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POLITICS BEYOND TECHNOLOGY

fabricating a future

GENEVA
6-7 MAY ʻ19
| BEIRUT
OCTOBER ʻ19

Convenors:
Jonathan Luke Austin
Anna Leander
www.politicsbeyond.tech
Grow up as good revolutionaries. Study
hard so that you can master technology,
which allows us to master nature.
Remember that it is the revolution
that is important, and each one of
us, alone, is worth nothing.
- Che Guevara
Throughout history, the emergence of novel
technologies has disoriented political
imaginations. With each ‘great leap forward’
in the organisation of society, those who
participate in, study, or simply ‘live with’
both local and global politics find them-
selves at sea. Empires have disintegrated,
nations regressed, wars begun, and individu-
al human beings been liberated or crushed
at the whim of the largely unpredictable,
exogenous, and fundamentally surprising
emergence of technology. And today we
seem to be living through a new era of such
technological flux. Despite their apparent
contemporary dominance, the spectres of
the nation state, banking systems, military
organisations, media conglomerates, and
beyond seem to be being unhinged by the
rise of a new set of radical technologies.

By exploring technologies including


algorithmic machine learning, digital fabrica-
tion, blockchain (beyond its financial appli-
cations), and virtual reality infrastructures,
Politics Beyond Technology lays out how
politics (and its study) can come to terms
with the technological. How can we avoid
being ‘all at sea’ each time social, technical,
and technological networks are reconfig-
ured? How can we co-opt the technological
to the political demands of our time? How
can we preemptively imagine technology in
political terms before it forces our hand?
How can we stop following technological
developments as they emerge and, instead,
force the technological to follow the politi-
cal, at least where we might like it to? How,
ultimately, can we “begin the crucial task of
(re)claiming a distinctly human perspective
in the face of material and technological
forces that for so many today portend the
inevitable dawn of a new, radically posthu-
man epoch”? How - in sum - can we place
politics beyond technology?

www.politicsbeyond.tech
Day One

Villa Barton, Room S4, 6th May 2019

09:30 – 10:30 Welcome and Intro


Jonathan Luke Austin, Anna Leander, and Karen Lund Petersen

Collective Discussion
10:30 – 11:30 What is Fabrication?

11:30 – 11:45 Coffee

11:45 – 12:45 Application Demonstration


Fabricating World Politics
Jonathan Luke Austin and Anna Leander

12:45 – 14:00 Lunch

Academic-Practitioner Dialogue
14:00 – 15:30 Fabricating Resilience
Jean-Michel Molenaar (Terre des Hommes)

Discussant: Karen Lund Petersen

15:30 – 15:45 Coffee

Panel
15:45 – 17:00 Fabrication and Risk

Risk, technology and standardisation: A tool or trap?


Odd Einar Falnes Olsen

Disruption, risk and innovation


Karen Lund Petersen

18:30 – 20:00 Keynote


Against Appified Politics
Nishant Shah

20:30 – 00:00 Dinner


Brasserie des Halles de l'île
Place de l'Ile 1, 1204 Genève
Day Two

Villa Barton, Room S4, 6th May 2019

10:00 – 10:15 Welcome Back


Jonathan Luke Austin and Anna Leander

10:15 – 11:30 Panel


Fabrication and Ethics

Ethics and the digital fabrication of security


Kristoffer Liden

Becoming Part of Law Enforcement: Social Science and Emerging Technologies


Matthias Leese

Panel
11:30 – 12:45 Fabrication and Practice

Fabrication of Political Disorder


Sirpa Virta

Hacking as a Practice of Disputing Online Surveillance


Mareile Kaufmann

12:45 – 14:00 Lunch

Panel
14:00 – 15:30 Fabrication and Technology

Politics of Error and Algorithmic Operations


Claudia Aradau and Tobias Blanke

Black Boxes and Meaningful Human Control


Rune Saugmann Andersen

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee

Closing discussion
16:00 – 17:00 Fabrication and IR

20:00 – 00:00 Dinner


Le Mexicain
Rue des deux-ponts 3, 1205 Geneve