Boundary objects between arthistory, history of technology, and sociology
- 1 Summary
- 2 Michel Callon, Society in the Making: The Study of Technology as a Tool for Sociological Analyses (1987)
- 3 Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-network-theory (2005)
- 4 Bruno Latour, On Actor Network Theory: A few clarifications (1997)
- 5 Stephen Wilson, Information Arts (2003)
- 6 Other resources
- 7 Events
> tezi me zaujalo a pobidlo ke konfrontaci. napr. je zajimava > otazka, kterou si zminil hned ze zacatku - ze technologie > v sobe nesou jiz nejake apriori - pokud jsem to dobre pochopil - > to ze maji takovy a takovy puvod, to ze je vyvinul ten a ten clovek > je nejak determinuje a predurcuje zpusob jejich uzivani. mozna > je to neadekvatni analogie, ale determinuje nuz to, jak jej budu > uzivat? budu jim krajet chleba, nebo ho nekomu pichnu do zad? > ja stejne vidim situaci i v novych technologiich... ale nevim, > mozna jsem mimo.
Dotykame sa viacerych oblasti: Zoberme si Eduarda Kaca, ktory sa pozera na projekty pracujuce so sietovymi technologiami cez teoriu komunikacie, kedy jednotlivi akteri/ucastnici diela (ci uz iniciatori, autori, divaci, alebo uzivatelia) su ucastnikmi procesu komunikacie (napriklad v projekte HubRenga kolektivu The Hub . Co mi pride ako zaujimavy, ale obmedzujuci pohlad.
Totizto je otazne aku rolu v taktom pripade zohravaju samotne stroje, alebo software. Ide o pasivne nastroje pod plnou kontrolou ludskych akterov? Zoberme si streaming pri pomalom pripojeni - latencia spomaluje odozvu, a tym aj interakciu medzi ludmi, takze pre hudobnikov na dvoch stranach streamu je nemozne sa uplne zosynchronizovat. Co urobia? Ocitnu sa v situacii 'vyjednavania' s technologiou - hladaju rychlejsie pripojenie, alebo obmedzuju streamovanie zvuku na streamovanie iba niekolkych parametrov, alebo pracuju s latenciou ako jednym z parametrov procesu (napriklad streamingove projekty v 90-tych rokoch pracovali so 4-sekundovym meskanim ako faktom; japonec Atau Tanaka vytvoril niekolko performance na dialku, postavenych prave na vlastnostiach latencie/spomalenej odozvy). Podobne sa mozeme pozerat na kazdy softver a hardver ako na zhluk roznych moznosti a obmedzeni a dalsich vlastnosti, ktore ovplyvnuju spravanie/konanie ostatnych ucastnikov tvoriveho procesu.
V tejto suvislosti je velmi zaujimavou Actor-Network Theory vytvorena skupinou okolo Bruna Latoura a Michela Callona, ktora skuma socialne interakcie prostrednictvom sieti, ktore tvoria okrem ludi aj objekty, organizacie, ci koncepty. Na mna je to dost komplexna/radikalna teoria (ktora odmieta dualitu kultura/priroda), stale sa s nou len zoznamujem.
Prave mam rozcitany Callonov clanok uverejneny pred 20 rokmi, v ktorom tvrdi, ze studium technologii moze sluzit ako nastroj pre sociologicku analyzu. V nom tvrdi, ze inzinieri vo faze vyvoja novych technologii sa nezaoberaju len technickymi a vedeckymi otazkami, ale pracuju aj so socialnymi, ekonomickymi, politickymi a podnikatelskymi hypotezami a argumentami, na zaklade ktorych prijimaju rozhodnutia. To plati najma v pripade tvorby radikalnych inovacii. Uvadza priklad zo 70-tych rokov (5 rokov po maji 68), kedy skupina francuzskych inzinierov predlozila vlade navrh noveho - elektrickeho - automobilu, ktoreho sucastou bol aj rozpracovany (obrovsky) socialny, ekonomicky a politicky dopad, ktory by jeho uvedenie na trh sprevadzal (ropa, ekologia, automobilovy a energeticky priemysel, atd), a ktory by o.i. eventualne viedol k vymiznutiu spalovacieho motora.
