.

Finally: This video with Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor is a kind of manifesto, a solid frame from which the ethos of the course proceeds. Please watch early and often:"
sarahendren  syllabus  2015  normal  adaptive  technology  assistivetechnology  adaptivetechnology  anthonydunne  judithbutler  sunauratayor  earnestness  disability  difference  bodies  human  prosthetics  para-functionality  design  disabilities  body  syllabi 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Man Hands | Motherboard
"But finding a female prosthetist isn’t always easy. In 2007, according to the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics, only 13 percent of the industry was female. Nancy Havlik, a prosthetist who works at Hanger Prosthetics, remembers entering the field when it was even worse.

“When I was in school, there was only one other female with me. In my region there were only two other female practitioners when I started," she said. Havlik came across prosthetics at a career fair, but she wasn’t exactly encouraged to pursue it. “I remember walking in in college, and they said 'you’re a female, you cannot do this job.' I will never forget that."

Havlik has worked at Hanger since she graduated in 1996 largely out of loyalty. She said that her bosses at Hanger were the only ones who would take her seriously when she was just starting out.

Having a female prosthetist isn’t only about accessing sensitive areas, it’s also about being sensitive to a female amputee's needs. Both Lacey and Havlik were quick to stress that there are good male prosthetists out there, but they also said that women simply seem to understand more intuitively what other women care about and want.

“A female prosthetist, they understand why it’s a big deal to make sure that you have something that’s not as bulky, something that’s slimmer that will work for skinny jeans,” Lacey said. “I think that men don’t [always] understand that about fashion choices and why that’s important, and a part of your identity and still feeling feminine and not disabled.”

Havlik agrees, saying that she’ll spend time trying to slim a prosthetic down by as little as an eighth of an inch. “Men in general can sometimes see a female patient as being irritating and too concerned about cosmetic looks, and really not take them seriously,” she said. “I really care what it looks like, I know that that eighth of an inch would really bother me.”"



"After finding and fitting a device, women’s struggles with prosthetics continue to diverge from men’s. Women tend to have more variable bodies, and gaining and losing weight can change the way a prosthetic socket fits. Pregnancy can totally throw off a woman’s center of gravity, and the weight gain associated can mean going through several different sockets. “One mom I think we went through 6 sockets,” Havlik told me. In a paper on a 2010 panel for female amputees, Christine Elnitsky, a researcher at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, describes one woman who had both an upper and a lower limb prosthetic who decided to switch to a wheelchair while pregnant and nursing because she didn’t trust her devices to hold her or the baby. “That’s the worst thing for blood pressure, for edema and hypertension. You want them up and walking,” said Havlik.

Even delivery can be complicated by an amputation. In the Disabled American Veterans report, the authors note that “for women with above-the-knee amputations who need a caesarian section, a higher abdominal incision should be planned to avoid irritation by the socket brim.”

But simply making a smaller, lighter prosthetic isn’t easy. You can’t just shrink the whole thing down and expect it to work the same way. “From an engineering perspective, the smaller you go on motors and mechanicals the price for each one goes up exponentially,” said Miguelez. Most companies are only going to invest money in that kind of engineering if they know they’re going to make that money back. “The Defense Department can throw a couple of millions at a computer controlled knee, that’s not a big deal to them, but that’s a big deal to us,” Hoover said.

But even the Defense Department isn’t willing to throw all that much money at developing a female sized prosthetic. Right now, DARPA is developing two prosthetic arms, the DEKA Arm and the Modular Prosthetic Limb. Only the ​DEKA Arm is FDA approved, and is currently being tested by the VA. The Modular Prosthetic Limb, developed by Johns Hopkins, requires more advanced neural interfaces, and is still in the research phase. Both only come in one size.

“We’ve known the one hand size is suboptimal, but the DEKA Arm is a very expensive piece of medical technology that’s proving very difficult to get deployed,” said Brian Schulz, a program manager at the Veterans Health Administration Office of Research and Development. “As much as we would like to have multiple sizes of hands, it’s going to be a lot of work to get the one hand out. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t fit everyone, but it’s kind of a logistic and manufacturing problem.”

