CFP: WILFUL TECHNOLOGIES - Design, technology, feminism
A publishing experiment on feminism + technology + design
by Madeline Balaam (KTH, Sweden) & Lone Koefoed Hansen (Aarhus University, Denmark)
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS (1st Feb 2018 DEADLINE)
Technologies affect the bodies and lives with which they interweave. Designing for a plurality of bodies, designing to create positive impact for marginalised groups, and also designing for feminism, advocacy and activism, all sit on the fringe of mainstream research and design. In part, because the need for technologies and design in these areas is not widely recognised, and in part it might be because such a focus is often understood as contentious or political.
‘Wilful Technologies’ is a publishing experiment on feminism + technology + design. In its broadest sense, designed artefacts and systems can help us understand aspects of the world that are otherwise hard to grasp. However, we have struggled to find artefacts, systems, objects, and designs that offer us ways of thinking about how contemporary digital culture could work in wilful ways, challenging the heteronormative, conservative values which currently prevail. We need a repository, a collection, a place for people to look when they want to think.
We seek submissions from designers, artists, hackers and makers that explore how digital technologies, design, and feminism come together to create new perspectives on technology. With this, we wish to inspire others and we want it to be a fun and quick way for designers, artists, and researchers to share their digital design, electronic art, or research.
We are looking for projects that work from a feminist point of view, be it intersectional, critical, or political. In other words, projects that work with marginalised individuals, groups, or topics, that purposely expose heteronormative ideals and privileges, or that in other ways aim to question the trajectories offered by mainstream perspectives. For instance, the current political and social climate impacts on reproductive rights, on women’s rights, on how people of colour are singled out by automated surveillance systems, and on making healthcare available to those with limited funds. We know there are many in our communities who want to resist, protest and undermine our current political and social climate.
We may need a voice away from the institutions where we usually publish and share our research, design and thinking, so that our voices are not watered down, or sanitised. Taking inspiration from Garnet Hertz's ‘Critical Making’ zine projects, including the excellent ‘Disobedient Electronics’, the purpose is to create a zine based publication from these submissions. And then get it out into the world. Quickly.
We need cases that take a stand and that illustrate how technologies, bodies, and lives can intersect in other ways than what mainstream developers offer. Cases that engage with issues of gender, race, privileges. Cases where a marginalised perspective on the world is given agency and a voice, be it women’s health, gender-fluidity, or bodily taboos. Cases that expose and exploit normalised agendas through technology. We want these cases to be able to start conversations, be provocative and speculate on many potential trajectories for the design of technology, especially those that break with contemporary techno-determinist ideas found in many projects from the dominant tech-centers in the world. We need good examples of how designers, artists, technologists, researchers propose systems and artefacts that respond to the plurality of lived experiences, health, and the body. We want to be able to showcase designs that serve to promote inclusion and intersectional issues as well as technologies that combat harassment, inequalities, and racism.
Are you with us? Are you ready to be wilful?
If so, we ask you to create a short informal submission (1-3 pages) which describes (in whatever way you chose) historical, current, and published projects, through to new ideas. It could be as photos, sketches, collages, instructions, source-code, or schematics – but the focus should be on explaining the artefacts. The work must relate to digital culture, for instance through incorporating electronics, digital platforms, software or digital hardware. You can submit other people’s work with their consent, and you can submit more than one thing. Submit it to Madeline (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Lone (email@example.com)
WILL MY PROJECT FIT THIS CALL?
As a context, projects like these would fit as “Wilful Technologies”:
Conversational agents which rebut sexual harassment from users.
A smart home and digital service which distributes salary payments based on occupants’ contributions to housework and childcare.
Projects that engage with the histories of computing in which women and minorities were often marginalised.
Designs that address (marginalised) women's (lack of) access to menstruation and reproductive technologies and services.
Projects that engage with gender issues, be they cis-, trans-, non-, or other(?).
HOW WILL IT BE PUBLISHED?
In a similar spirit to Garnet Hertz’ zine publishing projects (see http://conceptlab.com/), we will produce the finished publication in a zine-like format. Like Hertz, we plan on giving away the handmade publications to libraries, collections, and people that may have something to add to the conversation.
A while after the first edition is completed and distributed as hardcopy, we will put the repository online and if someone is interested in publishing it, it may be formatted into a book that is sold commercially.
So – consider contributing something by February 1st 2018, and in exchange we will do our best to do something interesting with it. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about whether your work fits into this project, and please forward this to people that might have something useful to contribute. Submit to Madeline (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Lone (email@example.com)
Thanks for reading and listening. We hope to see your work.