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Dossiers
Authors
  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Babak Afrassiabi
    • Babak Afrassiabi is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, he has collaborated with Nasrin Tabatabai on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
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      published contributions
  • S. Ayesha Hameed
    • Dr. S. Ayesha Hameed is a Lecturer in Visual Cultures and the Joint Programme Leader in Fine Art and History of Art Research Fellow in Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, London. She received her PhD in Social and Political Thought at York University, Canada in 2008
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      published contributions
  • Sammy Baloji
  • On Barak
    • On Barak is a social and cultural historian of science and technology in non-Western settings. He has been a senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University since 2012. Prior to this, he was a member of the Princeton Society of Fellows. In 2009, Barak received a joint PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from New York University. His most recent book is On Time: Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt (University of California Press, 2013), and his current publication project, Coalonialism: Energy and Empire before the Age of Oil, is funded by a European Union Marie Curie Award and an Israel Science Foundation Grant.
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      published contributions
  • Anil Bawa-Cavia
    • Anil Bawa-Cavia is a computer scientist with a background in machine learning. He runs STDIO, a speculative software studio. His practice engages with algorithms, protocols, encodings, and other software artifacts and his doctoral research at the Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London was on complex networks in urbanism. He is a founding member of Call & Response, a sonic arts collective and gallery space in London, and a member of the New Centre for Research & Practice.
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      published contributions
  • Etienne Benson
  • Josh Berson
  • Jeremy Bolen
  • Axel Braun
    • Axel Braun studied photography at the Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, and fine arts at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. His artistic research deals with controversial infrastructure projects, tautology as an attempt to understand reality, and failed utopias in art and architecture. Currently, he is pursuing the long-term project Towards an Understanding of Anthropocene Landscapes. Recently exhibited works include Some Kind of Opposition (2016) at Galeria Centralis, Budapest, and Dragonflies drift downstream on a river (2015) at Kunstmuseum Bochum.
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      published contributions
  • Keith Breckenridge
  • François Bucher
    • s, focusing on ethical and aesthetic problems of cinema and television, and more recently on the image as an interdimensional field. His work has been exhibited at
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      published contributions
  • Lino Camprubí
  • Zachary Caple
  • Ele Carpenter
    • Dr. Ele Carpenter is a senior lecturer in curating at Goldsmiths, London. Her curatorial practice responds to interdisciplinary socio-political contexts such as the nuclear economy and the relationship between craft and code.
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      published contributions
  • Andrew Chubb
    • Andrew Chubb is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia conducting research on the relationship between Chinese public opinion and government policy in the South China Sea. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Affairs, East Asia Forum, and Information, Communication & Society. His blog, South Sea Conversations (southseaconversations.wordpress.com), provides translations and analysis of Chinese discourse on the South and East China Sea issues.
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      published contributions
  • Louis Chude-Sokei
    • Louis Chude-Sokei is a writer and scholar currently teaching in the English Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. His academic interests range from West African, Caribbean, and American literary and cultural studies to a particular focus on sound, technology, and performance. His literary and public work focuses on immigration and black-on-black cultural contacts, conflicts, and exchanges. Chude-Sokei is the author of the award-winning book The Last “Darky”: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (2006) and The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (2016).
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      published contributions
  • Claire Colebrook
    • Claire Colebrook is a professor of English at Penn State University. Her areas of specialization are contemporary literature, visual culture, and theory and cultural studies. She has written articles on poetry, literary theory, queer theory, and contemporary culture. Colebrook is the co-editor of the series Critical Climate Change, published by Open Humanities Press, and a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Critical Climate Change. She recently completed two books on extinction for Open Humanities Press, Death of the PostHuman and Sex after Life (both 2014), and with Tom Cohen and J. Hillis Miller co-authored Twilight of the Anthropocene Idols (2016).