All this said, things have gotten much better for women in the last ten years. Despite all the roadblocks and funding concerns, some companies are starting to create products for women. The College Park heel height foot is a good example. Ossur has been a leader in female sized legs for years now, and some companies are starting to bring women on as consultants to help them better understand women’s needs. Bassett works for Ossur, the company that makes the famous Cheetah blades. Lacey’s organization is a part of Hanger."
bodies  feminism  gender  prosthetics  roseeveleth  2015  nancyhavlik  jenlacey  body 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Uses of Art: Little Beasts | The American Reader
"Let us in our imaginations allow all this critique and disappointment to raze participatory art to the ground. Let us do away with it along with the other outmoded utopias. We live now in a world so saturated with the engagement (post, snap, tweet, comment, yo) that even commenting on that situation has become superfluous. We might think of ourselves as in a post-participatory condition. In mood, there is little hope. Change occurs as fitfully as it always has. Personal transformation passes through us convulsively, but cure eludes.

If we destroy as much as we can, oddly, the sense of possibility pokes back up, stems of quackgrass in the rubble of a vacant lot. Pretty soon we have a post-apocalyptic grove of frondy locust trees to contend with. There is something stubborn and persistent that remains, some reason that people keep trying to do this impossible thing.

Participatory art survives and not just on the margins. The less hope we have for art’s political and social efficacy, the more hyper-optimistic work appears and proliferates, under new names and old: Durational Performance, Neo-situationism, Intervention, Social Practice, Socially Engaged Art. Sometimes it’s just called “art.” Often it takes the form of “projects” which try to escape claims in relation to art history or art discourse.

Whatever we think of its chances, participatory art is an explicit antidote to the extreme narcissism of the ordinary material work of art. Walking through white cubes it becomes obvious that the expensive celebrity objects in our museums and galleries do not need us. That’s what they proclaim in their serenity and their stillness. They exist outside of time, complete unto themselves. We are patient before them, ready to be affected, but we cannot affect them in turn. Landscapes shimmer, the depicted stare out, bodies present themselves for our gaze. But the artwork fundamentally doesn’t care whether we are moved or indifferent, aroused or disgusted. It doesn’t even care if we look at it or turn away. It is unchanged by ignorance, by knowing little nods, by crowds of swooners, by expert dismissals. It sails on through time, accepting its preservation, its custodial care, as its due."



"Clark, along with several contemporaries in the influential Brazilian Neo-concretist movement (Amilcar de Castro, Ferreira Gullar, Franz Weissmann, Lygia Pape, Reynaldo Jardim and Theon Spanudis) argued for an art that was “always in the present, always in the process of beginning over,” an art which brought back “a primal—total—experience of the real.” Beginning in 1960 with her series of Bichos (beasts), she made the leap from ordinary geometric abstraction to objects meant to be handled directly by the viewer."



"Clark and other participatory artists are part of a long tradition of demystification—of deliberate attempts to destroy the mana of the work of art by treating it casually, and in so doing to destroy the political gradient between the work and the viewer. In this way, participatory art aims to change the deep structure of the art experience.

To the extent an artwork signals its hierarchical relation to the viewer, to the extent to which it is considered more valuable (financially, absolutely) than the viewer, the form of relation it offers can overwhelm any subversive “content.”

Clark’s Bichos, by demanding touch and rearrangement, propose that art can move from icon or totem to toy. A toy acts intimately. A toy does not and cannot rule its player. It can only invite. As Johan Huizinga suggested in his classic Homo Ludens, play is a free activity. “Play to order is not play: it could at best be a forcible imitation of it.”

This, in potential, gives another register to my self-consciousness and my failure to fall immersively into play with Clark’s Bicho. Between me and the Bicho is a question, a field of possibilities. It is precisely in uncertainty, in the possibility of saying no, or being unable to play, that the desire for real relation can be discovered."



"As I move the plates and hinges she says: “You are the artist, you can make whatever you want.” Generally, this is a sentiment I like, but here it strikes me as missing something crucial. It encourages you to notice your own agency but obscures the curious counter-agency of the object in your hands.

Kids, she says, are better than adults.

“Better at playing?” I ask.

“They ask permission. The adults, if they push too hard, they could break the piece.”

