Toward Feminist and Queer Technologies: Critical Workshops for Unpacking Expertise and Skill-sharing Tactics with Ellen K Foster
Toward Feminist and Queer Technologies: Critical Workshops for Unpacking Expertise and Skill-sharing Tactics with Ellen K Foster

All workshops will be at the Pence Gallery (212 D St., Davis,) in the Learning Center (Second floor).

Within maker and hacker cultures, workshops and informal skill-shares are a way to distribute knowledge, expertise, practices, and often help to build a sense of community. They also become a format in which to solidify ‘best’ practices and the expected ways to build Do It Yourself (DIY) technologies and prototypes. But what kind of knowledge might be produced when leading workshops that problematize or unpack the types of skills shared, how they are shared, who is involved, and what is considered ‘best’ practice and why? By using the workshop as a form of inquiry, we will enact experimental methods that allow analysis of dialogue, which opens during material praxis (Foster 2015). The intention is to de-center one, ‘best,’ way of doing things and to acknowledge the importance of many diverse and situated knowledges among community members and in relation to environment, tools, materials, and diverse experiences.

The intentions of this workshop follow from feminist and visionary science fiction, deep listening, and speculative design toward enacting a utopian (re)making of the world through a lens of maintenance, feminism, dialogue, and slow process. It also stems from various electronic waste workshops that play around with different forms of use, appropriations of technology, and the building of new or alternative infrastructures through unpacking the embedded politics of technology and technological knowledge. Modes of interaction will include story-telling, collective mapping, embodied sensing for interacting with technology, open skill sharing, and visionary writing/drawing/making. We will deconstruct the skill of soldering via a workshop for building sound devices toward new experiences of materiality. Concurrently and throughout we will discuss and unpack the skills we are sharing and projects we are enacting in thinking about consumerism, race, gender, socioeconomic class, (dis)ability, the politics of care, values other than efficiency for producing technology, how to define community, etc.

Foster, Ellen. 2015. “Critical Workshopping: The Contact Microphone.” Hyperrhiz 12.

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