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      published contributions
  • Rana Dasgupta
  • Filip De Boeck
    • Filip De Boeck is actively involved in teaching, promoting, coordinating and supervising research in and on Africa at the Institute for Anthropological research in Africa at the U
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      published contributions
  • Seth Denizen
    • Seth Denizen is a researcher and design practitioner trained in landscape architecture and evolutionary biology. Since completing research on the sexual behavior and evolutionary ecology of small Trinidadian fish, his work has focused on the aesthetics of scientific representation, madness, and public parks, the design of t
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      published contributions
  • Jonathan Donges
    • Jonathan Donges is a postdoctoral researcher who holds a joint position at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (as Stordalen Scholar) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He studies planetary boundaries and social dynamics in the Earth system from a complex dynamical system perspective. At Potsdam, he is Co-head of the flagship COPAN (Coevolutionary Pathways) project (www.pik-potsdam.de/copan). His published research includes work on complex network theory, dynamical systems theory, and time series analysis, with a focus on their application to our understanding of past and present climate variability and its interactions with humankind on planet Earth.
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      published contributions
  • Keller Easterling
  • David Edgerton
    • David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and a professor of modern British history at King’s College London. After teaching at the University of Manchester, he became the founding director of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College London (1993–2003), and moved along with the centre to King’s College London in August 2013. He is the author of many works, including The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 (2007), which argues for and exemplifies new ways of thinking about the material constitution of modernity.
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      published contributions
  • Technosphere Editorial
  • Sasha Engelmann
  • Jennifer Gabrys
    • Jennifer Gabrys is Reader in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project, "Citizen Sense." Her publications include Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (University of Michigan Press, 2011); and Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming).
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      published contributions
  • Oliver Gantner
  • Florian Goldmann
    • Florian Goldmann is a Berlin-based artist and a PhD candidate at the DFG Research Training Center Visibility and Visualisation – Hybrid Forms of Pictorial Knowledge as well as at the Brandenburg Center for Media Studies, both Potsdam University. His research focus is the utilization of models as a means of both commemorating and predicting catastrophe. In 2015, he took part in the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan. Goldmann is one of the founders of the research collective STRATAGRIDS and the author of Flexible Signposts to Coded Territories (2012), an analysis of football hooligan graffiti in Athens as a system of fluid signage.
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      published contributions
  • Johan Gärdebo
    • Johan Gärdebo is a PhD candidate at the Royal Institute of Technology affiliated to the Environmental Humanities Laboratory (EHL). H
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      published contributions
  • Orit Halpern
    • Orit Halpern is a Strategic Hire in Interactive Design and an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal. Her work bridges the histories of science, computing, and cybernetics with design and art practice. She is also a co-director of the Speculative Life Research Cluster, Montreal, a laboratory situated at the intersection of art and life sciences, architecture and design, and computational media (www.speculativelife.com). Her recent monograph, Beautiful Data (2015), is a history of interactivity, data visualization, and ubiquitous computing. www.orithalpern.net
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      published contributions
  • Carola Hein
    • Carola Hein is a professor of the history of architecture and urban planning in the Architecture Department at Delft University of Technology. She has published widely on topics in contemporary and historical architectural and urban planning, notably that of Europe and Japan. Her current research interests include transmission of architectural and urban ideas along international networks, focusing specifically on port cities, and the global architecture of oil. Her books include Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (2011), Cities, Autonomy, and Decentralization in Japan (2006), and The Capital of Europe: Architecture and Urban Planning for the European Union (2004).
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      published contributions
  • Julian Henriques
    • Julian Henriques is the convener of the MA in Script Writing and Director of the Topology Research Unit in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Prior to this, he ran the film and television department at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. His credits as a writer and director include the reggae musical feature film Babymother (1998) and as a sound artist, Knots & Donuts, exhibited at Tate Modern in 2011. Henriques researches street cultures and technologies and his publications include Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation, and Subjectivity (1998), Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques, and Ways of Knowing (2011), and Sonic Media (forthcoming).
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      published contributions
  • Hanna Husberg
    • Hanna Husberg is a Stockholm-based artist. She graduated from ENSB-A in Paris in 2007 and is currently a PhD in Practice candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
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      published contributions
  • Erich Hörl
  • Timothy Johnson
  • Peter K. Haff
  • Laleh Khalili
  • Alexander Klose
    • Dr. Alexander Klose studied History, Law, Philosophy, Art, and Cultural Studies. From 2005-07 he held a scholarship at Bauhaus Universität Weimar for his PhD project on standardized containers used in transport as one of the leading material media in the 20th century. Between 2009 and 2014 he worked as a research associate and programme developer at Kulturstiftung des Bundes. In 2015 in the forefront of COP 21, he co-curated Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18 – On Becoming Earthlings: 150 dialogues and exercises in shrinking and expanding the Human at Musée de l'Homme, Paris. His latest publication is: The Container Principle. How a box changes the way we think (2015).
