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17 April 2014

Screening with computers: making species for shared worlds

Location: Meeting Room 10, 2nd Floor
Time: 2:15pm - 3:45pm

Screens are often attended as objects capable of displaying figures. Computer screens in particular are able to render via calculation a display of digital graphics to interact with a user. In my doctoral research, I consider what happens when we pay attention to the fact that computer screens also have a material figure that is not reducible to a human interface. Following feminist technoscientist Donna Haraway, computer screens are among those ‘sunlight’ machines that evidently trouble the boundaries of humans and nonhumans. Their bodily perimeters have become in practice highly permeable: a contact zone for risky encounters where what counts as species is at stake. In this talk, I explore with Haraway the practice of screening with computers when users and uses become reimagined as entangled species in shared worlds. Inspired by a curious dog called Emma, I first demonstrate how a screen has at least a double social life: it is about making visual and haptic materials for certain species, as well as material divisions between specific species. Emma’s curiosity further helps me to unpack a reciprocal sense of screening and computing as an ongoing conjointment (or knotting) of divisions (or cuts) that matter for heterogeneous beings and things, two practices of material (re)configuration that I read as resonating with the modern production of microchips, the Jacquard loom, the grating screen, the firescreen, and two Inca devices called Khipu and Pukara. I conclude by repacking computer screens as a sociotechnical adventure of knotting and cutting meaningful bodily boundaries in the context of animal-computer interaction. I include in this repacking a discussion of which optical metaphors and methods should we use to grasp screens in the midst of our own interactions with computers. I open up the debate by proposing to shift from digital interfaces embedded with the trope of representation to co-species intra-faces designed with Eva Hayward’s ‘fingeryeyes’. Inhabiting our bodies and spaces with the trope of fingeryeyes might be a way of sensing screening as a physical diffraction of surfaces at play when species meet. BIO: Felipe Raglianti is a third year PhD student of the Centre of Science Studies at Lancaster University. He holds a bachelor degree in Sociology and a masters degree in Anthropology – after completing research in Chile on the social construction of time and technology in an ageing autopoietic society. Felipe is currently investigating computer screens with a material-semiotic lens borrowed from Science and Technology Studies (STS). He has published so far work related to social system theory, technology and public policy. f.raglianti@lancaster.ac.uk


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Contact: mailto:p.piwek@open.ac.uk