Materials for a debate on grass-roots & corporate collaborative design practices and settings | Materiales para un debate sobre prácticas y situaciones colaborativas (de base o corporativas) en el diseño
El estudio de mercado realizado en 2011 no aportaba buenos augurios. “Trabajar para la Administración Pública española en el sector urbanístico no era el mejor contexto”, dice Iñaki Romero. Les sirvió, sin embargo, para detectar el nicho que dejaba una corriente en auge: la defensa de un urbanismo más colaborativo que restituyera a los ciudadanos el concepto de plaza pública.
Y es en esa metodología participativa donde radica uno de los puntos fuertes de esta sociedad laboral que comparten a partes iguales cinco jóvenes arquitectos: Guillermo Acero, Jon Aguirre, Jorge Arévalo, Pilar Díaz e Iñaki Romero.
La experiencia previa acumulada por cada uno en estudios y oficinas al uso les alertó de otra carencia: el inmovilismo del sector. “Había que reciclarse, cambiar de proveedores y tener un enfoque más transversal y de bajo coste”. Pero también tenían que darse a conocer. Para ello apostaron por el marketing y la difusión de sus ideas antes incluso de constituir la empresa. Lo consiguieron a través de un blog con contenidos de calidad asociado a un trabajo en redes bastante potente.
The last years saw an incredible proliferation of shared machine shops in a confusing number of genres: hackerspaces, makerspaces, Fab Labs and their more commercial counterparts like TechShops, co-working spaces, accelerators and incubators. Without being comprehensive, the articles collected here address Fab Labs, hackerspaces and hacklabs, but the questions raised reach beyond the walls of each. Shared machine shops figure as the occupied factories of peer production theory – worker owned production units which often look like the perfect illustration of the revolutionary theory on first sight, yet on closer look exhibit all its contradictions. Of the phenomena customarily examined under the rubric of peer production, they are probably as close as we got to an image of a peer produced social fabric – a society of peers.
Despite the marketing clangour of the “maker movement”, shared machine shops are currently “fringe phenomena” since they play a minor role in the production of wealth, knowledge, political consensus and the social organisation of life. Interestingly, however, they also prominently share the core transformations experienced in contemporary capitalism. That is, for the individual: the convergence of work, labour and other aspects of life. Moreover, on a systemic level: the rapid development of algorithmically driven technical systems and their intensifying role in social organisation. Finally, as a corollary: the practical and legitimation crisis of modern institutions, echoed by renewed attempts at self-organisation.
Arguably, hackers occupied such an ambiguous position since the beginning of hackerdom, but shared machine shops represent a new configuration. They appear as embodied communities organised in research and production units of physical and logical goods; they even appear to escape the subcultural ghetto as they expand their collaborations to educational institutions, museums, and libraries. They are eminent laboratories in both their practices and products: as experimental forms of social institutions, and as the developers of technological prototypes projecting new visions of the future. Industry actors, state authorities and policy makers have recognised such milieus as prolific grounds for recruitment and new organisational models, which in itself warrants critical attention.
