IXDM Inaugural Lectures
Helen V. Pritchard, Viktor Bedö & Budhaditya Chattopadhyay
IXDM invites everyone to join us for three inaugural lectures on Wednesday, December 14.
IXDM’s new head of research Prof. Dr. Helen Pritchard provides insight into her work with Regenerative Energy Communities and outlines a research program that rethinks design based on resistance and joy.
Afterwards, Visiting Professors Dr. Viktor Bedö and Dr. Budhaditya Chattopadhyay (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation’s Practice-to-Science program) discuss their work on urban food sharing infrastructures and the coloniality of recording practices in the Global South.
The event concludes with a cozy aperitif.
‘How does soil prototype…?’
‘How does soil prototype…?’ Despite the ways in which the end of carbon-based energy demands the recognition of human-earth relations, the emerging imaginations of energy transition and net-zero remain powerfully attached to the individual and the image of the “smooth life”. In their inaugural lecture Helen V. Pritchard asks what if we start with soil, how can we imagine infrastructures otherwise and design practices that can flip paradigms, embrace grimy creativity and ferment revolt. How does soil prototype communities? How does soil prototype (regenerative) queer imaginaries? Critiques of technology and digitalization? Exhaustion? Creative and innovative uses of technology? Humuspunk? Alternative histories of energy? Stories of damage? (Overwhelming) refusal and unknowing? Working across time, space and scales (micro, meso, macro… microbes, ghosts, sedimentations)? From crushes on nematodes and counter cloud actions, to delving into microbial fuel cells and energy harvesting, Helen will consider these questions through their work with Regenerative Energy Communities and The Institute of Technology in the Public Interest (TITiPI), proposing to define and cultivate a plurality of material practices of resistance, reclamation, recovery, generosity, flourishing and joy.
Design Friction for Care-Based Urban Infrastructures
Imaginaries of care-based urban futures predominantly feature small communities and are characterised by localism. However, transformational alternatives to the prevailing extractivist smart city imaginaries must address city-wide and more extensive infrastructures beyond local and immediate kinship networks. The lecture departs from the case of automated distribution of rescued food to outline an experimental design approach for imagining care-based urban infrastructures. It puts forward ‘design friction’ as a method of situated urban prototyping and speculation. A method that probes rupture during scaling up from neighbourhood to city scale; locates the friction between the unruly, idiosyncratic cooking and eating habits and inherently flattening nature of predictive technologies; engages with the struggle of negotiating diverse perspectives within human as well as more-than-human communities.
“Recording”, in the sense of fixing sound via the technologies of Western modernity, was both an alien and mutating idea for many of the Global South’s established sound cultures. The imperialist “mapping” of those cultures – for example, the recording of the free improvisations of south Asian and other non-European sonic traditions – proved both intrusive and objectifying, disembedding cultural and philosophical traditions and ways of listening that were ingrained in land and natural spatio-temporalities. In south Asian linguistics and aesthetics, multiple possible meanings in sounds and speech acts – the transmission of immeasurable poetic expressions, and the explosion of affective resonance through mindful listening – are theorised within the longstanding concept of sphoṭa. Little wonder, therefore, that the colonial pursuit of sound recording onto two-minute-long cylinders or shellac discs was met with resistance by local practitioners. In this talk, the politics of ethnographic recording will be discussed foregrounding the case studies mentioned above: the collective resistance of sound practitioners in south Asia against colonial recording expeditions with a capitalist agenda. The talk makes a critical listening to recordings made during expeditions in South Asia post-1900 and studies the resistance of indigenous practitioners to evade “capture” by early recordings that proliferated technological mediation and spatio-temporal disembedding.