Great think piece from fellow tech coop COLET

Towards a Slow Tech Movement: Build for Tech Justice

"Both proprietary tech and fast food play on the same themes of speed and convenience."

"We’d like to believe that when the moment of crisis comes, a movement agitating for tech justice by way of open source, decentralization, inclusive communities of producers, and expanded access to tools will be at the ready."


The authors of this article claim to talk about technology when in fact they solely talk about hardware & software of computing machines. That is as if people were claiming to talk about ecology and environmentalism when all they talk about is climate change, leaving everything else aside. I don't see how that blindness can be of any help. In its reductionism it looks to me like more of the problem, not more of a solution.

cc @dark_earth

@simsa02 sorry, that article was just my morning amusement about how short sighted you can think about slow tech. @agaric

@dark_earth ... Guess I should delete some of the posts that were triggered by that article .... ;-)

@simsa02 btw. My understanding of technology drive not from maschines or dead matter but from practices. Is much broader than common understanding and conflating does these days.

@dark_earth you mean craft, you mean interconnectedness ...?

@simsa02 craft is a part of it, but not all technology is craft but (nearly all) technology is practices and doings (as far as point of interest for me). Interconnectedness can be but does not need to be a criteria in itself. But thinking and looking for the I. Does open windows to look through

@dark_earth I guess I get a glimpse of what you're at. Fits my understanding, although I guess I'd emphasize more the impact technologies have on practices...

@simsa02 in the last 2 years I dealt mostly with maintenance and repair of technology infrastructure (middle age and South East Asia) at the University (out of curiosity, not by assignment).

@dark_earth In the field or rather in the seminar? I ask out of curiosity, as I try to make sense what practices that could be that technology is supposed to embody. During work I thought about it and wondered whether your statement that technology embodies or derives from practices is along the line of Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, Howrd Rheingold, this semi-systems approch to everything... or whether you had some other meaning in mind. Care to elaborate?

@simsa02 technology as practice (s):
This is a notion I got mostly from David Edgerton, Philip Scranton and Heike Weber. In "Shock of the Old" (1999) he dealt with the question, what the "History of technology" is about. He saw a big conflation of an history of technology written as a history of invention and "first-time-use" but less so a history of technology by itself. He saw that most technology in use is not new but most times much older and not that present.^1 Since 1999 a lot has been done in HistTech. The User/technology in use developed to an own thread within HistTech (driving from earlier discussions about S.C.O.T vs. Technological Determinism) and got a few new concepts. A history of the old and maintenance in a global history approach emerged around 2006-2009. When I got to know the work of Philip Scranton (i.e. Reimagining Business History) and Marcel Van der Linden (and much later both in person) a lot of things merged.

^1: Edgerton did a good job for me to open up and deepen this concept with the concept of Creole Technology later. This means a technology taken out of it's envisioned context and application Inna very different user base. He does this with bidonvilles and shantytowns as well as maintenance and repair of old cars and motor bikes in SEA.

Technology is a set of interconnected and often interlocked practices with a socio-economic and cultural context. This is the same for baking bread, fermentation of food and the long term run of water Mills in the middle age. They often come with material flow of some kind. Knowledge about the interlocked practices is crucial to long term existence of a technology, which does not mean the envisioned use is the actual use (i.e. water Mills which where more a devise of water control for land development than actually working as a mill). That's for now.

@simsa02 so this has not really to do with Brand/Kelly/Rheinhold but is something you can see in the WEC as the appropriate/soft technology discussion, mostly done by Kahn, Baer, Baldwin.

@dark_earth Thank you very much for this profound intro. I'll have to think about it. Still, on a first impression, I cannot relate to what you call "practices". What does "practices" even mean in a sentence like "Technology is a set of interconnected and often interlocked practices with a socio-economic and cultural context." or "Knowledge about the interlocked practices is crucial to long term existence of a technology, which does not mean the envisioned use is the actual use"? >

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