Urban Ethnography – Technoecologies of care. Final presentations

A202 and A200

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Taking technoecologies of care in (hard or soft) urban infrastructure as a starting point, the Urban Ethnography course (tutors: Agata Marzecova and Hanna Husberg) uses ethnographic strategies to make perceptible interdisciplinary phenomena that cannot be described from a disciplinary perspective. During the course the participants are encouraged to develop collaborative research projects that explore boundary approaches to ethnography by critically employing creative and artistic research methods in the research process, as well as for conveying their research results.

Whereas ecology can be understood as a science of relatedness between things, beings and processes that make up urban nature or urban space, technoecologies allows an analysis of the entanglement of technologies and natures, and draws attention to how the materialisation of nature is always and already a mediated phenomenon. Subsequently, addressing care through its technoecologies allows for a prism through which human, non-human and technological elements are treated not as separate entities but as interrelated aspects of care, maintenance and repair.

The finals will start at 14:00 with four group presentations by students (abstracts below). This will be followed by a presentation starting at 17.30 by our external reviewer, Swedish-Brazilian artist, researcher, writer and Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication Studies at Södertörn University (Stockholm), Isabel Löfgren. Lögfgren often works in collaboration with artistic collectives and art institutions considering issues in visual, gender, social and environmental justice and her research interests include cultural politics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of migration and diaspora in the fields of contemporary art, media philosophy, and media activism.

Facebook event can be found HERE.

Pimp my bike

By Martina Maria Semenzato, Leonardo Improta , Paul Jochen Simon

As our project, we transformed the “simple” act of fixing a bicycle into an introspective investigation of the concept of care and its implications. Within a few weeks, we collaboratively tried to bring life into a neglected two-wheeler. In all repairing sessions we took time for self-reflection, retracing the steps, thoughts and actions performed. By this, we tried to dig out the underlying patterns that are connected to our doing. Analysing the process brought up several challenges and questions. Is fixing the bike an act of care that we do towards the object, or towards ourselves? How are gender roles manifested in our actions? Can you break something as an act of maintenance? Is it necessary to receive care in order to perform an act of care? Is the concept of care an act of pure altruism, completely unrelated to any kind of end or return? Are we doing this project merely out of selfishness aimed at completing an assigned task to get a grade? What does care mean for us? Finally, the reflections were transformed into a video installation that will be displayed this Friday.

(No) More Stretch Please – Manifesto for (In)Flexibility

By Paula Kristiāna Veidenbauma, Jannik Kastrup, Luca Liese Ritter

We have a problem. At the Estonian Academy of Arts, a room can become an exhibition hall, a hallway can be turned into a conference center, any of the concrete walls—into galleries, waiting for the next vernissage to start. The architecture of EKA’s new building bears unending potential imaginaries, designed as always hybrid, always adaptable, and ever-changing. But how much space is left for flexibility in the program designs? And how does it show in the program implementation? Does the immaterial system behind the space provide a flexible support mechanism for students when in need or is flexibility ultimately a false promise, disguising flaws within the university’s structure?

The project examines the relationship between the flexible-oh-so-flexible working environment and culture at the university and the systematic framework of program structures at the EKA Faculty of Architecture. Grounded in our own experience, observations and private stories of students, at times faced with the limits of the flexibility, The Manifesto for (In)Flexibility is both an attempt to gain visibility of the invisible sufferings at an institution deeply grounded within the landscape of neoliberal academia, as well as a manual on how to resist the institutional normalisation of overworking. Presented in a form of a performative reading, the project includes movement practices addressing space exploration, testing the limits of the flexibility of one’s body and those of the space, thinking, where would they meet.

the door stop

By Nora Soo, Kush Badhwar, Khadeeja Farrukh

The new building for the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA), made amongst the remains of an old textile factory, was opened for use in 2018. The ground for a newer EKA building is being prepared behind the current building. A new green sign, with the signature EKA typeface was erected to mark this site within the last week.

Part of the process of envisioning, designing and producing new and newer EKA buildings, is the narrativisation and historicisation of these sites, most visibly undertaken as marketing materials, often to attract new students to the university. the door stopis a zine that seeks to broaden narrativisation and historicisation of EKA through the observation, documentation, story-telling and imaginations of the building from the student perspective, with particular attention to use, care, appropriation, resistance, creative misuse, image-based intervention and other forms that fall outside of the intentions of the architect(s) and hegemony of the institution.

Composed of photography, text and sketches, the door stop, though limited to the perspective of three students, hopes to document the overlooked and the ephemeral; foster care, interest and engagement in the space amongst students + their future generations; and to possibly influence change in the production of further EKA buildings.

Looking for Action

By Christian Hörner, Paulina Schroeder, Nabeel Imtiaz

Techno-Ecologies of Care emerge throughout the entanglements between the courier, his mobile phone, the car, the food, and many other things, affording moments of caring for and about in this system of provision of life-sustaining matter. Our project tries to present illuminating documentation of the everyday work of a bolt food courier. These urban workers are often invisible, working under a highly neoliberal regime of platform capitalism. Also, they are directly exposed to novel algorithmic means which manage their routes and govern the relationship between couriers, restaurants, and customers which make up the urban space of food delivery. Our video emerged out of the empirical practice of participant observation and represents a methodical mixture of interview/conversation and active participation in the process of food delivery. We aim to shed light on the internalities of food delivery in the sense of capturing the potentially boring details of everydayness as proposed by Susan Leigh Star in her essay “The Ethnography of Infrastructure”.


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Posted by Kaija-Luisa Kurik

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