Category: Writing

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

The Meaning of “Made in.”

At different scales, and within unique (and sometimes conflicting) patterns of discourse, individual perceptions of the system of global production have become a tangled snarl of impossible imaginings. For the consuming public, the origin of things are written in the labels they wear, the companies, brands, and individuals known to organize their assembly, and, often, […]

Writing

OUMIs (Object, Utensil, Machine or Installation)

The Government wishes to inform members of the public that the faults and defects in certain objects, utensils, machines, and installations (OUMIs, in abbreviated form) that have become increasingly common in recent months, are being scrupulously examined by a panel of experts which now includes a parapsychologist. Members of the public should beware of anyone […]

Writing

On the Cotton Road

The production of things, already distant from daily life, can seem a more remote reality than it is. Objects of high technology seem to be embroiled in a bifurcating world of mysterious production processes and unfamiliar social and geographic landscapes. Perhaps because of this distance, I often find myself returning to the production of simpler […]

Writing

The Well-Connected Game

A colleague of mine pointed me towards this insightful piece by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy. In his 1929 short story, Chains (LΓ‘ncszemek, but here translated as Chain-Links), Karinthy’s narrator describes the “well-connected game” he has been playing. A fascinating game grew out of this discussion. One of us suggested performing the following experiment to […]

Writing

Outside the Apple Factory Looking In

How do we think things that are both familiar and essentially unknowable? The mobile phone is a device that stands at the nexus of productive forces spanning thousands of lives and dozens of countries. At the same time, this massive assemblage lies dormant in its placement as the familiar functionary of Western daily life. A […]