Even though the guard is friendly, and easy with me, her watching makes it even harder to really play. I don’t feel like either an artist or a child."



"As the Sixties ended, Clark moved away from art and especially from museums and galleries. She shifted her work to a class she taught at the Sorbonne in Paris on gestural communication. There, she developed new “relational objects,” sensory prosthetics, and experimental rituals. Imagine a group of Sorbonne students enacting Baba Antropofagica (Anthropophagic Drool), unspooling thread from their mouths and layering a tangle of saliva covered strands over a fellow student, or picture them blindfolded and trying to eat a piece of fruit from a pouch of another student’s suit.

In the milieus of Paris and Rio, rich with psychoanalytic theory and practice, Clark began to call her work psychotherapy, and when she moved back to Rio de Janeiro in 1976 she worked privately with therapeutic participants in a project she called Estruturação do Self (Structuring the Self).

In the account of Suely Rolnik, who knew Clark and has written about her extensively, “[Clark] dedicated a room of her flat to a sort of installation, where she received each person individually for one-hour-long sessions one to three times a week over a period of months, and in some cases, even a period of years. The Relational Objects were the instruments conceived by the artist to touch the bodies of her ‘clients,’ as she referred to those who were available to experience this proposal. Naked, they would lay on one of those objects, the Grande Colchão (Large Mattress), and the session would begin.”

Although Clark called this private practice therapy, she also said that she never stopped being an artist. Estruturação do Self opens the possibility of a way of art which is not merely participatory, a form of art in which the body of the artist is copresent with the art object and with the participant in a mutual relation. Too intimate, perhaps, for most. When I imagine it, I keep picturing the sensation of being covered with drool-soaked strands."



"Clark says, “True participation is open and we will never be able to know what we give to the spectator-author. It is precisely because of this that I speak of a well, from inside which a sound would be taken, not by the you-well, but by the other, in the sense that he throws his own stone.”

My own stone falls as into a shallow street puddle. Thudplop.

The problem is one of time, and of giving in. I can’t seem to give into the Bicho’s time. Its movement, yes, its lived time, no. Maybe for others this lived time would emerge more easily. Perhaps if I were a child, the fascination of the changing forms would absorb me totally. Maybe they would become dreams and stories. I want them to.

It’s as if I need the Bicho to step forward like a pet and command my attention, butting my hand with its head. Yes, now, play with me, no, don’t stop petting, don’t stop throwing the ball."



"Wanting to walk with her, I rummage around my studio for a roll of adding machine paper, glue up some Möbius strips and go out for coffee while the glue dries. When I come back, I begin cutting. “Pierce,” says Clark, so I stab the paper with the open blade and start. My scissors aren’t the best, they’re sticky and the grip seems to be made for child aliens, but despite that I am soon in a rhythm of cutting. I think of the tiny blunt scissors I saw in the hands of visitors at MoMA. I cut and cut, going around. As you meet your original cut, where the scissors have torn awkwardly into the paper, there is a choice, cut to the right or the left. I go left and steer towards the edge, to preserve as much thickness as I can. As I come around to that mark a second time I realize I’ve mistaken the geometry for a loop, my left and right are now reversed, and I’ve saved nothing. Keep going. It is indeed a little like walking. And like making. There’s a shivery doubling or layering of experience—walking is making, making is playing, mine is hers. It doesn’t much matter in that moment whose the making is, Lygia Clark’s or mine. I know I’m not having as romantic an experience as she might hope for, but there, in my studio, as the ribbon of adding machine paper gets thinner and thinner in a geometry that quickly escapes my full imagining, something is happening that wouldn’t otherwise happen. From my scissors, a tangle that is one continuous piece of paper collects at my feet, a paradox object. The making of the object is not in service to the having of the object. There is a sense of going somewhere and nowhere at the same time. There is the hope of being able to go on forever as the paper narrows and narrows until one tiny slip severs the piece and you know you’re done."
salrandolph  art  participatory  lygiaclark  walking  sensoryprosthetics  glvo  babaantropofagica  play  making  doing  conversation  audiencesofone  toys  learning  touch  rearrangement  homoludens  possibility  possibilities  uncertainty  unfinished  demystification  interaction  taboo  situationist  socialpracticeart  performance  prosthetics 
july 2014 by robertogreco
studio : lab : workshop | Abler.
"I’ve been saying for some years now that my wish is to be as close to science-making as possible: that is, not merely teaching complementary art and design practices for young scientists in training, but to be in the formative stages of research and development much further upstream in the process. Asking collaboratively: What research questions are worthy questions? What populations and individuals hold stakes in these questions? Are there important queries that are forgotten? Could parallel questions be pursued in tandem—some quantitative, others qualitative? And how do we engage multiple publics in high-stakes research?"