Visible mending Everyday repairs in the South West ............................................... Steven Bond, Caitlin DeSilvey & James R. Ryan In September 2010 a team of three researchers—two cultural geographers and a photographer—set out to find and visit workplaces in the South West where people repair broken things. Notebooks and cameras were the project tools, and these tools produced an extensive archive of texts and images, a selection of which are printed in this book, the culmination of eighteen months of fieldwork. The project was inspired by an attraction to the aesthetics of these workplaces, but also by an interest in what the practices of fixing, mending, repair and renewal could reveal about the way people value things, and each other. In the words of Elizabeth Spelman: “…though we do not repair everything we value, we would not repair things unless they were in some sense valuable to us, and how they matter to us shows up in the form of repair we undertake”. Bath Typewriter Service, Bath, Somerset; Cane Corner, East Budleigh, Devon; Honiton Clock Clinic, Honiton, Devon; The Cycle Centre, Barnstaple, Devon; Michael Fook Small Engine and Bicycle Repair, South Molton, Devon; Mount’s Bay Electrical, Penzance, Cornwall; Helen Warren Porcelain Repair, Budleigh Salterton, Devon; Sew-Quick, Falmouth, Cornwall; Star Shoe Repairs, Redruth, Cornwall; The Tool Box, Colyton, Devon; Thompson Brothers, Bridgwater, Somerset; New Life Upholstery, Barnstaple, Devon; F. W. Speller Boot & Shoe Repairer, Carharrack, Cornwall; The Menders, Crewkerne, Somerset; Castle Forge, Sherborne, Dorset; R. Paveley, Tailor, Fortuneswell, Dorset; Jessica Rance Woodwind Instrument Repairs, Thornmoor Cross, Devon; Biggleston’s Hardware, Hayle, Cornwall; The Abrams Bindery, Wellington, Somerset; Stick of Lostwithiel, Lostwithiel, Cornwall. Introduction by Sarah Pink, Foreword by Nick Hand. 212 illustrations in colour, 9 in black and white.
Coincidiendo con que el Guggenheim celebra la renovación por otros veinte años de su contrato con esta ciudad para terminar de desarrollar su exitoso modelo de transformación socioeconómica basado en el Capitalismo Cognitivo; ahora cuando desde lo instituido se habla (chacharea) más que nunca de creación, creatividad, innovación y emprendimiento social; nosotras en ColaBoraBora parece que nos vemos abocadas a desaparecer.
Dr. Katherine Gibson delivers the 2013 Distinguished Speaker lecture for the Centre for Co-operative and Community-Based Economy, University of Victoria, Canada. In her lecture, Dr. Gibson argues that we must broaden our understanding of the economy, and reclaim it as a human creation open to ethical intervention and political imagination.
Evgeny Morozov: The benefits of the latest innovations are overstated and often risible
Tomás Sánchez Criado's insight:
"[…] But the broader problem with these optimistic, utopian tales is that they rationalise the pathologies of the current political and economic system, presenting them as our conscious lifestyle choices. It's nice to be in a position to choose between renting and owning but this is a choice that many people simply do not get to make, settling on "renting" as a default option. Given vast youth unemployment, stagnating incomes, and skyrocketing property prices, today's sharing economy functions as something of a magic wand. Those who already own something can survive by monetising their discomfort: for example, they can earn cash by occasionally renting out their apartments and staying with relatives instead. Those who own nothing, on the other hand, also get to occasionally enjoy a glimpse of the good life – built entirely on goods they do not own. The supposed environmental benefits of the sharing economy are likewise laughable: while we are asked to share our cars with neighbours – it's cheaper and greener! – the rich keep enjoying their yachts, limos and private jets, all while the real polluters – oil companies and other industrial giants – get away with even worse offences. There's no denying that the sharing economy can – and probably does – make the consequences of the current financial crisis more bearable. However, in tackling the consequences, it does nothing to address the causes. It's true that, thanks to advances in the information technology, some of us can finally get by with less – chiefly, by relying on more effective distribution of existing resources. But there's nothing to celebrate here: it's like handing everybody earplugs to deal with intolerable street noise instead of doing something about the noise itself."
Here's an interview that Nick Ishmael-Perkins did with me last summer. Nick edited the piece for its first publication in SciDevNet, the fine web site he runs on "Bringing together science and development through original news and analysis."
As a kid I was always fascinated by my father’s work as an architect. He used to take me to building sites and explain what was going on. But I was particularly interested in how he made the plans. These he drew by hand on a huge drafting table, with a range of geometric tools. Even more amazing was the blue-print machine, which turned he drawings into inky copies, for the client, the builder and the town clerk’s office.
