2018 Winter School of the Estonian Academy of Arts “Building Lives”

Delighted to be in Tallinn for the 2018 Winter School of the Estonian Academy of Arts (15-19 of January), thanks to the invitation of Francisco Martínez.

In particular, in my presentation–titled Technologies of friendship? Open design objects and their figurations of relatedness–I will be speaking about some of the particular creative processes of En torno a la silla (or ETS, the Barcelona-based critical disability and open design collective I have been part of since 2012), gadgets and indoor/outdoor spatial interventions whose conception and execution have entailed a  series of experiments whereby the relation between the people involved was granted particular architectural and design affordances. Indeed, and thanks to particular relations they have afforded, I will refer to them using the particular name the very collective has employed: i.e. technologies of friendship. Thinking from there I will search to unfold how En torno a la silla’s open design objects should not only be described as inscribing and supporting already existing relations but also affording a plexus of potential figurations of forms of relatedness, whereby the process of making is also a process of relating. Or, as I would call it, an exploration into a ‘how-to’ friendship: a particular mode of relating premised on the very concern of discussing and showing the how-to of relations.

**

This Winter school, with the title Building Lives, invites for a reflection on the place buildings occupy in peoples’ biographies by studying the transformations of built forms and its correlation with individual subjectivities and societal changes at large. Specifically, the objective of the event is to explore the possibilities to correlate personal maturing and the life states of buildings and provide new tools, concepts and frameworks for understanding the plural life stages of the built environment.

A key proposition behind this Winter School is that comparisons can be drawn between the biographies of persons and the biographies of buildings, yet perhaps the metaphor of biography highlights a too linear process of change, instead of the eventful discontinuation and change of states they might go through.

The programme is set up to reconsider the birth, death, and reconstitution of the built environment by paying attention to the different relations that emerge between buildings and people. The event will consist of lectures, workshops and artists talks, including a keynote and four excursions. Some possible lines of thought addressed by papers may be:

  • What are the recognised stages of a building’s life?
  • Can we use human metaphors to study the built environment?
  • In which ways do buildings store personal memories and social significance?
  • What discrete activities are engendered to maintain buildings alive?
  • When or what is the ultimate no-return point that marks the death of buildings and their functional discontinuation?

Organiser: Francisco Martínez

Invited scholars: Tomás Errázuriz (Andrés Bello, Chile); Andres Kurg (EKA); Patrick Laviolette (Tallinn Univ.), Michał Murawski (Queen Mary Univ. of London); Tomás Sánchez Criado (Munich Center for Technology in Society)

Artists, designers & architects: Andra Aaloe; Flo Kasearu; Paul Kuimet; Laura Kuusk; Karli Luik; Triin Ojari; Margit Säde; Ingel Vaikla and Tüüne-Kristin Vaikla.

Programme

15th, Monday (Suur Kloostri 11, Interior Design Dept.)

10:30 Introduction and lecture by F. Martínez, Architectural Taxidermy

11:45 Seminar by P. Kuimet

14:00 Seminar by L. Kuusk

15:00 Lecture by T. Errázuriz, When new is not better: the making of home through holding on to objects

16:00 Seminar by T.K. Vaikla, How long is the life of a building? Screening the film ‘The House Guard’ (I. Vaikla, 2014),

17:00 Excursion to the F. Kasearu Museum.

16th, Tuesday (Suur Kloostri 11, Interior Design Dept.)

10:30 Students’ Seminar.

14:00 Excursion to the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design.

16:00 Excursion: Sense of Domesticity by A. Aaloe & M. Säde.

17th, Wednesday Independent research by the students, preparing their own work on the biographical correlation between people and buildings / the built space.

18th, Thursday (Suur Kloostri 11, Room 103, Art History Dept.)

10:00 Keynote Lecture by M. Murawski, People make buildings (and buildings make people), but not under conditions of their own choosing. Chair, A. Kurg.

12:00 Round table about the life stages of buildings with T. K. Vaikla, K. Luik, T. Ojari, A. Kurg, and M. Murawski.

14:00 Independent research by the students

19th, Friday (Suur Kloostri 11, Interior Design Dept.)

10:30 Lecture by T. Sánchez Criado, Technologies of friendship? Open design objects and their figurations of relatedness.

12:00 Lecture by P. Laviolette, Buildings A-live

14:30 Presentations by students.

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Functional Diversity as a Politics of Design? – DISEÑA, 11 (Special issue on Design & Politics)

The Chilean journal DISEÑA has just published its latest bilingual issue (Spanish & English), a detailed reflection on the relations between Politics & Design (DISEÑA #11), carefully edited by Martín Tironi.

I collaborate with a reflection (pp. 148-159) on the ‘politics’ of design–in a Rancièrian sense–undertaken by ‘functional diversity’ activism after the 15-M uprisings, and my participation in the En torno a la silla collective.

¿La diversidad funcional como una política del diseño?

Este artículo es una indagación sobre el activismo de la “diversidad funcional” tras la ocupación de las plazas del 15-M español, y, más concretamente, acerca de cómo a partir de ella la diversidad funcional se convierte en un repertorio que politiza el diseño (particularmente el mercado de ayudas técnicas y entornos accesibles desarrollados de acuerdo con el modelo social de la discapacidad). Para apuntalar una lectura de la política del diseño —en el sentido de la filosofía política de Jacques Rancière— que ahí aparece, tomaré como caso un pequeño proyecto colaborativo desarrollado por el colectivo de diseño abierto radicado en Barcelona En torno a la silla.

15-M _ Diversidad funcional _ En torno a la silla _ política del diseño _ Rancière

Functional diversity as a politics of design?

This article is an inquiry into the activism around ‘functional diversity’ after the public square occupations of the Spanish 15-M movement; and, more specifically, how, in them, ‘functional diversity’ developed into a repertoire for the politicisation of design (notably, the market of technical aids and accessible environments created according to the social model of disability). To underpin the particular reading of the politics of design —in the sense developed by political philosopher Jacques Rancière— that appears there, I will describe a small collaborative project put together by the Barcelona-based open design collective En torno a la silla.

15M _ En torno a la silla _ Functional diversity _ Politics of design _ Rancière

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Curso en la Maestría en Psicología Social, Universidad de La República – “Experimentos austeros: Los arreglos del cuidado en crisis”

2014-06-07-12-42-29

Desde el 3 al 17 de diciembre tendré el grandísimo gusto de poder estar en Montevideo, donde daré un curso y participaré en un laboratorio (esto último junto a Isaac Marrero) en la Maestría en Psicología Social de la Facultad de Psicología de la Universidad de La República, que por intermediación del queridísimo colega y amigo Gonzalo Correa (con quien tenía muchas ganas de poder tramar algo en común desde hace tiempo) ha financiado mi pasaje transatlántico y mi estancia. Agradezco enormemente el esfuerzo económico para hacer realidad el viaje y espero sólo poder compensarlo con las ganas que tengo de aprender de las realidades montevideanas y aportar en la medida de lo posible desde el trabajo que he venido realizando en los últimos años.

El curso tendrá lugar los días 5, 6, 7 y 8 de diciembre por la tarde y lleva por título “Experimentos austeros: Los arreglos del cuidado en crisis” (algo que en algún momento he pensado pudiera convertirse en el borrador de un libro o al menos de un intento de un argumento de amplio espectro–algo que quisiera poder reescribir y co-escribir con mis compas de En torno a la silla–, y agradezco enormemente la oportunidad brindada no sólo de poder presentar y discutir mi trabajo sino de tener un espacio experimental para ensayar el argumento en tan buena compañía).

Dejo por aquí la información detallada del curso.

Resumen

Este curso plantea una aproximación a las transformaciones contemporáneas en el cuidado y el auto-cuidado, prestando especial atención no sólo a sus aspectos sociales (roles de género sexualizados) o vinculados al trabajo corporal, sino a los arreglos e infraestructuras materiales. De forma más concreta, y siguiendo diferentes perspectivas dentro de la antropología de la ciencia y la tecnología, el curso pretende mostrar las democratizaciones tecnocientíficas desarrolladas en años recientes por el Movimiento de Vida Independiente (MVI): una particular forma de activismo encarnado que pone en el centro los soportes corporales, la interdependencia como fundamento para el auto-cuidado y la experiencia de la diversidad corporal. Empleando numerosos casos y el contexto de un estudio etnográfico llevado a cabo en Barcelona desde 2012–uno de los momentos de mayor efervescencia creativa y activista de la España de las medidas de austeridad, en una profunda crisis económica-financiera, institucional-democrática, moral, etc.-, el curso busca abrir un diálogo sobre los modos de teorización y de conceptualización de las infraestructuras vernáculas del cuidado, las formas de conocimiento que movilizan o las sensibilidades que concitan estos activistas del MVI. Y, particularmente, de qué manera sus “experimentos austeros” pudieran estar explorando o poniendo en práctica conceptos y modelos alternativos de bienestar.

Contenido

0) Introducción

– Una aproximación a las transformaciones contemporáneas en los arreglos socio-materiales del cuidado desde un estudio etnográfico en la España en crisis -económica-financiera, institucional-democrática, moral, etc.-, participando activamente en el colectivo En torno a la silla.

– Apunte sobre el método: Conceptualización vernácula y antropología de la ciencia y la tecnología.

– Dos grandes líneas temáticas:

  1. Cuerpo y formaciones socio-subjetivas fragmentarias y en formación: Una antropología pensada desde los soportes corporales y socio-subjetivos (Do kamo de Leenhardt y la revisión de Pazos, 2008) de la experiencia de la diversidad, lo que permitiría abrir un diálogo sobre las infraestructuras corporales/urbanas, las formas de conocimiento que movilizan y las sensibilidades que concitan.
  2. El cacharreo y sus arreglos como modo de materialización vernácula del cuidado, aspecto nuclear de esta historia.

 

1) El cacharreo como radicalización de las infraestructuras del auto-cuidado frente a la institucionalización y el cuidado familiar

– Discusión sobre el cuidado y el auto-cuidado:

  • El estado del bienestar español en discusión (1977-2006): el IMSERSO y su intento frágil y tecnocrático por ir más allá del asistencialismo, el familismo y el corporativismo; las leyes sobre discapacidad; la gran reforma de la “ley de dependencia”, el SAAD y el debate institucionalización vs. cuidado en el hogar (e.g. teleasistencia)
  • El Movimiento por la vida independiente (MVI) I: Disability Rights Movement y discusiones del concepto de cuidado / auto-cuidado
  • El MVI II : La creación del Foro de Vida Independiente y Divertad (FVID) y la diversidad funcional como concepto auto-representacional vernáculo del modelo social de la discapacidad; un foro en internet vs. el asociacionismo corporativista de la discapacidad (grandes asociaciones sectoriales y asociaciones de padres)
  • Las Oficinas de Vida Independiente (OVIs) y el asistente personal (AP) como figura de la interdependencia en discusión: el debate feminista de “Cojos y precarias haciendo vidas que importan”
  • Tecnología y MVI: entre el derecho a escoger las tecnologías o hacer lobby para su rediseño mediante pagos directos (Lifchez, Ratzka, Wienner, Werner) y la auto-fabricación
  • Radicalizaciones del cuidado: De las “comisiones de diversidad funcional” del 15M a Funcionamientos de Medialab-Prado y el surgimiento de En torno a la silla (ETS)

 

2) El cacharreo como activismo encarnado

– Figuraciones epistémicas y articulaciones relacionales en el activismo encarnado:

  • Democratizaciones tecnocientíficas y activismos encarnados: foros híbridos (Callon et al.), comunidades epistémicas (Akrich & Rabeharisoa), grupos concernidos (Callon & Rabeharisoa), epidemiología popular (Phil Brown et al.) y activismo basado en la evidencia (Akrich & Rabeharisoa et al.).
  • Lo social, lo técnico y lo subjetivo en el activismo encarnado I: “tecnologías del yo” y “política de la amistad” (Foucault)
  • Lo social, lo técnico y lo subjetivo en el activismo encarnado II: “Regímenes de im/perceptibilidad”, “immodest witnessing” y “seizing the means of reproduction” (Michelle Murphy)
  • Lo social, lo técnico y lo subjetivo en el activismo encarnado III: La pregunta por “cómo vivir en común” (Barthes)
  • El cacharreo como “interfaz documental” y como “tecnología de la amistad” en ETS

 

3) El cacharreo y la experimentación austera con los arreglos del bienestar en crisis

– Discusión sobre infraestructuras del estado del bienestar, su gubernamentalidad y sus agenciamientos mercantiles:

  • Una vida de catálogo: El catálogo orto-protésico como un dispensario público subvencionado de ayudas técnicas producidas por actores privados; el catálogo como espacio de gestión gubernamental y mutualización mediada por el estado; el catálogo como “dispositivo de mercado” o “agenciamiento mercantil” que in/habilita particulares agencias económicas (Callon et al.)
  • Alternativas institucionales al dispensario: El caso del INTI de Argentina y el encuentro Tecnologías de Bajo Coste del CEAPAT español
  • Modelos del estado del bienestar (Esping-Andersen) y regímenes del cuidado (J. Jenson et al.) y mitos fundacionales del estado (Taussig)
  • Antropología del estado del bienestar sureuropeo como proyecto permanentemente inacabado (Muehlebach y el relato más allá del debate Mauss/Douglas o Foucault/Rose sobre el estado del bienestar y sus formas de gubernamentalidad; la singularidad del gran proyecto de estado postfranquista-Expo, Barcelona ’92- y sus continuidades con el franquismo, la relación con la arquitectura y el desarrollo urbano; la “ley de dependencia” como gran nuevo relato de la España moderna: “el cuarto pilar del Estado del bienestar”)
  • El bienestar entra en crisis: impagos, medidas de austeridad, co-pagos, retrasos y la neo-vulnerabilización de “los vulnerables”
  • Experimentos austeros cacharreando con el concepto y las infraestructuras del cuidado: Diversitat Funcional 15M, Primavera Cacharrera, Pornortopedia/Yes We Fuck, Cacharratón y Red Cacharrera (analogía con la iniciativa mexicana PROJIMO); la austeridad como fragilidad material y vulnerabilidad de los soportes y de su sostén relacional; la imposibilidad de constituir un agenciamiento mercantil (agentes que no se pueden convertir en emprendedores, productos no vendibles, acceso a materiales poco nobles y/o reciclados, etc.)

 

4) El cacharreo y el diseño abierto como construcción conjunta de problemas

– Discusión sobre el significado y la función social del diseño y su apertura en un contexto de cultura libre:

  • Diseño crítico, especulativo y adversarial
  • Diseño participativo/colaborativo: Formalismos democráticos y la revolución de los usuarios
  • Diseño abierto I: Documentar la auto-fabricación y la arquitectura de la necesidad (“Architecture without architects”, “Whole Earth Catalogue”, “Cultura materiale extraurbana”, “Rikimbili”, “Handmade urbanism”)
  • Diseño abierto II: Movimiento maker, amateur experts, crowd-sourcing y emprendeduría neoliberal
  • Diseño abierto III: Critical making
  • El cacharreo de ETS como un hacer vernáculo, cuidadoso y frágil a la vez, centrado en construir problemas conjuntamente sobre el diseño y la economía de las ayudas técnicas.

 

5) El cacharreo documental y la experimentación etnográfica

– Discusión sobre experimentación etnográfica:

  • La etnografía en los sitios antropológicos de la contemporaneidad: Para-sitios y comunidades epistémicas (Rabinow et al.; Marcus & Holmes)
  • Colaboración epistémica: diferentes modos de co-laborar (Riles, Fortun et al., Tsing et al., Kelty et al.)
  • Experimentación y observación: Breve excurso sobre el uso de estos conceptos en historia de la ciencia, STS y antropología
  • Dispositivos de campo y el sitiar/situar el campo
  • Cacharreos documentales: Inscripciones, elicitaciones, realizaciones, elaboraciones y representaciones de/del campo
  • Colaboraciones experimentales: ETS como lugar del cacharreo etnográfico.

