7th May 2019: Automation and Me: symposium

I admit I have not really thought about automation in relation to my own work but as I listened to the first panel (performance and automation) it brought out some things to think about. Firstly, building instructions for structures for automation as an act of defining boundaries and setting rules. This made me think about the digital systems I build, about how I decide the limits and rules, how I need to make my systems intuitive for non-specialists and about how, even though you design with a certain use mind, there will be unexpected use – I am reminded that you can make no assumptions nor dictate how something is experienced. I think it is all about how restrictive or prescriptive I make my systems…

I was also interested in the discussion around technology as an independent agent vs technology as a tool – how the use of automatic systems can potentially provide space and time for improvisation, and the discussion around how technology is performed, with a particular exploration in terms of women performing and how that is perceived and challenged.

Some of these themes were further explored in my own panel on craft, labour, gender and automation. We talked about collective making and informal skills sharing, and I was keen to draw parallels with hacking/ making – how through collaborative and collective making we are disrupting and creating spaces for ourselves. And we obviously talked about the links between textiles and computing, creating e-textiles etc.

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