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      published contributions
  • Karin Knorr Cetina
    • Rico, in the 1960s. She finished her education in Paris and London. Knorr has taught, exhibited, and lectured internationally, including at Tate Britain, Tate Modern, the University of Westminster, and Goldsmiths in London, as well as Harvard Univ
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      published contributions
  • Scott Knowles
  • Nile Koetting
  • Nicole Koltick
    • Nicole Koltick is an assistant professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University, Philadelphia. She is Founding Director of the Design Futures Lab at Westphal College, which is currently pursuing design research to stimulate debate on the potential implications of emerging technological and scientific developments within society. Koltick’s practice spans art, science, technology, design, and philosophy, and current work focuses on the philosophical, material, and relational implications of aesthetics as they intersect with emerging developments in computational creativity, artificially intelligent autonomous systems, robotics, and synthetic biological hybrids.
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      published contributions
  • Nik Kosmas
  • Matthijs Kouw
    • Matthijs Kouw joined the Rathenau Instituut, The Hague, in March 2016. He holds an MA in Philosophy and an MSc in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Amsterdam as well as a PhD from Maastricht University. In his PhD thesis, Kouw describes how and to what extent reliance on models can introduce vulnerabilities through the assumptions, uncertainties, and blind spots concomitant with modeling practice. He was employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), during which time he acted as a member of the Dutch delegation for plenary sessions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
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      published contributions
  • Lars Kulik
    • Lars Kulik studied biology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He received his doctorate on the development of social behavior of rhesus monkeys at the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He lives with his family in Berlin.
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      published contributions
  • Richard L. Hindle
    • Richard L. Hindle is an assistant professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley. His current research focuses on patent innovation in landscape related technologies, from large-scale mappings of riverine and coastal systems to detailed historical studies on the antecedents of vegetated architecture. His work explores the potential of new technological narratives and material processes to reframe theory, practice, and the production of landscape. Recent works include the articles “Levees That Might Have Been” (2015), and “Infrastructures of Innovation” in Scaling Infrastructure (MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism, 2016), and the exhibition Geographies of Innovation at UC Berkeley (2015).
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      published contributions
  • Brian Larkin
  • John Law
    • hn Law was a professor of sociology at Keele University, Lancaster, and the Open University, Milton Keynes, and a co-director of the Economic and Social Researc
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      published contributions
  • S. Løchlann Jain
  • Donald MacKenzie
  • Laura McLean
    • Laura McLean is a curator, artist, and writer based in London. She is a graduate of Goldsmiths College and Sydney College of the Arts, where she later lectured. She has also studied at Alberta College of Art and Design, and the Universität der Künste Berlin.
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      published contributions
  • Eden Medina
    • Eden Medina is an associate professor of informatics and computing, affiliated associate professor of law, and adjunct associate professor of history at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research and teaching address the social, historical, and legal dimensions of our increasingly data-driven world, including the relationship of technology to human rights and free expression, the relationship between political innovation and technological innovation, and the ways that human and political values shape technological design. Medina’s writings also use science and technology as a way to broaden understandings of Latin American history and the geography of innovation. She is the author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile (2011) and the co-editor of Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America (2014).
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      published contributions
  • Anne-Sophie Milon
    • Anne-Sophie Milon is an artist and a freelance illustrator and animator working and living in Bristol, UK. After completing two Masters in Art, she has recently concluded the program of experimentation in Art and Politics at SciencesPo (SPEAP) in Paris.
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      published contributions
  • Gerald Nestler
    • Gerald Nestler is an artist and writer who combines theory and post-disciplinary conversation with video, installation, performance, text, code, graphics, sound, and speech. He explores what he calls the derivative condition of contemporary social relations and its paradigmatic financial models, operations, processes, narratives, and fictions. He is currently working on an “aesthetics of resolution” that maps counterfictions and counterimaginations for “renegade activism,” which revolves around the demonstration as a combined artistic, technological, social, and political practice. Nestler holds a practice-based PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.