It was an era when an architect still gave form to the world. Buildings were made of standard parts, but were not themselves quite standard. As Rem Koolhaas shows in his magnificent book Delirious New York, you can date buildings in a city once you know how the building codes change through time, as the codes are kind of invisible envelope that the actual structures strain up against. They are almost always as tall and big as the codes would let them be, but each has its own form, shoe-horned into the grid.
That era is over. The architect today is no ‘fountainhead.’ It is rather sad to watch today’s ‘starchitects’, designing their weird-looking signature buildings. These seem now always to be either museums or condos for billionaires. The brand-name architect just build useless luxury housing for the 1% and their trinkets. The actual design of the world is now in the hands of other people.
Perhaps the decline of architecture can be mapped onto the design of politics. Or rather its redesign. The architect made buildings which carved out private space against the boundary of a public one that was in the shape of some kind of polis. It was not always a democratic one, but it was a polis that formed the platform for modes of political calculation, consensus and ‘dissensus.’ But does that polis still exist, or do we live only with its spectacle, its simulacrum?
Of particular interest here is a new book by Keller Easterling, called Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space. Following Armand Mattelart’s call for a critical history of global infrastructure, Easterling offers three case studies in new forms of built-out power, and some remarkably productive language for thinking about the kinds of built space that might be replacing those of both architecture and politics.
The Internet Of Things is coming. Rejoice! …Mostly. It will open our collective eyes to petabytes of real-time data, which we will turn into new insights and efficiencies. It will doubtless save lives. Oh, yes: and it will subtly redefine ownership as we know it. You will no longer own many of the most expensive and sophisticated items you possess. You may think you own them. But you’ll be wrong.
They say “possession is nine-tenths of the law,” but even if you physically and legally own a Smart Thing, you won’t actually control it. Ownership will become a three-legged stool: who physically owns a thing; who legally owns it; …and who has the ultimate power to command it. Who, in short, has root.
This is not a hypothetical situation. Your phone probably has three separate computers in it (processor, baseband processor, and SIM card) and you almost certainly don’t have root on any of them, which is why some people refer to phones as “tracking devices which make phone calls.” The New York Times recently ran a story about cars being prevented from starting because payments were days late. (And as CityLab points out: “Losing transportation could mean losing everything.”) Consider also the recent discovery that Belkin routers apparently had to connect to Belkin’s servers before they would connect to the rest of the Internet.
From its very beginnings modernity could be described as a social formation which values innovation. It embraces the production of new ideas, practices and technologies. The task of innovation, however, was usually carried out by specialized experts (inventors, researchers, and developers) in specialized areas (laboratories of universities, research centers, and R&D departments).
As long as only a small sector of society engages in innovation it might be an exaggeration to speak of modernity as an innovation society, but in the light of recent developments the diagnosis of an innovation society is gaining new plausibility. Innovation has become heterogeneously distributed, ubiquitous, and reflexive: Innovation is increasingly produced by decentralized networks which involve actors from divergent social fields. Innovation therefore leaves the traditional sphere of the restricted laboratory and is transformed into an ubiquitous practice which is also adopted by non-professional as well as non-commercial actors like sports enthusiasts (Baldwin, Hienerth & von Hippel, 2006), private tinkerers (Baldwin & von Hippel, 2011), or „innovation communities” in general (von Hippel, 2006: 96). Hence, the growing knowledge about innovation also leads to a reflexivity of innovation itself (Hutter et al., 2011: 2), extends the scope of innovative practices, and transforms the very processes and structures of innovation: findings from the fields of open source software (Raymond, 2001; Kogut & Metiu, 2001), crowdsourcing (Brabham, 2008; Howe, 2010), or the modes of open-/user-based innovation mentioned above show evidence for these broader transformations.
