Disassembler Roundtable: De-tooling Intimacy

The story of human evolution is the story of tools, technology, and the power structures that emerged from their instrumentalization. Technology that facilitates fundamental practices of living form their own kind of intimacy—one as close and familiar as our bodies. How do your tools shape your experience of intimacy? This exercise and discussion are an invitation to de-tool the activities and processes we find most familiar. Through reconnecting with dirt, stones, and our collective pasts, we will draw on the ways the oldest tools changed and complicated human cognition and formed modern societies, cultures, and power dynamics.

About the Disassembler Roundtable Series 
Facilitated by Melanie Hoff and in tandem with Maria Antelman Disassembler, this three-part series of participatory roundtables will draw on themes of hypnosis as a tool for control and liberation, techno-animism, and the spiritual intimacy of interface. Together we will ask, what are the physical and psychological impacts of automation processes on the individual and society?

Melanie Hoff is an artist and educator examining the role technology plays in social organization and reinforcing hegemonic structures. Hoff studies how platforms and processes — including algorithms, data collection, social media, networks, simulation, and ritual — yield distinct modes of seeing, thinking, and feeling, structure social organization, and reinforce existing systems of power. They write software, lead experimental workshops, teach Critical Interaction Design at Rutgers University, are an organizer and teacher at the School for Poetic Computation, is a founding member of the Cybernetics Library, and Summer 2019 Tech Resident at Pioneer Works.

TRYTOBEGOOD (Fei Liu) is a designer, artist, educator, and writer investigating the opposing realities of our techno-social everyday. Her work questions how digital interfaces and networked technologies construct new futures, facilitate and fragment intimacy, and create opportunities while maintaining inequality. Currently, Fei is exploring robotics and the automation of care as an artist in residence at NOKIA Bell Lab’s Experiments in Art and Technology program. In 2014, Fei received an MFA from Parson’s Design and Technology, where she currently teaches. Previous residencies includes Researcher in Residence at NEW INC and the Digital Solitude fellowship at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany.