Last Wednesday, tried again to capture my thoughts on capability and capacity, this time at the UCL Knowledge Lab (Institute of Education). The recording of the talk is available here.
I had a very generous slot for presenting to some in Design Products at the RCA this week.
In this talk, I want to suggest we have spent too much time working with the limits of capability—the limits of the perceptual apparatus, the limits of cognitive capacities, and the limits of how critters (whether human or nonhuman) interact and relate to one another. Drawing on a feminist technoscience and using examples from recent fieldwork, I’ll aim to show that, together, we make ourselves capable. That capability isn’t limited to some pre-given, individual state, but comes into being through (inter)action, through entangled relations between actors of all kinds. This, I’ll claim, gives us a very different way of thinking about our relations with technology and especially the promise of AI and machine learning. Rather than machines aiming to replicate human capability, I want to propose an expansive project that allows us the chance to imagine something ‘other-than’ finite capabilities, that sees capability as a ‘becoming-with’, and lays open the possibilities for much much more.
As Sarah’s introduction to the paper outlined, our co-writings were an attempt to think with the emerging strategies of feminist counting, accounting and re-counting.
Below, I present my part to the co-authered piece. It’s long, so I put it here more for the record than any expectation it will be read. I must add that the ideas I present draw on work done by . Without her energy and always thoughtful investment in the field site, this reflection would not have been possible: (more…)
Barry, as always, you’ve forced me to think more carefully about my meanderings. Indeed, my intention was to append a short reply to your comment, but your questions have demanded more and, predictably, words have got the better of me. This post, then, is my long-winded response. Thank you for giving me the chance to expand on my thoughts.
First, let me respond to your criticisms regarding the interminglings of humans and nonhumans. (more…)
Reading María Puig de la Bellacasa’s article on feminist notions of care. (more…)
Wilson, M. W. (2011). Data matter(s): legitimacy, coding, and qualifications-of-life. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 29(5), 857–872.
Haraway D J, 1997 Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium. FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouse™: Feminism and Technoscience (Routledge, New York)
Haraway D J, 1999, “Knowledges and the question of alliances”, in Knowledges and the Question of Alliances: A Conversation with Nancy Hartsock, Donna Haraway, and David Harvey (Kane Hall, University of Washington, Seattle, WA)
The phrase “always already” is, in the main, attributed to the poststructuralist philosopher Jaques Derrida. It has, however, come to be a trope for the new materialists and it is in this usage that I modestly take it on. Specifically, my guiding sources are from the feminist technoscience scholars Donna Haraway and Karen Barad, both of whom make heavy use of the phrase to trouble the binaries abound in science and technology (subject-object, mind-matter, inside-outside, past-present, etc.).
For some back ground reading see The New Materialist “Always Already”: On an A-Human Humanities.