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  • 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–).
    • published contributions
  • Malin Ah-King
  • Memo Akten
    • . He is currently a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is researching artificial intelligence, machine learning, and expressive human-ma
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  • Jamie Allen
  • 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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  • Sammy Baloji
  • Subhankar Banerjee
  • 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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  • 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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  • Etienne Benson
  • Josh Berson
  • Jeremy Bolen
  • Paul Boshears
  • Benjamin Bratton
    • for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow. Bratton is also Professor of Digital Design at the Eur
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Amy Cimini
  • 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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  • Flavio D'Abramo
  • Ana Dana Beroš
    • chitect and curator focused on creating uncertain, fragile environments that catalyze social chan
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  • Pietro Daniel Omodeo
  • 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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  • 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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  • Rohini Devasher
  • 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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  • Design Earth
    • ollaborative architectural practice led by El Hadi Jazairy
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  • Keller Easterling
  • Anna Echterhölter
  • 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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  • Technosphere Editorial
  • Sasha Engelmann
  • Lois Epstein
    • stein is Arctic Program Director at the Wilderness Society an American land conservation non-profit. A licensed engineer, she has served on a number of federal advisory committees, including a National Academy of Sciences committee studying oil and gas regulations, and, for twelve years, a committee focusing on oil pipeline safety. Epstein holds a Master of Civil Engineering with a specialization in environme
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  • Eberhard Faust
  • 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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  • Elaine Gan
  • Oliver Gantner
  • Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann
  • 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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  • Mark Graham
  • Jacques Grinevald
  • 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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  • 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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  • Eva Hayward
  • Gabrielle Hecht
  • Gerda Heck
  • Florian Hecker
    • dio 3 as the broadcaster’s first ever live binaural broadcast. Recent major exhibitions
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Sabine Höhler
  • Erich Hörl
  • Timothy Johnson
  • Peter K. Haff
  • Bernd Kasparek
  • Nikos Katsikis
  • Laleh Khalili
  • Axel Kleidon
  • 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).
    • published contributions
  • Karin Knorr Cetina
  • 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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  • 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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  • Matija Kralj
  • Kei Kreutler
  • 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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  • 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).
    • published contributions
  • Hannah Landecker
  • Brian Larkin
  • Bruno Latour
  • Manfred Laubichler
  • 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
    • published contributions
  • Yoneda Lemma
    • ents from one fiction to another. She has exhibited her work at V4ULT, Berlin; Le Cube, Par
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  • Esther Leslie
    • t theories of aesthetics and culture, with a particular focus on the work of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. It deals with the poetics of science, European literary and visual modern
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  • George Lewis
    • my of Arts and Letters, New York. He has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Chicago, since 1971. Lewis’s work as composer, electronic performer, installa
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  • S. Løchlann Jain
  • Donald MacKenzie
  • Stefan Maier
  • Chowra Makaremi
  • Annapurna Mamidipudi
  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Paul N. Edwards
  • 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.
    • published contributions
  • Huiying Ng
  • Daniel Niles
    • terial, millenary and momentary—that their knowledge takes, and, finally, the significance of this experience to our understanding of t
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Lisa Parks
  • Matteo Pasquinelli
  • Karen Pinkus
    • w York. She is also a faculty fellow of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Ithaca. Author of numerous publications in literary studies, Italian studies, critical theory, and environmental humanities, Pinkus is also Editor of the journal Diacritics. In her latest book, Fuel (2016), Pinkus thinks about issues crucial to climate ch
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  • Giulia Rispoli
  • Sophia Roosth
    • t when researchers are building new biological systems in order to investigate how biology works. She holds a PhD from the Massachuse
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  • Arno Rosemarin
  • Rafico Ruiz
    • afico Ruiz is Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. He studies the relationships between mediation and social space, particularly in the Arctic and subarctic; the cultural geographies of natural resource engagements; and
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  • Kim Rygiel
    • f International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada. Her research focuses on border security, migration, and citizenship in North America and Europe. She investigates how citizens and non-citizens engage in citizenship practices and challenge notions
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  • Dorion Sagan
  • Isabelle Saint-Saëns
  • Birgit Schneider
  • Sever
    • SEVER was developed as a speculative design project by Francesco Sebregondi, Alexey Platonov, Inna Pokazanyeva, and Ildar Iakubov during the New Normal postgraduate program at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow. SEVER seeks to intervene into current Arctic debates by disturbing the landscape of the region’s possible futures
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  • Jens Soentgen
  • C Spencer Yeh
  • Nick Srnicek
  • 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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  • Carolyn Steel
  • Benjamin Steininger
  • 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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  • Kaushik Sunder Rajan
    • echnology studies, and postcolonial studies, holding a special interest in the global political economy of biomedicine, with a comparative focus on the Un
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Gregory T. Cushman
    • Gregory T. Cushman is Associate Professor of International Environmental History at the University of Kansas.
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  • 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–).
    • published contributions
  • Ksenia Tatarchenko
    • dies Institute, Geneva University, specializing in the history of Russian science and technology. She has held positions as a visiting Assistant Professor of History at NYU Shanghai and a post-doctoral fellow at the Harriman Institute, Columbia. Most broadly, she studies questions of knowledge circulation to situate Soviet developments in the global context. She is currently writing a book on science and innovation cultures in Siberia provisionally
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  • 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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  • Terre Thaemlitz
  • 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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  • Vladimir Vernadsky
  • Ben Vida
    • Korea, Australia ,and Europe at such institutions as the Guggenheim, New York; Centro Pecci, Prato, Italy; STUK Arts Center, Leuven
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  • 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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  • Kalindi Vora
  • Jennifer Walshe
    • porary Arts, New York; DAAD Berliner Künstle
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  • 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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  • Elvia Wilk
  • 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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  • 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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  • Anna Zett
  • Sander van der Leeuw
    • ionships, and complex systems theory. He investigates the preconditions for and the practices and role of invention, sustainability, and innovation in societies. He has done
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  • 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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Natural dyed yarn samples. Craft and Innovation Workshop, Kalakshetra 2016

