[iDC] Re: iDC Digest, Vol 22, Issue 12

Kevin Hamilton kham at uiuc.edu
Wed Aug 16 10:32:20 EDT 2006

I agree Saul, we have to be careful of that - it's why I usually try to 
refer to our use of technologies, rather than the technologies 
themselves. I should be more watchful of that in this thread.

But as illustrated in Eric's post (and in what sounds like some 
interesting scholarship), new technologies are presented to us within 
specific programs of use. If Kodak introduces the camera as a new way of 
documenting family vacations, it doesn't mean we can't use it to 
document police brutality. But is lack of creativity the only reason why 
some people only get their cameras out during holidays? Marketing is 
influential, if not deterministic, and surely contributes to perceptions 
of right and wrong use. These delineations are made increasingly 
explicit through  copyright and intellectual property law. In light of 
such delineations, sometimes the good or helpful new application of a 
technology is first framed as mis-use instead of as a constructive 
instrument. De-contextualized transgression takes precedent over function.

Related to Tobias' post, it seems that hacking can get easily absorbed 
into economies of innovation - a publication like Make is helpful in 
making our tech more available, transparent, but sometimes the 
transgressive thrill of misuse obscures questions of agency. In other 
words, we may not know what we're really DOING with some newly hacked or 
transformed tool, but at least we're doing something we're not supposed 
to do. (New Media as an episode of South Park?)


Saul Ostrow wrote:
> I'm sorry - but this  thread is getting to0 mechanistic (instrumental)and too
> topological - what role does agency play in this - how might we order technology rather
> than having it order our possibilities? thisis a question that does not get asked often
> because the claim is that we and technology are always already circumscribed by
> capitalist commodification - which appears to me to be an essentialist argument leaving
> little or no room for creativity or idealism - but merely an over determined reactive logic

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