robertogreco + matter   7

CENHS @ Rice! » 133 – María Puig de la Bellacasa
“Dominic and Cymene indulge a little post-Pruitt glee on this week’s podcast and speculate about the possibility of six foot tall low carbon lava lamps in the future. Then (16:46) we are thrilled to be joined by star STS scholar and emergent anthropologist María Puig de la Bellacasa to talk about her celebrated new book, Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds (U Minnesota Press, 2017). We start with the importance of care in feminist philosophy and how this work, alongside her own activist background, inspired this project. She asks us to consider how we can make knowledge that takes seriously a politics of care without giving ourselves over to the neoliberal commodification of care. And she asks how a commitment to speculative ethics can lead us to imagine and enact worlds different than the one we inhabit now. Later on, María tells us about what led her to quit philosophy and why appropriation might not actually be such a bad thing. Then we turn to her work with permaculturalists and soil scientists, what it was like to study with Starhawk, changing paradigms of soil ontology and ecology, what are alterbiopolitics, speculative ethics in a time of political crisis, and so much more.”

[See also:

“Matters of Care by María Puig de la Bellacasa, reviewed by Farhan Samanani”

“Reframing Care – Reading María Puig de la Bellacasa ‘Matters of Care Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds’” ]
maríapuigdelabellacasa  care  maintenance  2018  morethanhuman  humanism  posthumanism  multispecies  anthropology  ecology  alterbiopolitics  permaculture  caring  ethics  politics  soil  philosophy  brunolatour  work  labor  activism  neoliberalism  feminism  donnaharaway  academia  knowledge  knowledgeproduction  thoughtfulness  environment  climatechange  individualism  concern  speculation  speculativeethics  speculativefiction  identitypolitics  everyday  pocketsofutopia  thinking  mattersofconcern  highered  highereducation  intervention  speculative  speculativethinking  greenconsumerism  consumerism  capitalism  greenwashing  moralizing  economics  society  matter  mattering  karenbarad  appropriation  hope  optimism  ucsc  historyofconsciousness 
9 weeks ago by robertogreco
Topologies: Michel Serres and the Shapes of Thought
"In what follows, I try to estimate the novelty, the possibility and the limits of Serres’s intensely topological mode of thinking. In the first section, ‘Phases, States’, I distinguish three periods in Serres’s work, emphasising the increasing importance of topology in it. I suggest that Serres goes far beyond the flat topography, the impoverished views of space and territory to be found throughout the cultural and social sciences. Relating his uses of topology to the ‘material imagination’ of Gaston Bachelard, I suggest that Serres’s topologies are complexes of space and time, matter and process, rather than merely matricial forms. In the second section, ‘Histories’, I consider the kinds of historical poetics to which this topological view may give rise, considering in some detail Serres’s use of the metaphor of kneaded, or folded time. In the third section ‘Shape of Shapes’, I consider critically Serres’s attempts to use topology to provide an integrated view of the contingencies of history and space. Though I conclude the final section, ‘Ethics and Topology’ by affirming that Serres’s work represents a huge and still largely ignored resource for thinking historically about the relations between science, technology and culture, I also suggest that we need not, and probably should not, take it on its own account, particularly when it moves from description to ethics. Paradoxically, perhaps, what Serres increasingly makes of his own work need not be what can most valuably be made of it."

"The ethical claims for synthesis, a holistic grasping of the complete shape of things, which seem increasingly to complete and justify Serres’s rapprochement of science and humanities, fact and value, may in fact be the coarsest and least compelling aspects of his thought. The very power to integrate complex phenomena which the idea of topology offers may be its weakness, in a world in which the acceptance and management of discontinuity may be a better hope than the effort to see and entertain every possibility.