A Recipe for Crafting Color: The Revival of Natural Dyeing in South India

The craft scholar, engineer, and activist Annapurna Mamidipudi describes the impact that the smallest changes in the application of recipes for dyeing practices have on the resulting color. Her hands-on research reveals how embodied knowledge practices as a form of non-text-based experience—of tinkering and chance—contribute to the refinement of both artisanal techniques and knowledge itself, offering a craft notion of knowledge whereby theory is never detached from its materiality.
How did old recipes describing practices of natural dyeing in India from the nineteenth century come to constitute technologies for green production for the future? How did technologists and craftspeople with very different knowledge practices work together in the twentieth century to reinvent material knowledge so that modern markets could be consistently served and precarious livelihoods sustained? How does the recipe function as a metaphor that re-embeds knowledge into laboring bodies, into objects that are made over and over again, seemingly the same, yet always solving new challenges and accumulating new meaning? Communities across the Global South continue to practice craft production even today. They are engaged in livelihoods that service modern markets, sustaining themselves, as well as their environments, and transforming craft practices into green technologies that can sustain a postindustrial world. Yet in general, their knowledge of making by hand is subservient to the scientific knowledge attributed to the mind: traditional knowledge constitutes heritage, its practitioners have no place in the future, and it is tacit and native to marginalized communities, not cutting-edge technology. In the absence of text-based theory, craft knowledge is at best considered skilled practice and, at worst, manual labor. That handloom weavers survive, and even thrive, in particular societies is a reality that can only be explained once craft is explicated as valid knowledge and contemporary weavers are understood as sophisticated sociotechnologists who innovate. Within modern sociotechnical imaginaries that relegate craft technologies to the past, that traditional craftspeople embody knowledge that is valuable to our sustainable future is not self-evident. Drawing on my experience with innovative practices of hand-textile-producing craftspeople in South India, what follows is a short account of an experiment of reviving the knowledge of natural plants and minerals as green technology in the late 1990s. It is narrated as a set of recipes using dyes of vegetable and mineral origin, through the autobiographical lens of a fieldworker’s notes. Recipes become the site where actors from diverse fields of expertise symmetrically engage with different ways of knowing to understand, translate, and produce new insights that reinvent natural dyeing as contemporary technology. Using “recipe” as mode, method, and metaphor for knowledge, I explore a craft notion of what knowledge looks like when viewed through the practices of craftspeople.
Undyed yarn. Craft and Innovation Workshop, Kalakshetra 2016

