P13
Encountering living things through technology

Convenors:
Andrew Whitehouse (University of Aberdeen)
Victoria Mason (University of Oxford)
Location:
Room 3
Start time:
15 September, 2011 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Human encounters with other living things are frequently mediated through technologies. We aim to explore the role of technology in inter-species meetings in a wide variety of contexts and to consider its effects on how non-humans are perceived, understood, utilised and given meaning.

Long abstract:

Human encounters with other living things are frequently mediated through technologies. In this panel we aim to explore the role of technology in inter-species meetings and to consider the effects that it has on how non-humans are perceived, understood, utilised and given meaning. These technologies could affect what can be perceived (e.g. optics, scientific detectors), record what is encountered so that it can travel into new contexts (e.g. cameras, sound recorders), transform data so that it might be used in novel ways (e.g. software), or alter the dynamics of the encounter itself (e.g. weapons, harnesses). How can technologies reveal non-humans whose liveliness has existed beyond our sensory perceptions or disclose new aspects of living things? How does this initiate new processes of learning and challenge traditional forms of expertise? Successful enrolment of technologies in inter-species encounters may assist in making non-humans present, but how faithful is this presence and what losses or enhancements occur through translation? Furthermore, in a Latourian sense how might technologies bring together humans and non-humans in collectives and what ethical imperatives should inform new interactions? We seek papers that explore such encounters in a wide variety of historical and contemporary activities and circumstances, including, but not limited to, scientific research, agriculture, wildlife viewing, conservation, gardening and the media. We particularly encourage papers that consider the effects that introducing technologies into new social and ecological contexts has on encounters with non-humans.