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Locating Technology: Participatory Economics

Today from our partners at Art Practical, we bring you the latest installment of Genevieve Quick‘s Locating Technology column, which explores “the evolution of technology and its effects on artists’ processes, disciplinarity, and the larger social context of media creation, dispersal, access, and interactivity.” This column was originally published on February 12, 2014.

Bernie Lubell. A Theory of Entanglement (Detail of knitting after two days), 2009; pine, maple, rubber rope, black poly cord, and music wire; 32 x 40 x 60 ft. Courtesy of the Artist.

Bernie Lubell. A Theory of Entanglement (detail of knitting after two days), 2009; pine, maple, rubber rope, black poly cord, and music wire; 32 x 40 x 60 ft. Courtesy of the Artist.

The trajectory of history suggests that increased opportunities for individuals to engage in art and technology facilitates or represents egalitarianism and innovation, i.e., that greater participation is a social, cultural, or technological good. With today’s unprecedented levels of interactivity, the “Facebook Revolutions,” and the constant bombardment of “smart technologies,” status updates, and GIFs both affirm and challenge this paradigm. In contrast to escalating high-tech interactive solutions, some decidedly low-tech and DIY projects provide simple routes to participation and economic consciousness-raising. For example, Bernie Lubell’s interactive wooden contraption A Theory of Entanglement (2009) operates as a physically interactive diagram of capitalism. Additionally, Packard Jennings’s website Destructables (2011–present) aggregates and distributes DIY projects that interrupt corporate marketing campaigns at the local retail level. While lighthearted, Lubell and Jennings use technology to facilitate participation with sharp critique while viewers engage in learning, teaching, exploring, and challenging their roles in the economic system.

Read the full article here.

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