Recipe 1: Naga Red, Rubia sikkimensis

Color: Deep brownish red

Colonial botanists George Watt and Major Trotter discuss whether Naga red, a deep reddish brown is produced using the proliferous dye-bearing plant Rubia cordifolia or another more native herb, Rubia sikkimensis. The process of extracting the dye is described as follows, by Dr. Watt: “A woman came one morning to the Residency, Manipur, bringing with her 1st two or three bundles of the root and stem of Rubia Sikkimensis, 2nd, a slab of bark of Quercus fenestrate, Roxb; 3rd . . .” He goes on to list seven different things, including the cotton yarn skeins to be dyed. He reports on what he is told by the woman—“I am told that it was necessary to prepare the second cotton skein [which was yellow], in order to give it time to dry”—and writes down his own observations: “The liquid [to be used for mordanting] tasted bitter and no doubt contained some alkali salt which I have not as yet had time to identify chemically.George Watt, quoted in Bijoy Chandra Mohanty, K. V. Chandramouli, and H. D. Naik, Natural Dyeing Processes of India (Ahmedabad, India: Calico Museum of Textiles, 1987). From George Watt, “Note on varieties of Rubia,” in A Dictionary of Economic Products of India, vol. 6, part 1 (Calcutta: Superintendant, Government Print Office, 1892), 577.
He compares his own account with that of his friend Major Trotter, to confirm that indeed the source for the Naga red used by the hill tribes of Manipur to color their clothes, hair, and decorations for spears, shields, and bamboo and cane work was Rubia sikkimensis rather than the Rubia cordifolia. It is such documentation that formed the basis of the reconstruction of natural dye expertise that was no longer in practice, with the help of K. V. Chandramouli, the author of the book this recipe is quoted in, and a small team of young activists seeking to sustain precarious craft livelihoods. By the 1990s, when my colleagues and I, a group of young engineers, started our work, natural dyeing was a traditional artisan practice that had almost disappeared due to a steady shift to chemical dyeing over the last hundred years. Germany, which had originally synthesized color, out of which chemical technologies were born in the 1880s, had turned full circle in the 1980s, banning the import of chemical dyed fabric from India for being environmentally toxic. As part of the effort to cater to the new market for sustainable dyeing practices, we followed Chandramouli Sir, as he was referred to, as he traveled around the villages of Andhra Pradesh reintroducing natural dye practices to weaver groups. He inspired from the artisans love and frustration in equal parts; the love came from his sharing of deep knowledge of their material world, and frustration as he was always leaving out a critical ingredient as he taught them from his recipes, encouraging their natural tendency to tinker with the recipe. Odellu, in Chinnur, in the state of Telangana, was one of the first weavers who turned natural dyer, along with his other colleagues, the members of the weavers’ society, through relearning these practices by mastering the recipes. The weavers themselves could only recall very faintly a time when dyeing practices and materials were “natural.” While most of the knowledge of the technology was lost, some of the practices still existed, but there was not enough understanding of why certain practices and not others had survived. The recipe became key for bridging the gap between knowledge of the past and the present, through efforts of scholars like Chandramouli.
Preparing yarn for dyeing. Craft and Innovation Workshop, Kalakshetra 2016