To put it another way: What happens when extra-disciplinary inquiry lives alongside traditional forms of research—especially when those traditional forms occupy the disciplinarily privileged status of the STEM fields? Inviting both generalist and specialist approaches starts to hint at what a “both-and” disposition could look like. As here in David Gray’s formulation of specialists and generalists:

[image]

Breadth, he says, is the characteristic of the generalist, and depth the characteristic of the specialist. A thriving academic research program surely needs both: but not just in the forms of symposia, scholarly ethics, or data visualization to (once more) “complement” or even complicate the science. It’s the last note of Gray’s that I’m particularly paying attention to, because it’s what good critical design and hybrid arts practices often do best: They act as boundary objects.

Gray says those objects can be “documents, models, maps, vocabulary, or even physical environments” that mark these intersections of broad and deep ideas. Well, I’d say: especially physical environments and phenomena. At the scale of products or screens or architectural spaces, these objects can act as powerful mediators and conduits for ideas. They can become modes of discourse, opportunities for public debate, sites of disciplinary flows.

It’s these kinds of objects that I’d like to be a feature of the studio/lab/workshop I’ll bring to Olin: An ongoing pursuit of ideas-in-things that live at all the various points along a continuum between practical use, on the one hand, and symbolic or expressive power on the other. Two poles in the manner still most accessibly captured by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby—both of which I’d like to be present.

And what does this mean for the habits of mind we cultivate? I return often to the ideas of Jack Miles in this essay—also about generalists and specialists, with a key useful heuristic: that specialists tend to embody the disposition of farmers, while generalists tend to embody the virtues of hunters. Both are necessary, and both need each other. The careful tending to a field whose needs are more or less known, protected, and nurtured further, on the one hand. And the more landscape-crossing, round-the-next-bend pursuit of the not yet known and its promised nourishment, on the other.

I want students to try out and value both operative modes, no matter where their own career paths take them. Knowing that others are also asking valuable questions in different disciplinary ways ideally breeds humility: a sense that what one has to offer could be enriched when conjoined in conversation with others whose expertise may not be immediately legible from within a silo.

And not just humility: I want students in engineering to know that their practices can be both private and public, that their status as citizens can be catalyzed through making things. Things that may be practical, performative, or both.

In practical terms, we’ll be looking at labs like Tom Bieling’s Design Abilities group in Berlin, Ryerson’s EDGE Lab, the Age and Ability Lab at RCA, and the newly-formed Ability Lab at NYU Poly. But we’ll also be looking methodologically at Kate Hartman’s Social Body Lab at OCAD, at the CREATE group at Carnegie Mellon, and of course Natalie Jeremijenko’s Environmental Health Clinic.

Possible paths to pursue: A “design for one” stream of prosthetic devices made for one user’s self-identified wish or need. An ongoing partnership with any of a number of schools or clinics in the Boston area where provisional and low-tech assistive devices could make education more responsive to children’s up-to-the-minute developmental needs. Short-term residencies and workshops with critical engineers and artists working with technology and public life. Public, investigative performances and installations that address issues of ability, dependence, and the body in the built environment.

