Tuesday, November 15, 2005

New Weekly INCITE blog

Hi everyone

We have moved.

Weekly INCITE has switched to Word Press.

Our new address is http://studioincite.com/blog/

We hope to see you there.

Self-Portrait 1995, Chuck Close

Self-Portrait 1995, Chuck Close
Originally uploaded by Kris Cohen.

The aforementioned Chuck Close. Reproduction does this piece NO favo(u)rs, as it is composed of hundreds of small pixels, each of which is itself an abstract painting.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Happy Birthday Kat! (Nov. 9th, 2005)

Happy Birthday Kat!
Originally uploaded by Kris Cohen.

November 9th, 2005

Saturday, November 05, 2005

"What is Science Studies" at Franke Institute, Univ of Chicago

[And can I say? The Franke Institute puts on some great shows, but can we have some web presence please? A few links? A modest website mayhaps?]


11:45 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Franke Institute for the Humanities, 1100 East 57th Street, JRL S-118

Conference: What is Science Studies?
E-mail enquiries to: johns@uchicago.edu or jtresch@uchicago.edu

Buffet lunch

historical formation/ internal institutional histories/ STS's emergence from other fields

Karin Knorr Cetina, University of Chicago
Robert Brain, University of British Columbia
Emily Martin, New York University

border relations with neighboring disciplines/ STS seen from the outside

Ken Alder, Northwestern University
Katherine Hayles, University of California at Los Angeles
John Carson, University of Michigan

Round table
what's at stake?/ political and ethical responsibilities/ relation to the public and to science/ consequences of institutionalization

Trevor Pinch, Cornell University
Thomas Gieryn, Indiana University
Adrian Johns, University of Chicago
Joseph Rouse, Wesleyan University

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Foucault on Wireless Networks (for Kat)

To Kat, who is thinking about wireless networks, a thought, to be treated carelessly:

I don't know your feelings about Foucault—I'm thinking here mainly of the Foucault of the Disciplines, esp. Discipline and Punish. Here, he's describing a historical mode of power, carried within and propagated by particular disciplines (e.g. psychiatry, psychology, criminology, pedagogy, etc.) and directed at the individual and the individual's body as the mobile point of contact between power and society. This target of disciplinarity, the individual, is key, and is what got me thinking about wireless networks, which also seem to focus on the individual (I'm not sure what modes of generality, or grouping, wireless networks engender. Are they networks or societies or communities or populations?).

So, a facet of disciplinary power is that it is very careful about the way it distributes and organises bodies in space. The classroom, with its ordered grid, is one of F's favorite examples. But also: the prison, the military march, the hospital, the factory—and I'd add, now: the office cubicle and (my point here) wired and wireless networks, all seem to me to be methods—architectural or social or institutional or technological—for arranging and administering (disciplining) bodies in space (there are different methods for ordering bodies in time, e.g. course schedules).

And so I'm thinking about computer networks as spatially-ordering disciplinary tactics in this way (although maybe not always only disciplinary). And once you start thinking in that direction, then the shift from wired to wireless networks starts to look interesting for the ways in which it re-orders bodies. Perhaps still governed by disciplinarity, perhaps not. That would be something to be investigated: but the question/method remains: how do re-configured networks re-configure bodies in space, in relation to other bodies and to buildings and to things and etc., and what are the effects of this re-configuration, what consequences does it have for the operations of (what Foucault always calls, vaguely, but importantly) power? Put that way, it will probably sound a lot like questions you're already asking. To which I'd say (if you're at all captured by this approach), if you're not familiar with it, take a look at some Foucault. Maybe start with Disc and Punish, and then move to the stuff on biopower, which he formulated as a new mode of power, differently organized than disciplinarity, organized around populations rather than bodies/individuals, concerned with regulation rather than discipline, but often collusive and co-extensive with disciplinarity. Both modes seem to operate in our current world, and perhaps both are relevant to wireless networks. Or maybe wireless networks are a kind of pivot. This would be the question.

There must be someone who has written on this. I don't know who.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Martin Sønderlev Christensen checking in, check it out!

Hi INCITE aassociates and casual blogreaders. Encouraged by kat I thought I might shortly introduce myself as I have the privilege, not only to have access to this blog, but also currently to be associated with the INCITE group for a couple of months - October and November that is.