Recipe 2: Katha, Acasia catechu

Color: Brown

For one kilogram of yarn 15 percent Katha by weight of yarn: 150 grams of Katha 1 percent copper sulfate or neeli thutham by weight of Katha: 1.5 grams of CuSO₄ Boil twenty liters of water, and add powdered Katha. Stir for twenty minutes, add copper sulfate, and dissolve well. Once the color is boiled well for twenty minutes, immerse one kilo of prewashed, moistened cotton yarn into the dyebath. Turn regularly for forty-five minutes for even dyeing. Squeeze excess water out. Wash in cold water until all excess color runs out. Dry in shade.
This was the recipe that that we fieldworkers followed, learned from Chandramouli, to dye wool in the color brown. In Eluru, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the carpet weaver Mastan recorded the following recipe for the same color, explicating the difference between the algorithmic language adopted by the engineer and the heuristics of the craftsperson. first, make sure you have enough washed yarn for a full day’s dyeing. Powder the dye material, so that there are no lumps, because these will stick to the yarn, and cause spots that will show up only when the yarn is dry. The quality of the Katha tends to be inconsistent, so don’t worry if you end up using too much, it is the colour that matters, not the recipe. Of course, you can only match the colour to a sample if you are experienced enough to know how the colour you see on wet yarn will look, when dry, so keep your eyes peeled, and always look at the colour when wet and then again when dry. Once the colour is cooked, dip your yarn into the dyebath immediately; overcooking the colour makes it dull. Measurements by volume are easier than by weight, so make a mental reminder to yourself on the sizes of the containers you use.Personal notes from natural dyes workshop, 1992.
This second description of the process reads as a string of solutions crafted together for problems encountered in practice. There is no separation of material and process. Unlike the first recipe, there is no linearity in the narrative: dyeing is repeated time and again until the color is right. This becomes clear when the weaver writes, “always look at the color when wet and then again when dry”—an implicit pointer to the problem-solving nature of learning while doing. The dyer instead points to time cycles—for example, one has to wait for wet yarn to dry to gauge evenness, but on the other hand, once dry, it is too late to rectify the color; you have to have paid attention when wet. The structure that this kind of time imposes on the weaver’s recipe is quite different from the structure of the first recipe for Katha. The first uses language of percentages and unit weights and seemingly universal measures that communicate easily to other engineers. The weaver on the other hand seems not to deal with “facts” but reports on the process in a “natural” manner. But on closer observation, he too records information that functions to stabilize color. The difference in the two recipes is obtained from the nature of differences between what counts as knowledge for the engineer and for the craftsperson. It was only in the interaction between engineer and weaver as we worked together to reproduce color that the validity of both recipes as performing the same function was demonstrated. In the end, the final recipe evolved into a mix of the two, incorporating numbers but using measures that weavers were familiar with, rather than percentages and kilograms. Thus, a recipe was standardized both for a unit of one kilogram as well as in terms of warp length and weight. Rather than the engineer’s recipe becoming the source of explicit knowledge, with the craft process becoming tacit procedural knowledge, the new recipe as text comes to mediate different ways of knowing.
Recipe for Red, Chevalikudi Yarn being dyed. Craft and Innovation Workshop, Kalakshetra 2016