Serres’s topological mode of thinking offers huge possibilities of transformation and renewal for thinking and writing in the humanities and in science, as well as offering a model for how they might begin to include each other. His work makes it clear how crudely mechanical or frankly magical (the same thing perhaps) our conceptions of the nature and workings of social life and time can be. Characteristically, and superbly, he has done this, not through critique, but through the invention of new shapes of thought. Nick Bingham, for example, has argued that we may be able to rouse ourselves from dulling contemporary fantasies of the ‘technological sublime’ through Serres’s idea of the binding mobility of the quasi-object, which holds together complex societies as the movement of the ball may be said to focus and bind together the movements and purposes of two opposed teams (Bingham 1999). Serres’s work offers to contemporary thought the same kind of reinvigoration that the work of Bergson did a century ago, except that, where Bergson attempted to make a clean break between the fixative illusions of spatial thinking, in favour of a thought in motion, Serres offers ways of thinking time spatially and morphologically. For the historian of ideas, forms and feelings in particular, Serres’s versatile development of Bachelard’s insight into the material imagination – the imagining of the material world, and the materiality of the imagination – offers a thesaurus of shapes of thought and thoughts of shape that promise huge enrichment to historical thought. Bachelard’s explication of the poetics of matter and space could only take shape in a reserved space of dream and reverie, set aside from the forms of scientific knowledge that formed the subject of his earlier historical analyses. Serres’s topologies of space and time disclose and project new and more inclusive, less sequestered forms in which to hold together science and culture, and to incubate new forms of historical poetics. His greatest contribution will assuredly have been his restlessly inventive cultivation of the spatial and topological imagination, the ways in which we project how and where we live, as embodied beings who are nevertheless incapable of not being beside themselves, not living beyond the here-and-now of their bodies, not being taken up in the flamboyant dynamics of topology. Michel Serres has always spurned schools and disciples; and it may be that we can do most with his work, by effecting a partial break with it, by declining to accept as definitive the ethical and political shape within which he encloses it."
michelserres  2002  topologies  science  literature  stevenconnor  humanities  transdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  discontinuity  gastonbachelard  space  time  matter  process  technology  culture  ethics 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Subcompact Publishing — by Craig Mod
"A Subcompact Manifesto

Subcompact Publishing tools are first and foremost straightforward.

They require few to no instructions.

They are easily understood on first blush.

The editorial and design decisions around them react to digital as a distribution and consumption space.

They are the result of dumping our publishing related technology on a table and asking ourselves — what are the core tools we can build with all this stuff?

They are, as it were, little N360s.

I propose Subcompact Publishing tools and editorial ethos begin (but not end) with the following qualities:

• Small issue sizes (3-7 articles / issue)
• Small file sizes
• Digital-aware subscription prices
• Fluid publishing schedule
• Scroll (don’t paginate)
• Clear navigation
• HTML(ish) based
• Touching the open web

Many of these qualities play off one another. Let’s look at them in detail.

Small issue sizes
I’ve written quite a bit about creating a sense of ‘edge’ in digital space. One of the easiest and most intuitive ways to do so is to limit the amount of data you present to the user.12

It’s much more difficult for someone to intuit the breadth of a digital magazine containing twenty articles than a digital magazine containing, for example, five. By keeping article number low this also helps decrease file size and simplify navigation.

Small file size
Speed is grossly undervalued in much of today’s software — digital magazines inclusive. Speed (and with it a fluid and joyful user experience) should be the thing you absolutely optimize for once you have a minimum viable product.

One way to bake speed into a publishing product is to keep issue file sizes as small as possible. This happens naturally when you limit the number of articles per issue.

Reasonable subscription prices
Ideally, digital subscription prices should reflect the cost of doing business as a digitally indigenous product, not the cost of protecting print subscriptions. This is yet another advantage digital-first publications have — unlike print publications transitioning to digital, there is no legacy infrastructure to subsidize during this transition.

Fluid publishing schedule
With smaller issue sizes comes more fluid publishing schedules. Again, to create a strong sense of edge and understanding, the goal isn’t to publish ten articles a day, but rather to publish just a few high-quality articles with a predictable looseness. Depending on the type of content you’re publishing, days can feel too granular, and months require the payload to be too large. Weeks feel just about right in digital.

Scroll (for now)
When I originally presented these ideas at the Books in Browsers conference in 2012, the dismissal of pagination was by far the most contentious point. I don’t mean to imply all pagination is bad. Remember — we’re outlining the very core of Subcompact Publishing. Anything extraneous or overly complex should be excised.

I’ve spent the last two and half years deconstructing scrolling and pagination on tablets and smartphones. If your content is formless, then you might be able to paginate with minimal effort. Although, probably not.

Certain kinds of pagination increase the complexity of an application by orders of magnitude. The engineering efforts required to produce beautiful, simple, indigenous, consistent — and fast — pagination are simply too high to belong in the subcompact space.

Furthermore, when you remove pagination, you vastly simplify navigation and thereby simplify users’ mental models around content.

No pagination is vastly superior to pagination done poorly.

Clear navigation
Navigation should be consistent and effortless. Subcompact Publishing applications don’t require complex how-to pages or tutorials. You shouldn’t have to hire a famous actor to show readers how to use the app with his nose. Much like a printed magazine or book, the interaction should be intuitive, effortless, and grounding. The user should never feel lost.

By limiting the number of articles per issue, and by removing pagination, many of the routes leading to complex navigation are also removed.

HTML(ish) based
When I say HTML I also mean EPUB or MOBI or any other format with an HTML pedigree. HTML has indisputably emerged as the future format for all text (and perhaps also interactive) content. By constraining Subcompact Publishing systems to HTML we bake portability and future-proofness into the platforms. We also minimize engineering efforts because most all computing devices come with high-quality HTML rendering engines built in.