Tomás Sánchez Criado's insight:
"[…] Following recent discussions on real-life experiments in science and technology studies, we will argue that experimentation is an important feature of innovation practices. Just like innovation, experimentation has also become a ubiquitous, heterogeneously distributed and reflexive practice. Especially in the recently emerged community- and peer-based forms of production, the freedom to experiment plays a major role. In contrast to the limitations of experiments embedded in hierarchies and the imperatives of formal organizations, peer communities provide settings where actors are primarily intrinsically motivated and free to join and leave these communities and this is likely to cause an increased freedom to experiment. We suggest that experimental practices are not something that happens in addition to other things going on in peer production contexts, but that peer production itself is a real-life-experiment in societal transformation."
"[…] Shared machines shops (SMS) are a perfect example of these new laboratory spaces. They embody the values of ubiquitous, heterogeneously distributed and reflexive experimentation. They provide new laboratory infrastructures outside of hierarchical organizations while being embedded in the digital and fluid networks of a new experimental culture. However, like social studies on laboratory life have shown, the boundaries between the laboratory and the rest of society are not absolute (Latour, 1983). We use two examples of innovations in shared machined shops (low-cost-prosthesis and open hardware 3D printers) to demonstrate that peer production as a new form of innovation is still in a fragile niche phase. It is surrounded by an innovation regime that implicates commercial logics and patterns of market regulation and thus reveals tensions with the particular practices of experimental exploration which are constitutive for the open and community-based approach of SMS."
"[…] Shared machine shops […] are framed as nuclei of collaborative grass-roots fabrication that could revolutionize and democratize manufacturing or may even replace capitalist patterns of production and consumption (Smith et al., 2013: 4). But are shared machine shops actually the constitutive elements of a new industrial revolution (Anderson, 2012), or will they remain idiosyncratic niches? We think that it is still too early to answer a question like this. Maybe the question itself is wrongly phrased. In this paper we will offer a different perspective on shared machine shops. These workshops can be taken as experimental settings where new visions, practices, and technologies are developed, tested, and refined. SMS are laboratories of a new kind. These laboratories are neither detached from society, nor are they only accessible for professionals. Instead, shared machine shops are real-life laboratories"
"[…] It might be wrong, however, to identify experiments with pure […] science in the first place. In his analysis of the relation between experiments and modernity, Krohn (2007) has shown that the semantics of experimentation can be found in heterogeneous contexts of modern life such as experimental literature, wars (as contexts for the experimental use of new weapons) and experimental forms of urban development. In all these contexts the term “experiment” is used to designate systematic learning practices by means of specific technical or social installations. Learning is not used as a normative term here, but as an analytical concept. Learning occurs if individuals or social systems break with established routines and create something new"
"[…] In experiments, social, technical and/or natural conditions are ordered and arranged in a specific way to encourage this kind of learning from irritations, and hence the establishment of new routines.
It is this systematic approach to learning by means of remodeling (material or immaterial) conditions that distinguishes experiments from those practices of trial and error that occur in everyday life on a regular basis, and sometimes even unintentionally. Experiments allow it to try something new and risky, and to accept the occurrence of failure. Furthermore, experimental settings make it possible to learn from those mistakes in a systematic manner. Experiments, therefore, combine an amount of freedom and control not usually found outside experimental settings."
"[…] In innovation societies the need for experimental learning has widely increased. In cases like genetic field experiments, prototyping in research and development, or beta releases of software products, experiments become real-life experiments (Krohn, 2007; Groß et al., 2003): Real-life experiments take place outside scientific laboratories. They don’t follow the logic of isolation and purification of laboratory experiments and typically include actors outside professional scientific contexts. Their objective is not the generalization of natural laws but the exploration of specific cases (Krohn, 2007: 349-354). Groß even suggests that nowadays controlled laboratory experiments have become the exception, while real-life experiments have become the norm (Groß, 2013: 196)"
"[…] Laboratories are not only closed rooms detached from the rest of society, they can be all kinds of (more or less protected) spaces in which the arrangements necessary for experimentation can be installed. Hence, laboratories are not only places in which facts are produced and reproduced but also – and maybe foremost – places that facilitate installations and constellations which enable irritation and learning (which again may or may not form the basis of new facts)."