Recipe 3: Danima, Punica granatum

Color: Yellow

For one warp of yarn of 4.5 kilograms 50 percent Danima by weight of yarn: 2.25 kilograms of Danima 10 percent myrobalam solution or karakkai by weight of yarn: 450 grams 20 percent alum by weight of Danima by weight of yarn: 900 grams Stage 1: Wash the yarn well Stage 2: Pretreat with myrobalam for fastness Stage 3: Mordant with alum for color fixing Stage 4: Dye in Danima dye solution Stage 5: Wash and rinse well and dry in shade
The next step in reinventing natural dyeing as new technology was to mobilize the recipes to other locations and dyeing groups. Yet, each place had its own particularity of dye materials, mordants, water, and conditions for dyeing. What then constituted a valid recipe that could travel? Salim, a driver by profession who would go on to become a master indigo dyer, would chauffeur K. V. Chandramouli as we traveled village to village, looking for artisans willing to experiment with natural dyes. On one such trip, Salim noticed that Chandramouli was adding something to the dyebath rather furtively, and came back anxiously to report: “The artisans think the old man is not revealing his secrets, and I now begin to think so too . . . He is adding things without telling us.” When quizzed Sir, as we referred to him, about it, he chuckled merrily and said, “I should have guessed Salim would see. I’m not adding anything new, just adjusting some quantities, because though I give you a standard recipe, sometimes the dyebath needs more than I initially thought.” It became apparent to the artisans and to Salim that there was no perfect recipe; so there could be no perfect translation of color from paper to yarn. The recipe had to be tinkered with each time, even as it provided broad guidelines. Practices of reading archives and writing made text became important both as the source of the recipe as well as the mode of documentation for the trial recipes that were being worked out. Salim, who was illiterate but had enough letters to use them as a memory aid, provided an important link in shaping the structure of the recipe. In his practice, the recipe, as we see above, became a sequence of actions; it was not limited to materials and quantities, but focused also on stages of dyeing—washing, pretreatment, mordanting, dyeing, washing—using local variants that would still make for fast and deep colors.
Recipe for Red, Chevalikudi Yarn drying after dyeing. Craft and Innovation Workshop, Kalakshetra 2016

Recipe 4: Chevalikudi, Rubia tinctoria

Color: Red

For one kilogram of yarn 50 percent Chevalikudi by weight of yarn: 500 grams of Chevalikudi 10 percent myrobalam solution or karakkai by weight of yarn: 100 grams 20 percent alum by weight of Chevalikudi by weight of yarn: 200 grams For a warp length of ___ meters, the yarn required for warp would be ___ kilograms, and weft would be ___ kilograms. Fifteen days before the current warp being woven is due to finish, yarn has to be washed and mordanted in myrobalam solution. The yarn has to rest for at least ten days, in a cool dark place, before being dyed in Chavalikudi, on yarn pretreated with alum mordant, for good color.
In teaching natural dyes to beginners, Chandramouli had simplified the original recipes, extracted from the routines of weavers from almost a century ago. For instance, there was no longer a daily visit to the river to wash clothes and yarn; the recipes had to be modified to work without flowing water. Similarly, the pretreatment of yarn with myrobalam was substituted with the addition of alum into the dyebath, to fix the color. Indeed, since the weavers of Chinnur had started with the easy ways of dyeing, it became very difficult to convince them of the need to pretreat the yarn before dyeing. As a result, it was Salim who pretreated the yarn in myrobalam before the dyeing, in his own dyehouse in Hyderabad. This yarn was then sent to Chinnur, overnight on a bus, to be dyed by the weavers. The colors were immediately more fast and, quite unexpectedly, much brighter. Odellu, the weaver in Chinnur who led the group, conceded that it was important to pretreat the yarn in myrobalam, and they started the process themselves. But very soon there were complaints from the customers: the colors were much less bright and were not fast. Salim could not explain it: the process was the same, the dye materials the same, yet the color was not. It was Odellu who solved the problem: “I wondered what it was that a bus ride from Hyderabad to Chinnur could do for the yarn that I could not! And I realized that the yarn needed to rest, to let the myrobalam do its work on it.” He used this insight to improve the other colors too. For example, since Katha has tannin, the material in myrobalam that fixes color on cotton yarn, it benefits from curing post-dyeing; Chevalikudi, by contrast, needs to be mordant with tannin from myrobalam prior to dyeing. Like Salim, Odellu understood dyeing in the practical terms of active physical engagement, but he also understood periods of rest; what the archival records called “curing.” Interestingly, the processes of waiting and curing, strikingly new to the recipe writers in the beginning, quickly entered the practice of all the dyers and weavers. Conversely, it disappeared again from the explicit recipe of dyeing. Since all mordanted yarn was automatically cured for fifteen days before dyeing, it was not considered necessary to mention curing times in the recipe, and it instead became part of the common knowledge of dyeing practice. In a span of ten years following our initial natural dyeing experiment in the 1990s, more than a hundred different crafts groups started dyeing using natural materials, servicing a growing set of new domestic customers who valued it as a sustainable and green technology of production.
This essay started with a recipe of Sir George Watt, a botanist and administrator in British India in the 1880s. The economic dictionaries within which this recipe, along with many others, was recorded were shaped by medical and biological taxonomiesPeter H. Hoffenberg, An Empire on Display: English, Indian, and Australian Exhibitions from the Crystal Palace to the Great War (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).
and intended to systematize native knowledge. In reviving natural dye technologies more than a century later, the use of these texts as propositional knowledge—a set of formal rules and facts gained through reading and instruction—formed only part of the expertise of natural dyes. To completely retrieve this expertise, the texts needed to be accompanied by full immersion in the way of life of traditional dyeing practices of weavers and dyers. This resulted in the reinvention of traditional natural dye practices as new technology, one with its own protocols, knowledge, and, finally, market standards. But does this crafting of color count as explicit knowledge? How does the informal, constantly evolving recipe help us think about ways for theorizing such embodied practice? Craftspeople struggle with the opposition between practice-based craft knowledge and text-based scientific theories, within which their knowledge is perceived as being less valid and valuable. Instead, thinking of the recipe as a metaphor leads to a way of understanding theory other than as propositional text—theory as a conceptual framework of bodily memory learned over time as habituated craft, “because what’s taken for granted is what counts.W. Brian Arthur, How Growth Builds upon Growth in High-Technology (Belfast: Northern Ireland Economic Development Office, 2002), 8.
Thus, when innovating weavers do not use the intermediate stage of converting their intention into a text, or a plan, or a drawing, but rather invoke the bodily memory gained through previous trials to turn out the innovation being sought. It is the same with indigo dyers, who, given strict instructions by the master to turn the yarn in the vat fifty times, regulate their breath and allow their body to remember the count rather than count aloud, instead focusing their attention on the quality of the color.
Indigo dyeing. Malkha Dyehouse, Moody Chetanand 2014

