Bodies have always been in a constant state of material and discursive transition. From medical to DIY body augmentation, from meticulous self-tracking to life-mining mass-quantification of (bio)data, and from intimate lived reality to mythical metaphor, the body currently exists as a hyper-connected site of contestation and power plays. It can be understood as something that gets updated, altered, needs maintenance and sometimes breaks down and gets rebooted. As something that is not fixed, something collective and transforming, always in flux – as a site of negotiation.
Donna Haraway’s well-known feminist allegory of the ‘cyborg’ from 1985 already inserted an oppositional consciousness at the heart of the debate on new technological bodies and societies, questioning power relations and the making of ethical and political resistance in the age of an informatics of domination. In the ambiguity of the natural and artificial, self-developing and externally designed, Haraway proposes the potential of strategically confusing identities. We are all chimeras, she argued, fabricated hybrids of machine and organism – and should take pleasure in the confusion of boundaries.
In this block-seminar we will discover and debate the topic of performing bodies as a site of confusion, negotiation and of critique. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective on the politics and technologies of bodies in transit with a focus on ‘automation’ versus ‘autonomy’, we will discover real-world phenomena and engage personally with the technological systems in which we are embedded and embodied. Drawing on approaches of critical making and designing, as well as feminist and queer theory – we will (ad hoc) prototype concepts for performing bodies differently.UdK Berlin + TU Berlin / English / 2 SWSUdK students can gain credits for this class in the framework of the Module ‘Designmethoden’ or over the Studium Generale.Registration: Please register beforehand to: *protected email*Participants: Max. 10 *Format: This class will take place virtually, but depending on pandemic regulations, we hope to have the chance to meet for prototyping. Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Michelle Christensen, Prof. Dr. Florian ConradiMichelle Christensen and Florian Conradi share a visiting professorship for Open Science (Critical Design / Critical Culture) at the Technische Universität Berlin / Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF), as well as co-heading the research group ‘Critical Maker Culture’ at the UdK Berlin / Weizenbaum Institute. Combining their backgrounds in political-, conflict-, gender-sociology and design in the form of critical practice, writing and teaching, they attempt to formulate the spaces in between these realms. Their work is an endeavour in to exploring the politics of design, material-sociology and practice-based theory.