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      published contributions
  • James P. M. Syvitski
    • James P. M. Syvitski is Executive Director of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS) at the University of Colorado Boulder. From 2011 to 2016, he chaired the International Council for Science’s International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which provides essential scientific leadership and knowledge of the Earth system to help guide society toward a sustainable pathway during rapid global change. His specialty is the global flux of water and sediment (river and ocean borne) and its trends in the Anthropocene. He works at the forefront of computational geosciences, including sediment transport, land-ocean interactions, and Earth-surface dynamics.
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      published contributions
  • Luciana Parisi
    • Luciana Parisi is Reader in Cultural Theory, Chair of the PhD program in Cultural Studies, and Co-director of the Digital Culture Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on cybernetics, information theory and computation, complexity and evolutionary theories, and the technocapitalist investment in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Her books include Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004) and Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space (2013). She is currently researching the history of automation and the philosophical consequences of logical thinking in machines.
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      published contributions
  • Lisa Parks
  • Matteo Pasquinelli
  • Arno Rosemarin
  • Dorion Sagan
  • Birgit Schneider
  • Lizzie Stark
    • Lizzie Stark is an author, journalist, and experience designer. She is the author of two books, Pandora’s DNA (2014), exploring so-called ‘breast cancer genes’ and her first book, Leaving Mundania (2012), which investigates the subculture of live action role play, or larp. Her journalism and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, the Daily Beast, The Today Show Website, io9, Fusion, the Philadelphia Inquirer and elsewhere. She holds an MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has organized numerous conventions and experiences across the US. Her most recent work is as a programming coordinator for Living Games Austin, and as co-editor and contributor for the #Feminism anthology, which collects 34 nano-games written by feminists from eleven countries.
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  • Lucy Suchman
    • ology of Science and Technology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lancaster, UK. Her research interests within the field of feminist science and technology studies are focused on technological imaginaries and material practices
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      published contributions
  • Jenna Sutela
    • Jenna Sutela’s installations, texts, and sound performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Most recently, she has been exploring exceedingly complex biological and computational systems, ultimately unknowable and always becoming something new. Her work has been presented, among other places, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and her writing has been published by Fiktion, Harvard Design Magazine, and Sternberg Press.
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      published contributions
  • Bronislaw Szerszynski
    • Bronislaw Szerszynski is a Reader in Sociology at Lancaster University in the UK. Szerszynski’s work has developed across several themes, including the role of Western religious history in shaping contemporary understandings of technology and the environment—typified by his book Nature, Technology and the Sacred (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005).
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      published contributions
  • Elisa T. Bertuzzo
    • Elisa T. Bertuzzo studied comparative literature, sociology, communication, and media studies and holds a PhD in urban studies. She was a curator and project leader with Habitat Forum Berlin, including for the project Paradigmising Karail Basti (2010–16). Bridging discourses from the fields of cultural and urban studies, her research focuses on the everyday life facets of urbanization and settlement in South Asia. On that topic, she published Fragmented Dhaka: Analysing Everyday Life with Henri Lefebvre’s Theory of Production of Space (2009) and runs her multimedia project Archives of Movement (since 2012), which deals with the everyday life of temporary labor migrants in Bangladesh and India.
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      published contributions
  • Gregory T. Cushman
    • Gregory T. Cushman is Associate Professor of International Environmental History at the University of Kansas.
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      published contributions
  • Nasrin Tabatabai
    • Nasrin Tabatabai is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, she has collaborated with Babak Afrassiabi on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
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      published contributions
  • Katerina Teaiwa
    • Dr. Katerina Teaiwa is Associate Professor at the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural Studies, School of Culture, History & Language and the president of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies. Her main area of research looks at the histories of phosphate mining in the central Pacific. Her work does not only span academic research, publications, and lectures, but also manifests itself in other formats within the arts and popular culture. Her work has inspired a permanent exhibition at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which tells the story of Pacific phosphate mining through Banaban dance. In 2015, she published „Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba“, Indiana University Press. She is currently working with visual artist Yuki Kihara on a multimedia exhibition for Carriageworks in Sydney.
