Message posted on 22/02/2024

Event Series - Patching the World: On Cultures of Techno-solutionism in Art, Politics and Environmental Justice

[image: Patching the World social.jpg]

Dear all,

Please join us for the first in a series of four online talks entitled ‘Patching the World: On Cultures of Techno-solutionism in Art, Politics and Environmental justice’ co-hosted by Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research and Lifeworlds Research Cluster in Art, Design and Ecology.

We’re delighted to have Professor Becky Shaw kicking off the series with ‘The Leak, the Draught, and the Glow: Getting inside the spaces of the techno-fix and daily practice’ on Tuesday 27th Feb, 4-5pm. For a full bio and abstract please see below.

To register and receive a zoom link please scan the QR code on the poster or click through to the following page:

Best wishes,

Theo Reeves-Evison and Kirsten Forkert


The Leak, the Draught, and the Glow: Getting inside the spaces of the techno-fix and daily practice


When thinking about the concept of the environmental techno-fix it is exemplified (in my mind at least) by digital envisioning materials replete with abstractions of natural and human relationships, smooth surfaces, friction-less fluids and labour-free lives. These are well understood as seductive objects of rhetoric, finance and politics, distance from the experiences of anyone who engages with technology ‘on the ground’ in production, construction or use. However, the relationship is not distinct, as vision and ideals are carried in our daily practices, as if like chlorine in water. Getting ‘inside’ the space between visions and experience is vital, to avoid either foreclosing valuable technological change, or imposing change that is destructive, ineffective, unfair or refused. In the following I will explore how artistic practice research offers a capacity to explore this ‘space’ through material engagement. This will include exploring projects that literally seek to get ‘inside’ encounters with water infrastructure (the meter and the geophone), with architectural practice (the material ‘joint’ and window frame) and inside our experiences of radiant home heating. Across these I will reflect on how artistic focus and ‘play’ with the scale, space, time and materiality of our technological services can build a shared space of encounter and critical reflection.

Speaker Bio:

Becky Shaw is an artist and Professor in Fine Art Practice at Birmingham City University. She makes live, collaborative artworks that examine the tension between individuals, environment, tools and social structures, often in institutions of 'public good' including healthcare, education, utilities and work. Artworks have been commissioned by organisations including City of Calgary Water Services, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, Age Concern, Guys and St Thomas Hospital and with arts organisations including Hayward Gallery, Walsall Art Gallery, Sainsbury Centre, Amstelveen Art Incentive Prize and Ar/Ge Kunst Bolzano. A series of interdisciplinary funded research projects involve making artworks and leading teams of other artists, generating fruitful methodological exploration and growing communities of interest and engagement. This currently includes working with energy researchers to explore heating transition in Romania, Finland, Sweden and the UK (CHANSE fund, 2022), and with cultures of childhood researchers to explore children's experiences of institutions (AHRC 2018, and AHRC exhibition fund with Manchester Art Gallery, 2023). Becky led Sheffield Hallam University's art and design PhD programme, and staff mentoring cluster Social and Cultural Narratives, while Reader in Fine Art (until 2023) and co-lead art and architecture project Static, Liverpool, in the 2000s.

Dr. Theo Reeves-Evison (He/him) Senior Lecturer in Theoretical and Contextual Studies Birmingham School of Art Birmingham City University

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