O socialnych, ekonomickych a politickych motivoch v pozadi tvorby softveru a hardveru pisu o.i. Matthew Fuller, alebo Richard Barbrook. Fuller napriklad tvrdi, ze korporacie prostrednictvom obmedzovania funkcionality softverov a inych rozhrani kontroluju uzivatela, resp. ho 'vytvaraju', namiesto toho aby softver sluzil jeho povodnym potrebam. V tomto zmysle by sme mohli povedat, ze spravanie uzivatela je v podstate determinovane rozhodnutiami tvorcu softveru. Proti-prudom je prave slobodny softver s otvorenym kodom, kedy je komunita slobodna k dotvaraniu dalsich funkcii. Niektore softverove architektury su vytvarane priamo s ideou co najradikalnejsej otvorenosti a prepojitelnosti s inymi platformami -- vid PD.
Fuller tiez hovori o viacerych zaujimavych oblastiach, spomina kriticky softver, socialny softver, alebo spekulativny softver. Ci uz alternativne browsre (bak.spc.org/iod, Wrongbrowser.com), open-sourcove vyhladavace (open-search.net), dekonstruovane strielacky (jetsetwilly.jodi.org, untitled-game.org)
Michel Callon, Society in the Making: The Study of Technology as a Tool for Sociological Analyses (1987)
- study of technology can be transformed into a sociological tool of analysis
- engineers developing new technology constantly construct hypotheses and forms of argument => they are engineer-sociologists
- during phases of invention (birth of an idea) and innovation (commercialization), it is not possible to distinguish between activites that are distinctly technical or scientific from others that are social or political or guided by economic or commercial logic; often it is believed that the phase of innovation only solves technical problems, which is not true--particularly in case of radical innovations
- actor network is simultaneously an actor whose activity is networking heterogenous elements and a network that is able to redefine and transform what it is made of ~ simplification (reduction of infinitely complex world) and juxtaposition
- simplification - napr pre účely návrhu elektrického automobilu v 70-tych rokoch vo Francúzsku, vývojárom pri analýze stačilo oblasť znečisťovania ovzdušia zjednodušiť agentom mestských rád, ktorých úlohou je vývoj dopravného systému, ktorý nezvyšuje znečistovanie ovzdušia. ak ale agent, v ktorého je dôvera, sa destabilizuje, stáva sa komplexnejším: agent, ktorý bol redukovaný do niekoľkých jasne definovaných parametrov, dáva priechod priehrštiu nových agentov. (Callon tam má ešte lepší príklad s fuel cells, str. 94). nových agentov sme nevideli, až kým sa neodmaskovali.
- juxtaposition - remove one of the [agents] and the whole structure shifts and changes
- If we wish to construct a graphical representation of a network by using sequences of points and lines, we must view each point as a network that in turn is a series of points held in place by their own relatinships. The networks lend each other their force.
- The solidity of the whole results from an architecture in which every point is at the intersection of two networks: one that it simplifies, and another that simplifies it.
- Another way of learning about society, is to follow innovators in their investigations and projects. This method is particularly effective in cases in which, because they are working on radical innovations, enginners are forced to develop explicit sociological theories.
Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-network-theory (2005)
- The adjective social designates two entirely different phenomena: it's once a substance, a kind of stuff, and also a movement between non-social elements. (p 159)
- social order [..] is traceable only when it's modified (p 159)
Bruno Latour, On Actor Network Theory: A few clarifications (1997)
Pokus o komentovaný výcuc:
Najprv vyvracia tri časté nedorozumenia, ku ktorým dochádza keď sa sieť chápe ako metafora (1) počítačovej siete, inokedy ako (2) sociálnej siete, alebo (3) ak sa v sieti skúma "éter" mimo jej uzlov a spojení.
(1) "computer network is [..] not the basic metaphor of an actor-network. A technical network in the engineer's sense is only one of the possible final and stabilized state of an actor-network. An actor-network may lack all the characteristics of a technical network - it may be local, it may have no compulsory paths, no strategically positioned nodes."
(2) "ANT has very little to do with the study of social networks [..] it aims at describing also the very nature of societies, but to do so it does not limit itself to human individual actors but extend the word actor to non-human, non individual entities. [..] Instead of thinking in terms of surfaces -two dimension- or spheres -three dimension- one is asked to think in terms of nodes that have as many dimensions as they have connections. As a first approximation, the ANT claims that modern societies cannot be described without recognizing them as having a fibrous, thread-like, wiry, stringy, ropy, capillary character that is never captured by the notions of levels, layers, territories, spheres, categories, structure, systems. [..] ANT has been developed by students of science and technology and their claim is that it is utterly impossible to understand what holds the society together without reinjecting in its fabric the facts manufactured by natural and social sciences and the artefacts designed by engineers. As a second approximation, ANT is thus the claim that the only way to achieve this reinjection of the things into our understanding of the social fabrics is through a network-like ontology and social theory."
