Category: Writing

Writing

Studies in Sortation

Amazon is a hybrid company, equal parts Walmart and FedEx. Like all great retailers of the modern moment, it is an outsized presence masking the hundreds–thousands–of individuals using its infrastructure to build business behind house labels and simplified searches. But it is distribution that girds the company’s foundation and prefigures its future. In this respect, […]

Writing

Supply Studies Studio

It was my pleasure this month to visit the Portuguese island of Madeira and organize an intensive workshop for HCI, Design, and Computer Science MS and PhD students at M-ITI interested in exploring topics in&emdash;and developing interventions for&emdash;supply studies. Now that we’ve wrapped up, I thought I would put some of the summary information here […]

Writing

Sleight of Hand

I recently came across an interesting post Andrew James Myers produced as part of his participation in Henry Jenkin’s PhD seminar on Public Intellectuals. Myers writes about the visual representations Apple deploys to narrate that consummate object of modern consumption, the iPhone. As Myers writes: Apple’s recent release of two new iPhone models — the […]

Writing

Little Mesters

The most meaningful realization about working on the history of production is seeing how ragged and disjoint it can be. Rather than a smooth flow toward anonymous production, we see not only pockets of alternative modes that persisted long into the present, but moments where these alternatives seemed positioned to retake the future of production. […]

Writing

Supply Chain Epistemologies

This is the first part of an epistemology of production talk I gave at the “Unseen Connections in the Ecologies of Cell Phones” meeting at the NMNH. Phone People Surreptitiously captured on phones, laptops, and cameras are unauthorized images belying the status of those devices as mass manufactured objects of consumption, a disjuncture between the […]

Writing

Stuff Books

I’ve just gotten through Pamela Long’s Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance (it might be available for you here, depending on your institutional access, otherwise to get the figures you are better off getting a print copy). Given how long its been out, and how closely […]

Writing

Follow the Things

In Arjun Appadurai’s introduction to The Social Life of Things, he noted that one of the aims of the essay was to “justify the conceit that commodities, like persons, have social lives.” Thirty years later, this conceit has become widespread. Projects like Follow the Things not only embrace but extend the premise by demonstrating that […]