"[…] In environmental science the concept of real-life laboratories (Schneidewind & Scheck, 2013) was recently developed to describe semi-protected spaces that are established for experiments between knowledge generation and knowledge application; where new kinds of socio-technical practices are developed and tested. A real-life laboratory is neither a closed room, designed to control all relevant experimental boundary conditions, nor a borderless space like “society”, “the market” or the “internet”. Real-life laboratories instead create a semi-open spatial and social microcosm, where failures are allowed, irritations are welcome, and learning is encouraged.
An important feature of real-life laboratories is their transdisciplinarity and openness. Not only certified experts can gain access to these places. They are rather spaces that encourage the interaction of experts and so-called “lay persons”, who might indeed be (uncertified) “experts” as well and who can contribute to ongoing real-life experiments. In the closed space of traditional laboratories in universities and R&D departments of firms, the presence of these non-certified experts would usually not be allowed (at most as “subjects” of an experiment or “visitors” to the laboratory) and their knowledge would be excluded from the processes of innovation, experimentation and collaborative learning (Collins & Evans, 2002)."
"[…] In their study of research “in the wild”, Callon and Rabeharisoa (2003) have shown that there is no intrinsic difference between expert knowledge and lay knowledge. “It would, for example, be wrong to say that the former are explicit and codified while the latter are tacit, or that the former are formalized while the latter are informal. Everything depends on the equipment used on both sides and, more broadly, the conditions “in which the expertise is produced” (ibid.: 196). Real-life laboratories can be conceived as laboratories “in the wild” in which the boundaries between expert and lay knowledge can get blurred even more, because real-life laboratories might provide the equipment and conditions for knowledge production typically associated with the world of scientific expertise."
"[…] Shared machine shops constitute a new environment for exploration in various fields of technology- and design-related topics […] typically organized around community-based principles […] participation depends rather on common interests, shared values, and intrinsic motivation than on disciplinary boundaries and professions. Following this approach, shared machine shops offer new opportunities for collaboration and co-operation among heterogeneous actors that contribute their particular expertise and visions to any given context of shared interest. This often causes creative friction, which may either lead to small-scale inventions that serve the personal needs of its inventors, but in some cases also fosters solutions that could gain innovative momentum outside the shared machine shop, and beyond the initial motivations of the actors involved".
"[…] Compared to visions that take SMS as forerunners of a new industrial revolution (Anderson, 2012), our interpretation of SMS as real-life laboratories offers a different framing. Innovations in shared machine shops are a step closer to the laboratory “world on probation” (Krohn, 2007: 348, translated by the authors) than to the sphere of production. To expect them to overthrow centralized forms of industrial production might therefore demand too much of these still fragile niches which have to handle the ambivalence between experimental freedom and socio-economic pressures."
Acumular conocimientos puede ser la clave de la libertad o una forma sofisticada de privación de la misma, si el aprendizaje es impuesto para aprovecharse como fuerza de trabajo. Algo así debió ocurrir a principios del siglo XIX, cuando la Revolución Industrial introdujo la necesidad de afinar y pulir las habilidades de los obreros que operaban las máquinas, así como de especializar la formación de aquellos que las diseñaban y las mantenían en orden de funcionamiento.
La financiación de este aprendizaje, si es interesada, podría ser contemplada como una inversión de la que obtener un rendimiento económico. Entre 1820 y 1840, algunas organizaciones obreras del Reino Unido identificaron de esta manera una sutil modalidad de explotación. Hicieron seguidamente una distinción entre los "saberes útiles", la ingeniería, la física, o la química, y "otra clase de filosofía, otras pedagogías orientadas a saber dónde estamos y que otro tipo de relaciones son posibles".
Así lo ha explicado a RTVE.es Manuel Borja-Villel, director del Museo Reina Sofía donde este martes se ha presentado la exposición Un saber realmente útil. La muestra puede visitarse entre entre los días 28 de octubre y 9 de febrero y propone la experiencia artística, la creación de arte y su consumo, como dinámica de aprendizaje en tanto que se trata de un fenómeno transformador de la persona y generador de ideología "empoderando a quienes están privados del habla", ha añadido el director.
