Monday, January 4, 2010

CFP - Design, Performativity, STS

EASST Conference 2010
2-4 September, 2010
University of Trento, Italy

Design, Performativity, STS

"This track provides the opportunity to explore the extent to which forms of enactment, rather than description, might allow us to talk about the different material and temporal textures of design, innovation, interventions and STS. It aims to consolidate and push so far dispersed discussions about the relation of concepts of performativity and design through an exchange of ideas and methods from STS and design practice, conceived broadly to include empirical examples and theoretical reflections as well as art-design-STS interventions (Jeremijenko).

There is a longstanding interest amongst STS scholars in the design of new technologies, products and services (e.g. Cockburn & Ormrod, Shove, Suchman, Woolgar), as well as extensive research on design interventions in the fields of science and medicine (e.g. Clarke, Dumit). In addition designers themselves are moving beyond the design of discrete products and have started to look to STS for ways in which open and thus more uncertain challenges may be conceptualized (Kimbell, Whyte). This track encourages papers from those working in a variety of institutional locations, both inside and outside academic research.

There is now a large body of work that explores how realities and representations are enacted simultaneously in user representations, prototypes, concepts and scenarios. A debate about the implications of the performative aspects of these representational and translation devices is long overdue. How does the current developments of non-representation and ‘messy’ approaches relate to process and the performative (Thrift, Law). How does mess relate to the performative? Are designers working in a non-representational way?

The aim of the track is to expand the debates about performativity in relation to processes of enactment and becoming, the material and temporal. These might include papers dealing with scripting, affordance, liveness, ‘performance’ as well as enactments in relation to technical objects, materials and mess.

Presentations might be ethnographic fieldwork reports, synthetic analyses from secondary data or mappings of the field. However following the implication of the conference theme to take seriously the performing of the social, as well as traditional papers we also invite presentation formats which themselves might take on a more experimental or performative mode in relation to design and STS, or are materially ambitious. What kind of materials might perform the social? In this way we recognise that the material and temporal conditions of the EASST conference situation - it’s own liveness in Trento - might themselves be re-designed to explore performativity. We hope this will encourage design practitioners or those working with art, design and STS materials to take up our challenge to intervene and interrogate STS’s own enactments."

Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be sent by email (following website instructions) by March 15th 2010.

Session convenors: Julien McHardy (Lancaster University), Trevor Pinch (Cornell University), Nina Wakeford (Goldsmiths College, University of London)


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