Science and its theories are generally perceived as existing within a realm of ideas, and written texts become the carriers of these across time and space.Pamela H. Smith, “The Matter of Ideas in the Working of Metals in Early Modern Europe,” in The Matter of Art: Materials, Practices, Cultural Logics, c. 1250–1750, ed. Christy Anderson, Anne Dunlop, and Pamela H Smith (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015), 42–67.
Texts serve the purpose of “proof,” or validation, developing abstract thought through fostering an internal monologue;Pamela H. Smith, “Why Write a Book: From Lived Experience to the Written Word in Early Modern Europe,” German Historical Institute Bulletin, no. 47 (2010): 25–50.
they are perceived to be opposite to hands-on experience, and yet practice can always override them and rewrite them.Pamela H. Smith, “In the Workshop of History: Making, Writing, and Meaning,” Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture 19, no. 1 (2012): 4–31.
Just as formal theory bears knowledge through a process of meaning making that travels between people, places, and time, so do the recipes of craft practice. Just like formal theory, they function as “immutable mobiles,” mechanisms by which knowledge can be stabilized into products that can be physically mobilized.Bruno Latour, “Visualization and Cognition: Thinking with Eyes and Hands,” Knowledge and Society: Studies in the Sociology of Culture Past and Present, no. 6 (1986): 1–40.
In this concept of knowledge, theory is knowledge that is stabilized between different iterations of practice—of reflexive practice of the same individual, in the transfer of practices between different groups, and memory practices between past and present. Thus we come to understand a craft notion of knowledge, where theory is never disembedded from its materiality. Instead, knowledge is always in the process of becoming embodied, realized in its entirety only when it is practiced—in this case, to craft color.
© all images: the author