November 10, 2016

Speculative Life Cluster’s New Research Group Contemplates How Life Is Managed through Different Socio-Technical Practices

This research group, tentatively titled Logistical Futures that is part of the Speculative Life Research Cluster is informed by the idea, borrowed from Ned Rossiter’s work, about the way logistical media make worlds and produce new forms of governmentality.  Logistics as a term, idea, and practice  allows us to contemplate the  many ways in which life is managed, controlled, circulated, extracted, optimized, and made resilient (in the sense of being able to absorb shock and still function) at different scales through different socio-technical practices.

As a group we want to research, intervene in, and reimagine the terms through which we are currently designing and engineering technologies and life.  Some of the terms with which we are interested in developing a critical lexicon and new forms of critical artistic practice to address are:

  • Resilience
  • Optimization
  • Metabolism
  • Speculation
  • Extraction
  • Refuse
  • Precarity
  • “Darkness” as in dark pools, dark ecologies
  • Repair
  • Obsolescence
  • Ecology

We are interested in students concerned with the way thinking about media logistically means rethinking our relationships and interconnections with other forms of life, temporality, and materiality such as –heavy metals, geology, animals, big data, algorithms.  But we never wish to forget human lives and concerns about race, class, sex, colonialism, capitalism, and empire. 

We want to address how humans are connected to the world, and to rethink how this connection happens and to what political effects. This rethinking occurs in ethnography, history, philosophy and in the arts, not only in design and engineering.  We want critical humanities thinking to infect design thinking.

We welcome students interested in these themes and topics.

Fields of Interest might include (but we welcome everyone):

  • Media theory and history
  • Urban planning and design
  • Computational Design
  • Media Arts
  • Studies of Technical Infrastructure
  • Science Technology Studies
  • Animal Studies
  • Art History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology

We hope to collectively develop: 1) a series of working groups, 2) funding for opportunities to support research-creation, 3) exhibitions in collaboration with many spaces at Concordia but also art and research spaces throughout Montréal and the world, 4) research platforms for publication and web-based dissemination of work, 5) research and fellowship exchanges with partners in Europe and the United States at locations such as the Max Planck in Berlin, HKW Berlin, IXDM Basel, University of Chicago.

This initiative is directed by Associate Professor Orit HalpernIf you are interested, please send an email to Antonia Hernández at antonia@cordltx.org (make sure you are not replying to the list).