Alf Hornborg: Machines as Machinations. Rethinking the Ontology of Technology

von Kilian Jörg featuring Alf Hornborg

“I am very happy to announce that – with the kind support of the Arts&Science Department of the University of Applied Arts and Im_flieger – I managed to invite a particularly interesting ecological polymath and thinker to Vienna. He is still mostly unknown in the germanophone world, but ever since I encountered him, I am thrilled with his concepts and am sure I will not be the only one. His way of understanding technology as a vehicle of (material and human) inequalities is extremely inspiring and helps to think of new politics that combine classically understood “leftist” agendas with “green” or “ecological” ones.


In Alf Hornborgs view technological progress is not so much a matter of ingenious and innocent breakthroughs in engineering as of devising new and profitable systems for displacing work and environmental pressures to other populations and geographical areas. The essential rationale of globalized technological systems is thus as inextricably connected to societal injustices as slavery or serfdom. Hornborg´s political scope enables to better understand how social and environmental problems are inherently connected.”

Kilian Jörg

“Machines as Machinations. Rethinking the Ontology of Technology,”
Lecture held on 24th of April 2017 at Depot Vienna

“Technological infrastructures developed in wealthier parts of the world are products
of accumulation based on asymmetric global flows of biophysical resources from less affluent areas. Technological progress, in this view, is not so much a matter of ingenious and innocent breakthroughs in engineering as of devising new and profitable systems for displacing work and environmental pressures to other populations and geographical
areas. This, I argue, is the essential rationale of globalized technological systems: rather than an index of generalized human progress – the pure, transcendent knowledge epitomized by the myth of Prometheus – technology since the Industrial Revolution is fundamentally an arrangement for redistributing resources in global society. Modern
technology requires not just ingenuity and specialized knowledge, but also global discrepancies in market prices. It is thus as inextricably connected to societal injustices as slavery or serfdom.”

Alf Hornborg

 

Workshop held on on the 25th of April 2017 at imflieger Vienna

Chair: Kilian Jörg, Bernd
Kraeftner

Invitation by the Art & Science master’s programme, University of Applied Arts Vienna, in context of the lecture series “Natura Naturans: In the woods” (http://artscience.uni-ak.ac.at/); In cooperation with Im_flieger/Vienna, in context of the transmedia research project STOFFWECHSEL – Ecologies of Collaboration, with differently involved artists and theoreticians, experimenting with structural and artistic entanglements. www.stffwchsl.net


Alf Hornborg
is Professor of Human Ecology at Lund University since 1993. He received his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Uppsala in 1986 and has taught at Uppsala and at the University of Gothenburg. He has done field research in Peru, Nova Scotia, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Brazil. His primary research interest is the cultural and
political dimensions of human-environmental relations in past and present societies, particularly from the perspective of world-system analysis. This has led him to explore various perspectives not only from anthropology but also from trans-disciplinary fields such as environmental history, ecological economics, political ecology, and development studies. The central ambition has been to examine how specific cultural assumptions constrain human approaches to economics, technology, and ecology, and how such assumptions tend to serve as ideologies that reproduce social relations of power.

 

Kilian Jörg arbeitet an den multimedialen Schnittstellen zwischen Philosophie und Kunst. Hierfür bedient er sich des Ausdrucks von Text genauso wie von Installation, Performance und Musik. Er arbeitet als DJ, ist Gründer des Kollektivs philosophy unbound und ist in Wien, Berlin und Brüssel tätig. Sein Hauptforschungsgebiet ist jenes der ökologischen Epistemologie.

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