Open web
Simply: whatever content is published on a tablet should have a corresponding, touchable home on the open web.

Content without a public address is non-existent in the eyes of all the inter-operable sharing mechanisms that together bind the web."
craigmod  publishing  epublishing  magazines  themagazine  writing  digital  design  2012  digitalpublishing  html  html5  matter  joshuabenton  touch  mobilephone  ios  iphone  ipad  skeuomorphs  openweb  scrolling  pagination  navigation  tablets  claytonchristensen  davidskok  jamesallsworth  marcoarment 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Talking to the Future Humans - The Future of Pointless Things | VICE
"Provocations are good for the soul. They force one to look at the world a bit differently. We’re largely conservative beings – change is hard to imagine and even harder to suffer through. It disrupts our routines. Provocations are like lenses that turn the world upside down, if only for a moment, in order to see what could be, or how things could be different. … I’d say that storytellers are the gatekeepers of innovation, even if I’m not entirely sure what innovation is. If you can tell a big enough story with a compelling plot line you can entice people with what could be and you may even entice them enough to get them to get excited and make things and self-assuredly valuate themselves as worthy of billions of dollars. … Cloud computing has a story. It’s not an especially great one, but it got out there enough that people got hopped up and started making everything cloud-enabled. It’s a shoddy story full of holes and an incredibly high chance of becoming an epic, systemic fail, but people got excited because a story was told that normally reasonable people believed. … If cloud computing or augmented reality are examples of what you mean by innovation, I’d take innovation in whoopee cushions over that stuff any old day. … the influence is arbitrarily predetermined by saying there is some clear distinction between fact and fiction. It’s like apologising for a great sci-fi film because it’s not real. You just don’t do that. You accept things as they are and you let them shape and influence and inform how and what you think about. That’s it. It’s that simple. We shouldn’t pretend to know fact from fiction – embrace them both as ways of trying to explain the world we are in and the world we want in the future. … Technology is a reification of culture—it’s a materialization of our rituals, practices and aspirations. It’s not so much a tool or something purely instrumental as it is itself culture. We make it not to do things but as an expression of culture—it just happens to be expressed in things that take batteries or have a screen or require technical specifications, industry standards, FCC approvals and tooling to manufacture. … you have to get a bit messy and figure out how you might make the thing beyond specifying it. In that process of making the thing—and it could be a little film or a bit of code or hardware or all of those things—all these questions are forced upon you. Responding to those questions by iterate and refining, that’s the soul of design"
julianbleecker  interview  2011  design  future  change  cloudcomputing  designfiction  sf  technology  culture  making  matter  via:Preoccupations 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Power « Adam Greenfield's Speedbird
"To me, power is…

- an ability expressed within an immanent grid of relations superimposed on the phenomenal world, from which it’s effectively impossible to escape;

- the ability to shape flows of matter, energy and information through that grid of relations, and most particularly through bodies situated in space and time (including one’s own);

- the ability to determine outcomes where such bodies are concerned;

- this ability consciously recognized and understood.

By this definition, power can be exerted locally or globally, at microscale or macro-."

[See also the comments, including further reading and a definition of lines by Fred Scharmen.]
power  adamgreenfield  definitions  richarddawkins  buddhism  feminism  anarchism  deleuze  guattari  davidharvey  gayatrispivak  naomiklein  antonionegri  michaelhardt  matter  energy  relationships  body  space  time  spacetime  scale  fredscharmen  lines  adamkahane  paultillich  foucault  zygmuntbauman  modernism  johnruskin  gillesdeleuze  michelfoucault  félixguattari  bodies  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
carsten nicolai: 'anti reflex'
"'anti' is a regular geometric form which represents systematic thinking and the interrelationship between mathematics, optics, art and philosophy. in appearance, it is a distorted cube, truncated at the top and bottom to obtain rhombic and triangular faces. the object reacts to the magnetic fields of bodies, enabling interaction with the visitor, while all of its mechanisms are hidden within. derived from artist albrecht dürers engraving 'melancholia i' (1514), 'anti's' black, light-absorbent surface and monolith-like crystalline shape confronts the viewer, trying both to mask its form and to disguise its function, thereby absorbing information."
art  sculpture  science  philosophy  interactive  matter  function  albrechtdürer  geometry  math  mathematics  optics 
may 2010 by robertogreco
John Perry Barlow - Wikiquote
"Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here." from A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace (1996)
quotes  johnperrybarlow  cyberspace  independence  ownership  1996  freedom  matter  expression  property  identity 
december 2009 by robertogreco

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