Digital Civil Society

Aesthetics & Technics between Prefiguration and Revolution working group


International Working Group                                                                                                                            

Aesthetics & Technics between Prefiguration and Revolution

Jessica Feldman, Julia Ramírez-Blanco



Research in Science and Technology Studies often critiques the ways in which social bias (Umoja Noble) and political values (Winner) inscribe themselves in technological design, very often reifying power from sites of economic and political advantage. On the other side, social movement studies and art historians have spoken of “disobedient objects” (Grindon) to describe those processes of invention that take place in contexts of social struggle. This group aims to combine these fields and viewpoints, starting from the notion that there is a dialectical relationship between social change and creative innovation. 

This interdisciplinary research and working group therefore studies technological and aesthetic invention in social movements and collectives, as well as their forms of self-representation. It does so by understanding that the prefiguration of other possible worlds and the implementation of revolution do not have clear borders -- nor does the line between art and design. 

In its first phase, the group will focus on the EU and MENA regions, building networks with local practitioners and theorists, and fostering a program of public activities and transnational exchanges. Case studies will be introduced in a global repository of responses to the current (and future) democratic and ecological crises. The Aesthetics & Technics group analyzes these as models for other ways of thinking design, creativity, and forms of collective living outside of industrial contexts.