I normally reside in Copenhagen, where I’m currently doing the final stages of my PhD at the IT University of Copenhagen, so my visit at Surrey and INCITE is mainly one of getting away on my own for writing, and to see how research is done outside the configuration of my “normal” environment, which on a private note includes wife and two kids.

I should note here that I’m not a sociologist by training or by heart, my background is in Nordic literature and film/media studies – though I have while doing my master degree and within my PhD mainly concerned myself with what “goes on” between people and technology within late modernity from a cultural critic perspective. Including here the macro sociological thinking of Giddens, Beck, Lash and the lot of them. So while I haven’t had the micro-level empirical encounters as I find so prominent within INCITE, and that I have come to acknowledge that I would have liked to do, I do share the critical approach to technology positioned largely in Philosophy of Technology - mainly Andrew Feenbeerg, Don Ihde which in its (post)phenomenological outset has many threads to the works of Latour and Harraway – so the link is there I sense to core INCITE curriculum.

As for my project, it revolves around the concept of affect, which I approach as a central notion that has come to define what people do with and through technology and to some extend also what technology it self has become, an augmentation of our affect, our “outer” body rather than our effective rational one.

Affect is here understood not as a merely emotion, though it does point to the fact that people (formerly known as users) increasingly create, share and coordinate their experiences of everyday life through mobile and social computing. I therefore look at the ubiquitous mobile phones, digital photography sharing, blogs and subtract a number of characteristics from the use of these technologies allowing me to form a “genre” depiction denoted “Personal Affective Media Technologies” and I subdivide my study into three main parts of enquiry:

Firstly, what I call “Affective mediation”, how people connect to other people through technology? Covering mediated communication within social and cultural realm. Secondly "affective attachment", how do people connect to technology? Concerning the design of theses technologies - the interaction and the aesthetics of the genre. And Thirdly “affective augmentation” how do technology connect to people? Enabling me to reform a framework for seeing human technology relations as affect.

Affect here is rather a social and cultural phenomenon that allows us to critically talk about ways that people are enabled or imposed towards new ways of using technology – and to discuss the cultural implications as well as the aesthetical forms that follows from affective technological forms of life, to refrain Scott Lash. As it might be apparent from this the project is way to broad (and someway in between too ambitious and too naïve). Yet I feel it only covers half of the interesting and problematic issues I find in that critically important field where people and technology relations emerge and evolve.

Well that’s pretty much it. Only a few acknowledgement and your free to continue into the blogosphere. I would like to use the opportunity to thank all of INCITE particularly Nina and Katrina for being so open minded and helpful to bring me to UK and into the group, providing me ample space to work, knowing that I might be working from a different tradition and in different ways – it speaks highly for their academic openness and personal kindness. Also to Kris, Gerard, Steve and not least Sandeep for pleasant meetings. Now, it seems like I’m saying goodbye when this was suppose to be hallo.
Well, I’ll be around for another month before head home, so there are still time for more interaction, and if you, dear blogreader, have caught interest in my work OR find it deeply disturbing, you are most welcome to contact me on mach_at_itu.dk.

all the best,


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Via Chicago

Hello INCITE and Friends of....

Chicago is great. Wish you were here. Autumn turns to Winter.

I carry your sociological sophistication with me, which I embrace and do not renounce, but find myself slightly...what?...relieved to be working with novels and films again—the sort of texts in comparison to which interview transcripts feel very stern to me (I always fear that I won't live up; that I didn't have the capacity to fully honour an interviewee's input). These kinds of texts, in contrast, feel permissive, somehow more promiscuous; which is to say, I feel more promiscuous around them, and promiscuity is good. My first paper is due next week, however, and I wonder if I'll remember how to do it (I'm working with a 19th c. American suffragist "composite" novel called The Sturdy Oak, placed in conversation with a book which I recommend to you all, Jodi Dean's Publicity's Secret).

yours faithfully,

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

hello from sandeep

Hello everyone. I am blogging for the very first time. Kat has already mentioned that i have joined as a PhD student in sociology this october and am all bits and bones in these first few weeks. I have a background in film, specializing in animation. I have previously researched two different story-telling traditions in India. In this PhD i will be doing a sociological investigation of story-telling in India, looking at translation of concepts between traditions, rural and urban and focus my concerns on the youth in urban India. Or that is vaguely what it sounds like in my head now. A few sociology books have landed on my desk, the wind has picked up the sails and i might be slowly moving. Sandeep.