These things will take time! I can’t wait to begin."
sarahendren  2014  olincollege  design  specialization  specialists  generalists  interdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  engineering  stem  davidgray  research  academia  extra-disciplinary  ability  dependence  audiencesofone  jackmiles  anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  ablerism  events  nataliejeremijenko  tombieling  kateharman  prosthetics  abilities  disability  designcriticism  criticaldesign  speculativedesign  humility  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  accessibility  assistivetechnology  discourse  conversation  openstudioproject  lcproject  howwelearn  howweteach  disabilities 
june 2014 by robertogreco
Svetlana Boym | Off-Modern Manifesto
"1. A Margin of Error

“It's not my fault. Communication error has occurred,” my computer pleads with me in a voice of lady Victoria. First it excuses itself, then urges me to pay attention, to check my connections, to follow the instructions carefully. I don't. I pull the paper out of the printer prematurely, shattering the image, leaving its out takes, stripes of transience, inkblots and traces of my hands on the professional glossy surface. Once the disoriented computer spat out a warning across the image “Do Not Copy,” an involuntary water mark that emerged from the depth of its disturbed memory. The communication error makes each print unrepeatable and unpredictable. I collect the computer errors. An error has an aura.

To err is human, says a Roman proverb. In the advanced technological lingo the space of humanity itself is relegated to the margin of error. Technology, we are told, is wholly trustworthy, were it not for the human factor. We seem to have gone full circle: to be human means to err. Yet, this margin of error is our margin of freedom. It's a choice beyond the multiple choices programmed for us, an interaction excluded from computerized interactivity. The error is a chance encounter between us and the machines in which we surprise each other. The art of computer erring is neither high tech nor low tech. Rather it’s broken-tech. It cheats both on technological progress and on technological obsolescence. And any amateur artist can afford it. Art's new technology is a broken technology.

Or shall we call it dysfunctional, erratic, nostalgic? Nostalgia is a longing for home that no longer exists or most likely, has never existed. That non-existent home is akin to an ideal communal apartment where art and technology co-habited like friendly neighbours or cousins. Techne, after all, once referred to arts, crafts and techniques. Both art and technology were imagined as the forms of human prosthesis, the missing limbs, imaginary or physical extensions of the human space."



2. Short Shadows, Endless Surfaces



Broken-tech art is an art of short shadows. It turns our attention to the surfaces, rims and thresholds. From my ten years of travels I have accumulated hundreds of photographs of windows, doors, facades, back yards, fences, arches and sunsets in different cities all stored in plastic bags under my desk. I re-photograph the old snapshots with my digital camera and the sun of the other time and the other place cast new shadows upon their once glossy surfaces with stains of the lemon tea and fingerprints of indifferent friends. I try not to use the preprogrammed special effects of Photoshop; not because I believe in authenticity of craftsmanship, but because I equally distrust the conspiratorial belief in the universal simulation. I wish to learn from my own mistakes, let myself err. I carry the pictures into new physical environments, inhabit them again, occasionally deviating from the rules of light exposure and focus.

At the same time I look for the ready-mades in the outside world, “natural” collages and ambiguous double exposures. My most misleading images are often “straight photographs.” Nobody takes them for what they are, for we are burdened with an afterimage of suspicion.

Until recently we preserved a naive faith in photographic witnessing. We trusted the pictures to capture what Roland Barthes called “the being there” of things. For better or for worse, we no longer do. Now images appear to us as always already altered, a few pixels missing here and there, erased by some conspiratorial invisible hand. Moreover, we no longer analyse these mystifying images but resign to their pampering hypnosis. Broken- tech art reveals the degrees of our self-pixelization, lays bare hypnotic effects of our cynical reason.




3. Errands, Transits.



4. A Critic, an Amateur

If in the 1980s artists dreamed of becoming their own curators and borrowed from the theorists, now the theorists dream of becoming artists. Disappointed with their own disciplinary specialization, they immigrate into each other's territory. The lateral move again. Neither backwards nor forwards, but sideways. Amateur's out takes are no longer excluded but placed side-by-side with the non-out takes. I don't know what to call them anymore, for there is little agreement these days on what these non-out takes are.