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      published contributions
  • Jol Thomson
  • Claire Tolan
  • John Tresch
  • Etienne Turpin
    • Etienne Turpin is a philosopher, Founding Director of anexact office, and a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, where he coordinates the Humanitarian Infrastructures Group and co-directs the PetaBencana.id disaster mapping project for the Urban Risk Lab. He is the editor of Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Tim
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  • Asonseh Ukah
    • Asonzeh Ukah is a sociologist and historian of religion. He joined the University of Cape Town in 2013 and previously taught at the University of Bayreuth (2005–13), where he also earned a doctorate and habilitation in history of religions. His research interests include religious urbanism, the sociology of Pentecostalism, and religion and media. He is Director of the Research Institute on Christianity and Society in Africa (RICSA), University of Cape Town, and Affiliated Senior Fellow of Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth. He is the author of A New Paradigm of Pentecostal Power (2008) and Bourdieu in Africa (edited with Magnus Echtler, 2016).
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  • Underworlds
  • Sebastian Vehlken
    • Sebastian Vehlken is a media theorist and cultural historian at Leuphana University Lüneburg and Permanent Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation (MECS). From 2013 to 2017, he worked as MECS Junior Director, and in 2015–16, he was a visiting professor at Humboldt-Universität Berlin, the University of Vienna, and Leuphana. His areas of interest include the theory and history of computer simulation and digital media, the media history of swarm intelligence, and the epistemology of think tanks. His current research project, Plutonium Worlds, explores the application of computer simulations in West German fast breeder reactor programs.
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      published contributions
  • Vladimir Vernadsky
  • Davor Vidas
    • Davor Vidas is a research professor in international law and Director of the Law of the Sea Programme at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Lysaker, Norway. He is Chair of the Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise and a member of the Anthropocene Working Group. Vidas has been involved in international law research for over thirty years, focusing since 2009 on implications of the Anthropocene for the development of international law. Among his books are The World Ocean in Globalisation (2011) and Law, Technology and Science for Oceans in Globalisation (2010). He is the editor-in-chief of the book series Anthropocene (Skolska knjiga, Zagreb), launched in 2017.
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      published contributions
  • Hannes Wiedemann
    • Hannes Wiedemann is a Berlin-based photographer. He studied at the Ostkreuz School of Photography, Berlin. For his project Grinders (2015–16), he followed the American bodyhacking community, a small group of people across the United States working out of garages and basements to become real cyborgs. Recent exhibitions include NEW PHOTOGRAPHY II (2017) at Gallery ALAN, Istanbul, and HUMAN UPGRADE, with Susanna Hertrich (2016), at Schader-Stiftung Gallery, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt. www.hanneswiedemann.com
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      published contributions
  • Cary Wolfe
    • Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English and Founding Director of 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory at Rice University, Houston. He is the author of What Is Posthumanism? (2010), a book that weaves together principal concerns of his work: animal studies, system theory, pragmatism, and post-structuralism. It is part of the series Posthumanities, for which he serves as Founding Editor at the University of Minnesota Press. His most recent publication is Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in Biopolitical Frame (2013) and earlier books and edited collections include Animal Rites: American Culture, The Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (2003) and Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (2003).
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      published contributions
  • Andrew Yang
  • Jan Zalasiewicz
    • Dr. Jan Zalasiewicz is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester and Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy. A field geologist, paleontologist, and stratigrapher, he teaches and publishes on geology and earth history, in particular on fossil ecosystems and environments that span over half a billion years of geological time.
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      published contributions
  • Anna Zett
  • Liv Østmo
    • Liv Østmo is one of the founders and current Dean of the Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Kautokeino, Norway, where she researches and lectures on the subject of multicultural understanding. For the last eight years, Østmo has worked with traditional Sámi knowledge and she is currently working on putting the finishing touches on a methodology book about the documentation of this knowledge.
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Don Pedro poses with his Citroneta in 1969.

Memories of the Yagán: The Chilean Automobile for the People

The Yagán, a low-cost utility vehicle placed onto a Citroën chassis, was manufactured by the socialist Chilean government between 1970 and 1973 as part of an effort to provide affordable goods for every citizen. Its story is one of local craft, misdirected politics, and design on-the-fly, which historian of science Eden Medina has carefully framed alongside an interview between her husband, Cristian Medina and his father, Don Pedro, who was in charge of methods for the car’s manufacture.