 

Bibliografía básica

Agulló, C. et al. (2011). Cojos y precarias haciendo vidas que importan. Cuaderno sobre una alianza imprescindible. Madrid: Traficantes de sueños.

Akrich, M. (2010). From Communities of Practice to Epistemic Communities: Health Mobilizations on the Internet. Sociological Research Online, 15(2).

Brown, P. et al. (Eds.). (2011). Contested Illnesses: Citizens, Science, and Health Social Movements. Berkeley, CA: Univ of California Press.

Callon, M. (2008). Economic Markets and the Rise of Interactive Agencements: From Prosthetic Agencies to Habilitated Agencies. In T. Pinch & R. Swedberg (Eds.), Living in a Material World: Economic Sociology meets Science and Technology Studies (pp. 29–56). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Callon, M., Lascoumes, P., & Barthe, Y. (2011). Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy. (G. Burchell, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Callon, M., & Rabeharisoa, V. (2008). The Growing Engagement of Emergent Concerned Groups in Political and Economic Life: Lessons from the French Association of Neuromuscular Disease Patients. Science, Technology & Human Values, 33(2), 230–261.

Callon, M. et al. (2013). Sociologie des agencements marchands : Textes choisis. Paris: Presses de l’École de Mines.

Estalella, A. & Sánchez Criado, T. (Eds.) (2017). Experimental collaborations: Ethnography through fieldwork devices. Oxford: Berghahn.

Muehlebach, A. (2012). The Moral Neoliberal: Welfare and Citizenship in Italy. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.

Murphy, M. (2012). Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Entanglements of Feminism, Health, and Technoscience. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Murphy, M. (2006). Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Pazos, Á. (2008). El otro como sí-mismo. Observaciones antropológicas sobre las tecnologías de la subjetividad. In T. Sánchez Criado (Ed.), Tecnogénesis. La construcción técnica de las ecologías humanas (Vol. 2, pp. 145–166). Madrid: Antropólogos Iberoamericanos en Red.

Rabeharisoa, V., Moreira, T., & Akrich, M. (2014). Evidence-based activism: Patients’, users’ and activists’ groups in knowledge society. BioSocieties, 9(2), 111–128.

Sánchez Criado, T., Rodríguez-Giralt, I., & Mencaroni, A. (2016). Care in the (critical) making. Open prototyping, or the radicalisation of independent-living politics. ALTER – European Journal of Disability Research / Revue Européenne de Recherche Sur Le Handicap, 10(2016), 24–39.

Sánchez Criado, T., & Cereceda, M. (2016). Urban accessibility issues: Technoscientific democratizations at the documentation interface. City, 20(4), 611–628.

Sánchez Criado, T., & Rodríguez-Giralt, I. (2016). Caring through Design?: En torno a la silla and the “Joint Problem-Making” of Technical Aids. In C. Bates, R. Imrie, & K. Kullman (Eds.), Care and Design: Bodies, Buildings, Cities (pp. 200–220). Oxford: Wiley.

Shakespeare, T. (2006). Disability Rights and Wrongs. London: Routledge.

Werner, D. (Ed.). (1998). Nothing About Us Without Us: Developing Innovative Technologies For, By, and With Disabled Persons. Palo Alto, CA: Health Wrights.

MCTS, TU Munich – Research Colloquium: ‘Tinkering with care’

Tutorial rampa portátil, En torno a la silla CC BY NC SA 2015

On Tuesday, 25 Oct 2016, Dr. Tomás S. Criado (MCTS) will give a talk on “Tinkering with care: Austere experiments with alternative welfare infrastructures” at the MCTS (TU Munich) Research Colloquium.

The event will take place at MCTS, Augustenstr. 46, seminar room 270 and start at 5:00 pm.

The MCTS Research Colloquium is designed to present recent Science and Technology Studies projects as well as to stimulate discussion on the various research activities by MCTS scholars and their guests.