Richard Stallman, uno de los 'hackers' más conocidos y con más autoridad del mundo, responde a una pregunta del Navegante: ¿Qué piensa acerca de que el diccionario de la Real Academia Española recoja la palabra inglesa 'hacker' definida como 'pirata informático'? El padre del sistema GNU y máxima autoridad mundial del 'software' libre no sólo piensa que la definición no debería ser ésa -la definición inglesa es mucho más amplia-, sino que critica a la RAE por el uso de programas privativos en su sitio web.
For decades tourists have marveled at monumental dams of the American West. These days they trace infrastructures like satellite communications and nuclear waste transport.
Tomás Sánchez Criado's insight:
"[…] Lisa Parks suggests that it is our duty as infrastructural “citizen/users” to be aware of the “systems that surround [us] and that [we] subsidize and use,” and she proposes that we “devise ... ways of visualizing and developing literacy about infrastructures and the relations that take shape through and around them.” In her study of so-called "antenna trees” — cell phone towers tricked up to look like trees — she wonders: “Are there ways of representing cell towers that will encourage citizens to participate in sustained discussions and decisions about network ownership, development, and access?” We might pose similar questions about other infrastructures. Can we devise ways to map these systems so as to reveal, as Parks suggests, how they inform "neighborhood aesthetics, health and property values," and environmental protection; how they permit or deny access to resources; and how they shape our daily experience — and even structure a new mode of infrastructural existence? We should consider too the variety of infrastructures we citizen/users need to be aware of and to understand. First used in the mid-1920s to refer to roads, tunnels and other public works, as well as permanent military structures, the term "infrastructure" is often instantiated as the asphalt roadways and steel rails that were typically national (often military) initiatives, and which ultimately broadened into systems that connected entire continents." "[…] Star and Bowker suggest too that infrastructure is inevitably a flexible term, often defined with regard to context and situation. They describe infrastructure as “that which runs ‘underneath’ actual structures ... that upon which something else rides, or works, a platform of sorts”; but then acknowledge that “this common-sense definition begins to unravel when we ... look at multiple, overlapping and perhaps contradictory infrastructural arrangements. For the railroad engineer, the rails are only infrastructure when she or he is a passenger.” In other words, Infrastructure can easily flip between figure and ground. Quoting Gregory Bateson, Star and Bowker suggest that an infrastructure is a “relationship or an infinite regress of relationships. Never a ‘thing.' How to map such large and sophisticated phenomena — such "non-things"? In Alien Phenomenology, the media scholar/game designer Ian Bogost recommends several ways to describe our new networked, infrastructural existence, including ontography, which can encompass “the many processes of accounting for the various units that strew themselves throughout the universe." To create an ontograph, Bogost says, you need "to [catalogue] things” — through verbal and visual lists, for instance — and "also [to draw] attention to the couplings and chasms between them,” thus revealing how these things “exist not just for us but also for themselves and for one another.”" "[…] We might also explore whether there are other ways — again to reference Bogost — to account for infrastructural units and operations that don’t easily translate into more conventional, or visual, graph formats" "[…] Invisible-5 aims to "investigate the stories of people and communities fighting for environmental justice along the I-5 corridor, through oral histories, field recordings, found sound, recorded music, and archival audio documents.” […] Invisible-5 is not simply about "making visible the invisible" — not just about focusing our attention upon the oil derricks and cattle ranches, the pesticides and pollutants; as Scott says, the tour attempts to link "those who travel along the interstate corridor to those who live there”; the ultimate goal is "to intervene in the unjust conditions at hand.” […] one of the goals of Invisible-5 is, in her words, to “disrupt coherent representations of space, simultaneously highlighting the fragmentary nature of knowledge itself and critiquing, for instance, the God’s-eye view inherent to traditional maps.”  