My father-in-law, Pedro Medina Sotomayor—or Don Pedro, as I call him—fills silences with stories. He’ll talk about his years as a taxi driver or union leader or the time one of the thirty-three miners stopped by his house to visit the miniature replica he built of the Chilean mine that collapsed in 2010. He has no filter when he talks, is never late, loves to tease, and takes pride in doing a job well and on time. He also played a central role in Chile’s short-lived attempt to build an automobile for the people. Don Pedro worked for the auto-manufacturer Citroën from 1959 to 1985. When the socialist candidate Salvador Allende won the presidential election in 1970, Don Pedro was Director of Methods at Citroën Arica in northern Chile. Allende’s government, Popular Unity, pushed to increase the quantity of low-cost goods for popular consumption. Such policies paralleled those for income redistribution, increased production in the state-run sector of the economy, and decreased unemployment. From 1970 to 1973, the Allende government manufactured low-cost automobiles, motorcycles, sewing machines, household electronics, and furniture. Consumption and production thus formed important and interlocking parts of Chile’s plan for peaceful socialist change.
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Don Pedro sits in the driver’s seat of the Citroën Yagán. The Arica plant planned to ship this particular vehicle to Bolivia in hopes of expanding the Yagán market. Photo: Personal archive of Pedro Medina Sotomayor.

Following Allende’s election, Pedro Vuskovic, minister of the economy, ordered the manufacture of a utility vehicle akin to the jeep that would cost less than 250 dollars to produce. Using funding and technology from its parent company, Citroën, the Chilean plant where Don Pedro worked drew up plans for a utility vehicle modeled after the Citroën Baby Brousse, a car the French manufacturer had designed for public transport in Vietnam. The Chilean plant also drew inspiration from the Citroën Méhari, a low-cost utility vehicle manufactured in Argentina during the 1960s. The Chileans named the new design “Yagán” in reference to an extinct indigenous people from Tierra del Fuego, Chile’s southern tip. While the chassis, motor, and suspension system for the car were repurposed from other Citroën models, workers in the Citroën Arica plant designed much of its body and tested it for manufacture.
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Workers in Arica, Chile assemble a Citroneta in the late 1960s. Photo: Personal archive of Pedro Medina Sotomayor.

Cristián Lyon, head of Citroën during the Allende era, described building the Yagán as an artisanal undertaking rather than a science: cutting here, straightening there, and creatively combining parts from Citroën vehicles past to produce a distinctively Chilean automobile. “I insist it was almost a metaphor for the history of Chile,” Lyon remarked in an online interview, perhaps referring to the ad hoc willingness of Citroën workers to construct something new from the ground up, regardless of the hurdles involved.Interview of Cristián Lyon, “Creando El Yagán,” 2003, formerly available at the Web site of the Corporación de Television de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
On September 11, 1973, a military coup brought Chile’s socialist experiment to an end. Citroën sold the remaining Yagáns to the Chilean military. There are stories of the military’s dropping the cars from low-flying airplanes to see if they could be used to patrol the arid border between Chile and Peru. The cars did not fare well. Chile returned to democracy in 1990. Since the late 1990s scholars and journalists have regarded the Yagán as an example of Chilean technology under socialism, and a material representation of Allende’s utopian project that never came to pass. Chilean television, film, and print media all have named the Yagán as an important milestone in Chile’s automotive history, and it was featured as an installation in Chile’s 2010 Design Biennale as representative of the event’s theme “Chile se diseña” (Chile Designs Itself). The 2003 documentary La Huella del Yagán (Tread of the Yagán) portrayed the car as an object of nostalgia. It filmed the journey of two young Chileans as they drove a Yagán from Santiago to the northern city of Arica, where the car was manufactured, bringing the historic vehicle back to its birthplace while recounting its origin story.Directed by Patricio Díaz and Enrique León, La Huella del Yagán, Santiago, Duoc UC, 2003 (https://vimeo.com/101574882).