**

Abstract for the talk

Once considered the primary institutional expression of care in the global North, the Welfare State and its infrastructures are now under great strains. Apart from neoliberal attempts at streamlining ‘the social’, different versions of Welfare across Europe have also been contested by disability rights movements due to their articulation around ‘dependence’. In this presentation, I will show a particular set of experiments at tinkering with such articulations of care and citizenship in particularly ‘austere’ times. Indeed, I will reflect on the practices I have been studying ethnographically in the past years in Spain, involving activist self-management or auto-fabrication of self-care devices by independent-living collectives. This is a response to both recent legal developments, the inadequacy of standardized market products, the increasing lack of funds, and the cracks in the public services, such as the system of provision of technical aids–a particular care regime I will generically refer to as ‘the catalogue’. As part of my involvement with different collectives tinkering, in their own idiom, with care arrangements, I will narrate the collaborative design practices and the strategies of different independent-living activists and engaged professionals attempting to bring into existence alternative and more caring forms of envisioning, materializing and valuing these arrangements. In sheer contrast with the state/corporate expert-based ‘catalogue’ of products and services, tinkering with care for these groups entails engaging in austere and fragile self-experimental design practices where alternative epistemic, economic and political ‘regimes of co-production’ (experience-based, collaborative, and self-produced) are tested and demonstrated. In describing this, I will not only try to ethnographically take issue with the understandings of welfare ‘otherwise’ they bring to the fore, but also with how they might help us address, in a more vernacular light, the different notions of care being developed recently in STS.

CISP, Goldsmiths – ‘The New Experimentalisms’ workshop

CISP-Goldsmiths

I will be presenting the introduction to the forthcoming book ‘Experimental collaborations: Ethnography through fieldwork devices‘ (co-edited with Adolfo Estalella) at the The New Experimentalisms, a one day workshop at CISP/Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London

Tuesday September 20th 2016, 10-5pm

Room RHB 137a

Organized by Michael Guggenheim, Dan Neyland, Alex Wilkie

Recent Science and Technology Studies (STS) work on experiments has provided a basis for rethinking the terms, practices and consequences of experimentation. This has opened up opportunities to question, for example, experimental controls, provocative containments, training and professional practice. This work has also broadened the traditional STS focus on scientific laboratories to also include economic, social scientific and commercial experimentation, exploring new territories of experimentation and their attendant means of reproducing the world.

At the same time, scholars in STS, Sociology, Anthropology and Design have pursued experiments not just as an object of study, but also as something to do. Here we find, for example, experiments with algorithmic walks, expertise and issues. An earlier critique of experiments as artificial and interventionist has given way to a new embracing of material staging of situations and problems.

Social researchers have come to acknowledge we can learn precisely because of the non-naturalism of experiments. Experiments have become legitimate forms to intervene in the world, and to invent new worlds.  In this way STS scholars have begun to think again about the realities in which they participate. In this workshop we will feature recent experimenters within STS with scholars who have analysed experiments in specific fields.

 

Programme

10.00: Welcome

10.15-11.30: Pelle Ehn (Design, Malmö):

democratic design experiments (in the small)

Commentator: Kim Kullmann (Sociology, Goldmsiths) 

11.45-1pm: Tomás Sánchez Criado (STS, Munich):

The Ethnographic Experiment, Revisited: Experimental Collaborations, or the ‘Devicing’ of Fieldwork for Joint Problem-Making

Commentator: Isaac Marrero-Guillamón (Anthropology, Goldsmiths)

1pm – 2pm: lunch

2pm-3.15pm: Claire Waterton (Sociology, Lancaster):

An Experimental Collective: Working Through Modalities and the Enrichment of Land and Water

Commentator: Jennifer Gabrys (Sociology, Goldsmiths) 

3.30pm-4.45pm: Tobias Bornakke Jørgensen (Sociology, Copenhagen):

Sensing Data: The Emergence of Sensor-Based Experiments in the Social Sciences

Commentator: Noortje Marres (Interdisciplinary Methodologies, Warwick).

Urban accessibility issues: Technoscientific democratizations at the documentation interface

 

Picture CC BY Maria José Agüero

Carrers per a tothom demonstration, Barcelona, 14 March 2015 CC BY M.J. Agüero

As part of a special feature in the journal CITY edited by Ignacio Farías and Anders Blok on “Technical democracy as a challenge for urban studies”, Marcos Cereceda and I are publishing this article on accessibility struggles in Barcelona and their documentation interfaces.