But the amateur's errands continue. An amateur, as Barthes understood it, is the one who constantly unlearns and loves, not possessively, but tenderly, inconstantly, desperately. Grateful for every transient epiphany, an amateur is not greedy."
philosophy  technology  svetlanaboym  via:ablerism  off-modern  canon  nostalgia  human  humanism  amateurs  unlearning  love  loving  greed  selflessness  homesickness  broken  broken-tech  art  beausage  belatedness  newness  leisurearts  walterbenjamin  errors  fallibility  erring  henribergson  billgates  prosthetics  artists  imagination  domestication  play  jaques-henrilartigue  photography  film  fiction  shadows  shortshadows  nearness  distance  balance  thresholds  rims  seams  readymade  rolandbarthes  cynicism  modernity  internationalstyle  evreyday  transience  ephemeral  ephemerality  artleisure 
november 2013 by robertogreco
​Introducing Abler: All Technology is Assistive Technology
[Related: http://abler.gizmodo.com/
http://sarahendren.kinja.com/ ]

"So you'll see lots of new and near-future prosthetics design on Abler. But you'll also see:

Critical design. Plenty of prosthetic devices solve problems. But others investigate what counts as a "problem" in the first place. Whose bodies need "fixing," and why? What happens when designers reconsider the definition of "normal"? Whether you call it "design for debate" or "interrogative design," these are tools and technologies that raise and suspend the friction of questions, rather than rushing to the seamlessness of solutions.

Old and new devices. There are surprising connections between devices across widely differing historical and cultural contexts. The history of war, for example, reveals both incredible advances and deep ironies in the development and use of assistive technologies among veterans. A long perspective is a good one. Abler will talk to historians and anthropologists who can illuminate these technologies.

Assistive technologies as culture. Abler is influenced by historian David Edgerton's call to pay attention not just to technological innovations because they're new, but to also pay attention to technologies in use to assess their importance. The day-to-day adoption and appropriation of technologies is where their real power lies. Assistive devices reveal all kinds of fascinating collisions with politics, material science, economic structures, and fashion, but also with accidental histories and contingent relationships.

What you won't see at Abler:

No soft piano music, no "overcomer" stories. Too often, tech writers are so much in love with the conflict-and-resolution stories of prosthetics that the users of those devices become a simplified backdrop for a scripted, questionably emotional catharsis. No prosthetics users here will necessarily be "suffering from" their conditions. Abler is about assistive technologies without sentimentality.

No breathless tech utopianisms. There will be plenty of celebration here about technical innovation. You will see us join sometimes in the holy-crap-they-built-WHAT?! conversation. But Abler values a measured skepticism about technological fixes for complex, sensing humans and their many tasks. Some new devices are truly groundbreaking; some are merely new. Abler is about welcoming the future with critical wits intact.

Abler is written and edited by Sara Hendren, with research assistance by Anna Raymond. Note: the Kinja platform doesn't allow us to provide alt-text for blind readers; we'll be describing images in posts and suggesting they change their policy."
sarahendren  aberism  gizmodo  2013  assistivetechnology  technology  culture  society  criticaldesign  utopianism  skepticism  complexity  annaraymond  davidedgerton  history  anthropology  prosthetics 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Anab Jain: Designing the future
"Anab Jain talks about design in a future world of insect cyborgs, mass surveillance, DNA monetization and guerilla infrastructure. "This sort of speculative work explores the remarkable potential of technology and its new experiential aesthetics.""

[See also: http://www.superflux.in/work/staying-with-the-trouble ]

[Alt video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-stunrZcB24 ]
anabjain  superflux  design  future  cyborgs  surveillance  infrastructure  speculativedesign  designfiction  biotech  biotechnology  genetics  science  nearfuture  robots  bostondynamics  23andme  2013  drones  jugaad  thenewnormal  bees  humanism  bodies  humans  vision  blind  prosthetics  memory  consciousness  supervision  film  storytelling  speculativefiction  shanzai  china  innovation  resilience  ingenuity  poptech  body 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Tobias Revell on the future of art and design at 'A New Dawn' by ArtEZ studium generale, 24 May 2013 on Vimeo
"Tobias Revell outlines how the willing acceptance and grasping of uncertainty has led to a new way of thinking in the present and a resurgence of romantic futurism. He gives specific examples of solutions outside of a 'grand plan', new production methods that liberalise and free design and art from larger systems. He shows how science-fiction imagery and fantasy have penetrated the arts.
Opening lecture at 'A New Dawn' by ArtEZ studium generale on 24 May 2013, Enschede, the Netherlands."
tobiasrevell  2013  art  design  designfiction  futurism  systems  towatch  artez  uncertainty  video  debate  reflection  critique  change  futures  kickstarter  bitcoins  makerbot  3dprinting  reprap  globalvillageonstructionset  opensource  opensourceecology  cohenvanbalen  thomasthwaites  manufacturing  control  consumption  economics  systemsthinking  bigdog  robots  technology  normalization  marsone  uncannyvalley  spacetravel  space  film  nasa  hierarchy  music  vincentfournier  prosthetics  evil  googleglass  internetofthings  superflux  dance  computing  data  anabjain  iot 
june 2013 by robertogreco
We Find Wildness
"Particularly interested in myths about gender and ethnicity that have long circulated in Africa and the West, WANGECHI MUTU has adopted the medium of collage — which by its nature evokes rupture and collision — to depict the monstrous, the exotic, and the feminine.