Invisible-5 highlights what usually remains “at the periphery of visibility,” what seems illegible or even un-mappable, what might be evoked instead by the sounds bubbling below the surface, or by the personal narratives of those palpably harmed by imperceptible dangers. And by capturing its audience in motion, in an automobile with a gas-fueled, oil-burning engine driving down the expressway, Invisible-5 "implicates the user directly in land-use politics explored during the tour”; the motorist/user is, in short, perpetuating the problem" "[…] Los Angeles Urban Rangers, an art collective co-founded by Scott that develops “guided hikes, campfire talks, field kits, and other interpretive tools to spark creative explorations of everyday habitats." The Urban Rangers' mission is at once political and ontological. In a recent article, Scott and co-founding Ranger Nicholas Bauch explain it this way: “Our practice upsets the handed-down ontological categories of nature and culture. The acting out of this categorical disruption is the sine qua non of our identity.” One of their interpretive tools is to create maps that mimic the style of the U.S. National Park Service, but which aim not to clarify the geography of natural locales but instead to reveal the “tangled legal, environmental, and social histories” that shape our “natural” and cultural landscapes. In a 2006 project on the Interstate Highway System, for instance, the Rangers created a kit and a field guide; although modeled upon children’s activity books, the kit and guide were intended not to combat travel-induced boredom but rather to “facilitate sharpened observational skills for reading 21st-century roadside geographies” — e.g., to encourage engagement with the road, the car traversing it, the landscapes it passes through, the people in that landscape, etc. […] In all these ways the American Road Trip kit and guide work to frame the “highway system” as consisting not only of long ribbons of macadam and on/off ramps, but also trees, mountains, rocks, people, restaurants, signs, laws, windshields, gas mileage, standards — and the list goes on. The Rangers deploy similar methods for their other "field sites," which include Downtown L.A., Malibu Public Beaches and — the only non-U.S. site to date — SITE2F7 Ontdekkingstocht, the "last urban wilderness in the hyper-planned" Dutch city of Almere. “It is conceivable that our analyses of urban places and landscapes could be communicated solely through written publications," write Bauch and Scott. "However, the process of bringing people to the places we study ... teaches people through direct corporeal experience ... in a way that is impossible from reading alone.”" "[…] The kind of "direct corporeal experience" that the Rangers encourage often escapes, or exceeds, our sense of sight. Can we imagine tasting infrastructure and its effects in the water supply or food chain? Certainly we know that we can smell air pollution and organic byproducts in the waste-removal system; and as Nicola Twilley regularly points out in her blog, Edible Geography, olfactory perception is a key dimension of food production and distribution infrastructures. Mineral deposits in drinking water, chemical contamination of water or air, malfunctioning refrigeration on a shipping container — all have potentially sense-able consequences. At home and work we can feel the effects of our HVAC systems, and an experienced technician can sense when a cable is improperly threaded through conduit, or when a transformer is overheating. " "[…] The methods of engagement employed in projects like Invisible-5 or Repository could easily be adapted to diverse infrastructures. We could develop a field kit to trace our cell phone infrastructures, or organize a safari to track e-waste, or follow our noses to sniff out myriad nodes in global food or chemical distribution networks. But then what? What might happen after all the touring and mapping, the listening and smelling, the playing of games? What do we do with all that we have discovered and identified and sensed? So you know where your Internet lives ... now what? The ambitious intentions to “make visible the invisible” and raise awareness of imperceptible systems, much like Situationist-style dérives or interventions, can too often become ends in themselves." "[…] The more people who participate in and experience these kinds of projects, the more various will be the possible outcomes. And I would argue too that these projects create their own infrastructures — informational, social, political, creative, etc. — for further action. Mapping-as-method, touring-as-method, sensing-as-method, signaling-as-method, playing-as-method — all represent the ontological complexity of various forms of infrastructures, and encourage us to translate heightened knowledge into real meaningful action."