(3) "ANT is a simple material resistance argument. Strength does not come from concentration, purity and unity, but from dissemination, heterogeneity and the careful plaiting of weak ties. [..] Universality or order are not the rule but the exceptions that have to be accounted for. [..] Literally there is nothing but networks, there is nothing in between them, or, to use a metaphor from the history of physics, there is no aether in which the networks should be immersed."
Latour v ANT odmieta (1) geografické ponímanie vzdialenosti (pólovanie far/close), ďalej (2) rozlišovanie makro- a mikro- pohľadov sociálnej teórie (ktoré vykresľujú spoločnosť ako top-down/bottom-up poriadok; small scale/large scale), a nakoniec (3) separovanie vnútra a vonkajšku (inside/outside).
(1) "[ANT] gets rid of 'the tyranny of distance' or proximity. Elements which are close when disconnected may be infinitely remote if their connections are analyzed; conversely, elements which would appear as infinitely distant may be close when their connections are brought back into the picture."
(2) "the notion of network allows us to dissolve the micro- macro- distinction that has plagued social theory from its inception. The whole metaphor of scales going from the individual, to the nation state, through family, extended kin, groups, institutions etc. is replaced by a metaphor of connections. A network is never bigger than another one, it is simply longer or more intensely connected. [..] Instead of having to chose between the local and the global view, the notion of network allows us to think of a global entity -a highly connected one- which remains nevertheless continuously local... Instead of opposing the individual level to the mass, or the agency to the structure, we simply follow how a given element becomes strategic through the number of connections it commands and how does it lose its importance when losing its connections."
(3) "A surface has an inside and an outside separated by a boundary. A network is all boundary without inside and outside. [..] we are no longer obliged to fill in the space in between the connections [..] A network is a positive notion which does not need negativity to be understood. It has no shadow."
(1+2+3) "network allows us to get rid of spatial dimensions far/close, big/small [up/down, local/global] and inside/outside. They are replaced by associations and connections (which ANT does not have to qualify as being either social or natural or technical)"
Ďalej ostro odmieta sploštené chápanie siete ako prostredia silného "actora" (väčšinou muža), ktorý koncetruje moc a vytvára si sieť spojencov, aby ju rozširoval ďalej 'sieťovaním':
"An 'actor' in ANT is a semiotic definition -an actant-, that is, something that acts or to which activity is granted by others. It implies no special motivation of human individual actors, nor of humans in general. An actant can literally be anything provided it is granted to be the source of an action."
Čo teda ANT robí? Latour:
"So what is on [ANT's] agenda? The attribution of human, unhuman, nonhuman, inhuman, characteristics; the distribution of properties among these entities; the connections established between them; the circulation entailed by these attributions, distributions and connections; the transformation of those attributions, distributions and connections, of the many elements that circulates and of the few ways through which they are sent."
"ANT makes use of some of the simplest properties of nets and then add to it an actor that does some work; the addition of such an ontological ingredient deeply modifies it."
Latour obšírnejšie opisuje, ako 'actora' ANT vzala zo sémiotiky vďaka lingvistickému obratu (1960s), a zhŕňa to:
"building on the semiotic turn, ANT first brackets out society and nature to consider only meaning-productions [or discourse, or text]; then breaking with the limits of semiotics without losing its tool box, it grants activity to the semiotic actors turning them into a new ontological hybrid, world making entities; by doing such a counter-copernican revolution it builds a completely empty frame for describing how any entity builds its world."
"there is not a net and an actor laying down the net, but there is an actor whose definition of the world outlines, traces, delineate, limn, describe, shadow forth, inscroll, file, list, record, mark, or tag a trajectory that is called a network. No net exists independently of the very act of tracing it, and no tracing is done by an actor exterior to the net. A network is not a thing but the recorded movement of a thing. The questions ANT addresses have now changed. It is not longer whether a net is representation or a thing, a part of society or a part of discourse or a part of nature, but what moves and how this movement is recorded."
Čo je teda tým aktorom, ktorý pohybom vytvára sieť? Ako možno postihnúť aktora? Aké ma vlastnosti, čo o ňom môžeme povedať?
"We cannot say that what moves inside networks are informations, genes, cars, bytes, salutations, words, forces, opinions, claims, bodies, energy, etc. [..] what circulates has to be defined like the circulating object in semiotics of texts [..]. It is defined by the competence it is endowed with, the trials it undergoes, the performances it is allowed to display, the associations it is made to bear upon, the sanctions it receives, the background in which it is circulating, etc. Its isotopy -that is its persistence in time and space- is not a property of its essence but the result of the decisions taken through the narrative programs and the narrative paths."