Manipulating ink and acrylic paint into pools of colour she carefully applies to her surfaces imagery sampled from disparate sources- Vogue, National Geographic, hunting, motorbike and porn magazines. The resulting works process mimics amputation, transplant operations and torturous prosthetics. Her figures become parody mutilations, their forms grotesquely marred through perverse modification, echoing the atrocities of war or self-inflicted improvements of plastic surgery.

She also uses materials which make reference to African identity and political strife: her dazzling black glitter is an abyss of western desire, which allude to the illegal diamond trade and its consequences of oppression and war.

WANGECHI MUTU (b.1972, Nairobi, Kenya) is an artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. On February 23, 2010 she was honored by Deutsche Bank as their first Artist of the Year. The prize included a solo exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. Titled My Dirty Little Heaven, the show traveled in June 2010 to Wiels Center for Contemporary Art in Brussels, Belgium. Her first one person show at Barbara Gladstone Gallery opens October 29, 2010."

[via: http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/silence-is-a-woman/ ]
art  artists  brooklyn  wangechimutu  kenya  nyc  collage  rupture  collision  gender  ethnicity  prosthetics 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Chinese DIY Inventions - In Focus - The Atlantic
"One visible sign of China's recent economic growth is the rise in prominence of inventors and entrepreneurs. For years now, Chinese farmers, engineers, and businessmen have taken on ambitious do-it-yourself projects, constructing homemade submarines, helicopters, robots, safety equipment, weapons and much more. Some of the inventions are built out of passion, some with an eye toward profit, (some certainly safer than others), and a few have already led to sales for the inventors. Gathered here are recent photos of this DIY movement across China."
china  engineering  photos  photography  invention  inventions  robots  housing  arks  submarines  2013  vehicles  motorcycles  slides  houses  portability  mobility  nomads  disasters  airplanes  diy  making  makers  bikes  prosthetics  helicopters 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Prosthetics get the personal touch - latimes.com
"Synthetic legs have become a medium for self-expression, thanks to customization made possible by sophisticated technology. It's a bold melding of modern science and fashion statement."
2012  customization  fashion  science  technology  design  prosthetics 
april 2012 by robertogreco
Song of the Machine on Vimeo
What if we could change our view of the world with the flick of a switch? 'Song of the Machine' explores the possibilities of a new, modified – even enhanced – vision, where users can tune into streams of information and electromagnetic vistas currently outside of human vision.

This film is a part of an ongoing collaboration between Superflux and neuroscientist Dr. Patrick Degenaar, whose pioneering work in optogenetic retinal prostheses aims to bring back sight to the blind.

Unlike the implants and electrodes used to achieve bionic vision, this science modifies the human body genetically from within. First, a virus is used to infect the degenerate eye with a light-sensitive protein, altering the biological capabilities of the subject…"

[More: http://superflux.in/blog/song-of-the-machine-in-depth AND http://www.sciencegallery.com/humanplus/song-machine ]
2011  vision  sensing  senses  justinpickard  blind  sight  augmentation  prosthetics  perception  augmentedreality  ar 
february 2012 by robertogreco
» The New Ecology of Things: Slabs, Sofducts, and Bespoke Objects Johnny Holland – It's all about interaction » Blog Archive
"Several major trends are emerging that affect interaction design. With the advent of post-PC devices like the iPad, cheap sensors and microcontrollers like the Arduino, and services like Kindle Wispersync, we’re in the middle of a shift towards ubiquitous computing, tangible interaction, and cloud services. Because of these trends, our field must consider the integration of the traditionally separate areas of screen and tangible interaction design.