The history of the Yagán thus parallels the ruptures and reconciliations of Chilean history, moving from an automobile for the people to a military transport vehicle to a way to remember, understand, and interpret the Allende period. The iconic photograph of the Yagán shows Don Pedro sitting in the driver’s seat; in the background are the beach and palm trees of Arica—the city of “eternal spring.” The photo has brought him in contact with filmmakers, journalists, historians, and automobile aficionados. He is a celebrity in the Citroën Yagán Facebook group.
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Don Pedro made this Yagán replica in 2014 in the workshop outside of his house. He crafted each piece from memory, including the pieces of the suspension system. Photo: Personal archive of Pedro Medina Sotomayor.

In 2004, I asked my husband, Cristian, to interview his father about the experience of working on the Yagán project, which I recorded and had transcribed. The resulting transcript is a family history as well as a history of technology. It illustrates how the ideas of the Popular Unity government were carried out on the ground and the daily acts of ingenuity and inventiveness that they required. Technologies become repurposed through acts of repair, reuse, and use in new contexts. However, they also take on new life in our memories of them and the stories we tell of their significance. As we care for, tend to, and retell these technology stories, they become part of the narratives about nations and families and part of how we come to understand them. I have translated and edited an excerpt from Don Pedro’s comments for publication.

Don Pedro: At the end of 1970, we received an order from CORFO Citroën to make a vehicle like a jeep, a utility vehicle that was easy to make and economical, and it had to be similar to the vehicle that was made in Argentina, the Citroën Méhari.A portion of Citroën’s Chilean operation belonged to CORFO, the Chilean State Development Corporation.
That vehicle was compact and all one piece. The bumpers, fender, everything was mounted on top of the Citroneta chassis. I was in charge of the Department of Automobile Methods, which meant I was in charge of some of the methods’ technicians in the car body section, the painting section, and the assembly section. We advised the heads of those sections on the technical aspects of their operations, giving them the timing and operating ranges, everything involved in the technical part of building the vehicle. We made a department of prototypes to make the Yagán, and we made a prototype workshop in a closed-off part of the factory that was directed by Mr. Leonel Segovia. But we oversaw everything. They were making the parts and the pieces, and we asked them to make the blueprints. We were also advising on the technical part, which machine to use—if a fender, which machine would fold it; if it were cut, how to cut it. We made a template for the perforations and decided how to get the most out of the material. We did all of this and sent the information to an archive that contained all these kinds of things, the length and width of the door chains, how the pieces fit together, and that’s how we did it. Now the head of the prototype workshop, Leonel Segovia, had been the head of car bodies at Citroën in 1957 and had a lot of experience and knowledge. He went looking for parts and pieces from a Citroën van that we had made, the AK-6. To avoid making new pieces, we went looking for some that we could use from the van in the Yagán. It allowed us to save time, work, studies, blueprints, and everything else involved.
Cristian: In what way did the Yagán reflect the political context of the Popular Unity government?
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Don Pedro works on the Citroën Ami 8 around 1978. Photo: Personal archive of Pedro Medina Sotomayor.

Don Pedro: Mr. Pedro Vuskovic, who was the treasury secretary, told Citroën via CORFO that we should make a vehicle, a vehicle for the masses. Because it turns out that the country was in [the midst of] a process of the Popular Unity, a revolution. The new government said, “Let’s make all of this popular, for the masses.” They made the agrarian reform on one hand; on the other hand, they said, “Let’s give the people an accessible vehicle. Cheaper.” Cristian: And were the cars cheaper to make? Don Pedro: They were more expensive, because the work was artisanal, by hand. We were not prepared to develop a vehicle. To assemble, yes, but assembling doesn’t cost anything, just the parts and pieces. But to create new things, when you have to deal with material-strength tests, with machines and instruments that measure vibration and fractures; it turns out that we had to improve those issues, the Chilean way. Cristian: You didn’t have records of stress distribution? Don Pedro: There were no records of stress distribution. In fact, when we tested the first prototypes, the rear of the vehicle made a lot of noise because the body was loose – it was the body of the van, but the top part was missing. So, we said, “How do we remove the noise? Let’s add wooden slats to the side to reinforce it.” But that was during the building process; it was not programmed in advance. We had to send them to make three slats per side, pierced with three-sixteenths of an inch screws to reinforce the sides and give them rigidity. But those fixes were tailor made. There were no studies.