Tento aktor sa pohybuje na základe toho, čo mu robia ostatní aktori (teda nie je poháňaný výhradne spoločnosťou, prírodou alebo textom) :
"these categories [society, nature, text] are themselves part of the many trials, and events, and ressources that are used along the paths to attribute 'textuality' or 'sociality' or 'naturality' to this or that actor. They are part of what is distributed not part of what makes the distribution."
Preto nemožno povedať, že pohyb aktora je výhradne naratívnou trasou, ani že je výlučne silou, energiou, či kultúrnym génom, ani špecifickým spoločenským záujmom alebo prácou.
"If chosing words for the network-tracing activity has to be done, quasi-objects (Serres, 1987) or tokens might be the best candidate so far. It is crucial for the definition of the term that what circulates and what makes the circulation be both co-determined and transformed. [..] As a rule a quasi-object should be thought of as a moving actant that transforms those which do the moving because they transform the moving object. When the token remains stable or when the movers are kept intact, these are exceptional circumstances which have to be accounted for."
"another feature forbids any confusion of ANT with human centered, or language-centered, or praxis-centered models. As a rule, what is doing the moving and what is moved have no specific homogeneous morphism. They can be anthropo-morphic, but also zoo-morphic, phusi-morphic, logo-morphic, techno-morphic, ideo-morphic, that is '(x)-morphic'."
Stephen Wilson, Information Arts (2003)
(from Chapter 1.1: Art and Science as Cultural Acts)
- Similarities and Differences between Science and Art
How are science and art similar? How are they different? This analysis is useful for understanding the prospects for future relationships.
Differences between Art and Science
Art / Science
Seeks aesthetic response / Seeks knowledge and understanding
Emotion and intuition / Reason
Idiosyncratic / Normative
Visual or sonic communication / Narrative text communication
Evocative / Explanatory
Values break with tradition / Values systematic building on tradition and adherence to standards
Similarities between Art and Science
Both value the careful observation of their environments to gather information through the senses.
Both value creativity.
Both propose to introduce change, innovation, or improvement over what exists.
Both use abstract models to understand the world.
Both aspire to create works that have universal relevance.
In “Principles of Research,” Albert Einstein stated that the artist and the scientist each substitute a self-created world for the experiential one, with the goal of transcendence.
In “The Contribution of the Artist to Scientific Visualization,” Vibeke Sorensen describes artists as “organizers of large amounts of data”; “people who find unusual relationships between events and images”; and “creative interdisciplinarians.” She continues: Artists are . . . people who create something completely original and new, something beyond the known boundaries of the information base. By using or inventing new tools, they show new uses and applications that synergize and synthesize fields. Artists push the limits of technologies, bringing them to previously unattained goals. Artists as well as scientists work with abstract symbols, representations for various realities and working tools. Even the language used by the two groups is similar. Scientists working with mathematics frequently describe a particularly good explanation or solution as “elegant” . . . The intellectual bridge of abstraction and aesthetic consideration is fundamental to both groups. A less benign critical analysis asserts that science and art both make questionable truth claims and attempt to create privileged positions, but in reality participate in the system of symbols and narratives that shape the culture.
In a paper entitled “Theoreticians, Artists, and Artisans,” Feyerabend observes that scientists play a large role in creating the phenomena they study, suggests that science could benefit from art’s awareness of absurdity and paradox, and notes the dilemma surfaced by Plato. The only way we can know pure being is by making inferences about it through imperfect senses that observe base matter. Plato considered artisans and artists as lowlifes who worked far from the core of a universe accessible only by contemplation. Feyerabend traces this distrust of observation to the present day, in which theoreticians are accorded higher status than empiricists. Feyerabend notes that scientists must create massive theoretical structures to link observation and the underlying “reality.” Although scientists pride themselves on objectivity, they are similar to artists in their construction of artificialities. He further asserts that difficulties arise from the extraordinary faith that science places in theoretical structures and the manipulations derived from them. He questions the wisdom of distrusting the world of real things and actions. Feyerabend concludes that science is in many ways very similar to art, in which researchers build research structures and operations to represent their thoughts: In a way, individual scientists, scientific movements, tribes, nations function like artists or artisans trying to shape a world from a largely unknown material, Being. . . . Or researchers are artists, who, working on a largely unknown material, Being, build a variety of manifest worlds that they often, but mistakenly, identify with Being itself.
- Re:place 2007 conference, Refresh! 2005 conference.
- Reboot.Fm presents: ENIAC NOMOI (2007). The acoustic results of the cooperation between artist, Joulia Strauss, and scientist, Martin Carlé: this work traces early computer sounds to ancient Greece. Additional scientific discoveries make the work all the more compelling.