Of particular significance is the shift away from the generic computation typified by the “personal computer,” which never really achieved the individuality or specificity implied by the term “personal.” In short, we’re experiencing the emergence of The New Ecology of Things, where a network of heterogeneous, smart objects and spaces are replacing our current design context."
consumerism  twitter  ipad  ecology  internetofthings  ecologyofthings  matthewcrawford  shopclassassoulcraft  making  meaning  meaningmaking  personalization  sofducts  bespoke  bespokeobjects  craft  slabs  interactiondesign  interaction  glvo  diy  iphone  applications  computing  fabbing  3dprinter  3d  culture  software  hardware  prosthetics  tailoring  animism  sound  light  haptics  kinetic  kineticbehavior  behavior  android  arduino  nikeid  manufacturing  apple  philipvanallen  spimes  ios  iot 
may 2011 by robertogreco
what’s wrong with “prosthetics porn”? (part I) | Abler.
"Which brings me to consider a question someone asked me after a lecture I gave last year: Is it preferable to design adaptive devices that are elegantly designed to be camouflaged (think hearing-aid jewelry), or beautiful & conspicuous, like the legs above? &, with Wallace in mind, should we ethically aim more design research toward near-future applications, rather than wildly speculative gear that may never see the light of day?

Well—yes. To quote Maile Meloy: Both ways is the only way I want it.

I think our energy can go in all these directions, provided we’re reflective enough. I’ve already affirmed the inherent value in playful experimentation. But the bigger challenge is to make extensive machinery that is truly extensive, truly outward in its posture. I think design matters crucially to these questions, because design for disability has the opportunity to critique the weakness of all personal technologies: its tendency to hermetically seal its user from engaging…"
interdependence  design  prosthetics  prostheticsporn  sarahendren  abler  architecture  disabilities  aesthetics  bespokeinnovations  matthewbattles  aimeemullins  objects  mailemeloy  hearing-aids  jewelry  disability 
march 2011 by robertogreco
what’s wrong with “prosthetics porn”? (part II) | Abler.
"How can technologies demonstrate an outward posture? I mean, how might they extend their forms and also their functions, beyond a single user? Couldn’t they both resolve & reveal, pose more questions than answers?…"

"A built environment, a city that accommodates—& indeed demonstrates—physical or cognitive interdependence doesn’t only call for limbs & ramps. We need wholly-spectacular impracticalities, & artistic research & collaboration, & public interactive art, & we need the most durable accessibility equipment we can design."

"Moreover, we might take the long view in order to get the short view more clearly in focus. This has long been said of science fiction in literature—that our ideas about the future are really an index of our attitudes in the present. I’m interested in futurism in prosthetics as an inquiry & spectacle, & I also want to make projects that help us harness our technologies for a more inclusive world."
abler  sarahendren  prosthetics  bikes  bikesharing  interdependence  cities  architecture  technology  assistivetechnology  art  publicart  accessibility  design  present  future  inclusiveness  inclusion  futurism  objects  objectfixations  prostheticsporn  modernism  utopia  structures  spatialagency  brunolatour  parasite  michaelrakowitz  rebar  adaptivetechnology  adaptive  eyeborg  eyewear  tandems  tandembicycles  biking  spoke-o-dometer  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Gallery - Prosthetics with aesthetics - Image 1 - New Scientist
"Prosthetics are usually designed to blend in with the human body without attracting attention. But they can also be fashion objects: tools to expand a person's abilities and distinctive additions to a person's identity."
prosthetics  science  medicine  fashion  aesthetics  design 
october 2009 by robertogreco
ESPN The Magazine: LET 'EM PLAY
"Prosthetic advances let athletes like Jerrod Fields and Anthony Burruto (below) dream of keeping up with (or passing) the pros. If this sounds impossible - or unfair - you might want to keep reading."
performance  prosthetics  sports  technology  enhancement 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Wired 15.03: Blade Runner
"His legs were amputated when he was a year old. Now Oscar Pistorius is on track to make the South African Olympic team. Is he an engineering marvel — or just one hell of a sprinter?"
health  technology  sports  prosthetics 
march 2007 by robertogreco

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