CITY, 2016 VOL. 20, NO. 4, pp. 619-636, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13604813.2016.1194004

Abstract

After many struggles from disability rights and independent-living advocates, urban accessibility has gradually become a concern for many urban planners across post-industrial countries. In this paper, based on ethnographic fieldwork studies in Barcelona working with urban accessibility professionals and activists, we argue for the importance of the ‘documentation interfaces’ created in their struggles: that is, the relational processes to collaboratively build multi-media accounts in a diversity of formats seeking to enforce different translations of bodily needs into specific urban accessibility arrangements. In discussion with the asymmetries that the ongoing expertization of accessibility might be opening up, we would like to foreground these apparently irrelevant practices as an interesting site to reflect on how urban accessibility struggles might allow us to rethink the project of technical democracy and its applications to urban issues. Two cases are analyzed: (1) the creation of Streets for All, a platform to contest and to sensitize technicians and citizens alike of the problems of ‘shared streets’ for the blind and partially sighted led by the Catalan Association for the Blind; and (2) the organization of the Tinkerthon, a DIY and open-source hardware workshop boosted by En torno a la silla to facilitate the creation of a network of tinkerers seeking to self-manage accessibility infrastructures. These cases not only bring to the fore different takes on the democratization of the relations between technical professionals and disability rights advocates, but also offer different approaches to the politics of universals in the design of urban accessibility arrangements.

Journal’s website (free PDF access)

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Care in the (critical) making: Open prototyping, or the radicalisation of independent-living politics

ETS

New article forthcoming in Alter – European Journal of Disability research, Revue européenne de recherche sur le handicap 10 (2016), pp. 24-39 (Special issue on Care & Disability, edited by E. Fillion, M. Winance, A. Damamme).

Care in the (critical) making: Open prototyping, or the radicalisation of independent-living politics

Written in collaboration with Israel Rodríguez Giralt & Arianna Mencaroni

ABSTRACT

In this paper we reflect empirically on some collective attempts at intervening the ways in which care for and by disabled people is being devised and carried out in Spain in austerity times. We highlight the novelties and challenges of the way in which these projects seek to tackle the current crisis of care through different forms of self-fabrication of ‘open’ and ‘low cost’ technical aids. We analyse them as forms of ‘critical making’ expanding the repertoire of independent-living and disabled people’s rights politics to the experimentation with technological production. Through the deployment of an empirical example of the prototyping process by the Barcelona-based activist design collective En torno a la silla we show how open prototyping constitutes a major challenge for the radicalisation of the independent-living movement’s precepts of control and choice, displaying the matter of care arrangements and making available its transformation.
KEYWORDS
Care; arrangements; independent living; critical making; prototypes

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This research is part of an ongoing and very interesting discussion on careful design practices with our En torno a la silla mates (Alida Díaz, Antonio Centeno, Marga Alonso, Núria Gómez, Rai Vilatovà & Xavi Duacastilla) as well as the very nice people we have learnt to think with in the construction of its interactive documentary. To name but a few: Alma Orozco, Joaquim Fonoll, Mario Toboso, Carlos ‘Txarlie’ Tomás, Montse García and the Functional Diversity Commission at Acampada Sol. These ideas have also been extremely well taken care of and re-elaborated in the course of discussions and passionate politico-ethnographical reflections on design and care with Adolfo Estalella, Asun Pie, Blanca Callén, Carla Boserman, Daniel López, Jara Rocha, Jaron Rowan, Marcos Cereceda, Manuel Tironi & Miriam Arenas.

FUNDING

This work was supported by the Spanish National R&D Programme 2012-2014, Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness under the research project: Expertise, Democracy and Social Mobilisation (EXPDEM): The Political Action of Groups Concerned with the Promotion of Independent-Living in Spain(CSO2011-29749-C02-02); and the Alliance 4 Universities postdoctoral grant for Tomás Sánchez Criado’s individual project A study of participatory and collaborative design experiences of care and independent-living technologies(ExPart, Oct. 2012- Oct. 2014).

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