Cristian: You were not prepared, but you didn’t say that. You faced the challenge.
Don Pedro: And with pride. Yes, we can do it.
Cristian: How was the Yagán different from the previous cars made at Citroën Arica?
Don Pedro: The manufacturer was Citroën Arica, but the cars came with the rules that were established by Citroën France. We had a French quality control system so as not to lose the prestige of Citroën. But we didn’t have a quality control system for the body of the Yagán. We were making quality control procedures on the fly. Our quality control people began to make operational procedures to measure from this point to this point, to make sure the angles were consistent. They were creating these new procedures for the body as we made the vehicle. The engine of the Yagán was the same [as the Citroneta’s], the same chassis, the same gearbox, the same suspension—everything; the only different thing was the body. It was all square and made by hand. Everything was done with press brakes [a tool that bends sheet metal].
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Assembling a Citroën Ami 8 around 1978. Photo: Personal archive of Pedro Medina Sotomayor.

Cristian: Is that the reason the car was so angular?
Don Pedro: Sure, to give it a certain amount of resistance. But it meant that no two [vehicles] were the same. It was all by measurement. I want to make a hood, I measure from that point to that point, and we folded it at such an angle and did the same on the other side. But now, it is no longer the same angle, and the angle is ten degrees more or five degrees less.
Cristian: Did the Yagáns sell? Did you sell them all?
Don Pedro: No, people preferred the Citroneta. Very few Yagáns were sold; we only made about four hundred to five hundred vehicles. But the Yagán got us into trouble because it slowed the whole production process. We were summoned several times with complaints of, “Hey, the fender won’t assemble right,” or “The windshield doesn’t fit.” We made modifications and the whole system fell behind. We put everything on the same assembly line. We put together vans, Citronetas, everything, on the same line. To make a Citroneta we needed 800 minutes; to make a Yagán we needed 1,200 minutes, meaning more men, more people, more time, so it is more expensive.
Cristian: Describe the Yagán, how was it to drive one?
Don Pedro: Well, in those years, you were young, and you felt free [because it was a convertible]. But it was ugly. Ugly. Instead of closing a door, you hooked a chain. It was square, ugly. Mechanically, the suspension had no problems. It was the look of the car body that was ugly. It was aesthetically ugly. Most people who bought one modified the car body. They put on a roof, a back window, doors that also looked ugly and square, but were modifications that made the car safer.
Cristian: What was that anecdote you told me about a gentleman who was driving his Yagán and stopped at a street corner—?
Don Pedro: And the university students shouted, “Hey, your craft project looks nice.” [laughs] To me, even though I was involved in the project from the beginning, it was a failure. It was not useful. They called it a jeep, but we put it in the sand, and nothing. It was just like the Citroneta but with a jeep shell. It was for driving in the city, that was all. In that sense, it was a failure for Citroën. They didn’t sell. The cars were later sold to the army. The army wanted to use them for soldiers who were couriers, the soldiers who go from one regiment to another carrying documents and mail. They used the cars to perform military exercises and gave us machine guns to put on them.
Cristian: Are you saying that this happened later, after the military coup?
Don Pedro: After the coup, they put a machine gun on top of the car for routine street patrolling. The Yagán was a jeep that was cheap, economical, and two soldiers could be seated in the back, two in the front. They had us put in a tripod with a machine gun, the supports and everything. We put it behind the driver’s seat. When the production of the Yagán stopped in 1974, we had a lot of material left.
Cristian: I remember our fence at home was made of—
Don Pedro: It was made of bumpers. Since they weren’t being used for anything, we made fences from them. I remember I made a shed at Citroën and, with the guys from maintenance, put together the joints, the little 1.5-meter-long pieces so we would not waste any material.

In 1982, Chile suffered its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression as a result of the neoliberal economic policies put in place by the Pinochet dictatorship. Citroën transferred Don Pedro from Arica to Santiago, the capital city, in 1983. He lost his job two years later and then found work as a taxi driver. In the mid-1990s, Cristian returned to Arica and took a photo of his childhood home. The house still had the fence made of Yagán bumpers.
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The fence made of Yagán bumpers in Arica, Chile. Photo: Cristian Medina, 1995.