Handout: King, panel “Tracing Technoscientific Imaginaries Through Contemporary Culture”: talk website: http://queertransd.blogspot.

com/ Annual Meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S), Cleveland OH, November 5, 2011 Transdisciplinarities: queering the pitch Katie King, Women's Studies, University of Maryland, College Park/Email: katking@umd.edu Home Page: http://katiekin.weebly.com/
Queer the Pitch: “(Originally) interfere with or spoil the business of a tradesman or showman. (More recently) spoil the business at hand.'Queer' has been used as a verb meaning 'to spoil' since the early 19th century. Putting those two together we get the meaning of this little phrase....Travelling showmen and market hawkers also called the place they set out their stalls a 'pitch'. 'Queer the pitch' was frequently used it those circles, and later amongst travelling theatre groups, as meaning 'distract the paying audience from the show'. Directing the public away from one trader's business and towards one's own was an important part of street trading of any sort.” (Martin 1996-2011)

STARLIGHT RUNNER ENTERTAINMENT: TRANSMEDIA STORYTELLING: “What is transmedia? Deep media, persistent narrative, immersive storytelling, transmedia: right now, we are experiencing a moment of radical technological change, with seismic shifts in the way that entertainment is conceived, produced and distributed. Savvy companies and producers, including the creators of Lost, Star Trek and Halo are incubating concepts that are designed captivate and interact with audiences across an array of media platforms. According to Henry Jenkins, author of the seminal text, Convergence Culture: Transmedia storytelling is storytelling by a number of decentralized authors who share and create content for distribution across multiple forms of media. Transmedia immerses an audience in a story’s universe through a number of dispersed entry points, providing a comprehensive and coordinated experience of a complex story.” (Gomez 2009; Jenkins 2006) A NEW MODEL FOR MEDIA ECOSYSTEM: "That model is a complex, layered one...straddle[s] three different realms of experience: the economic, the technological, and the neurological... [It includes] • changes in the market forces that shape popular entertainment [THINK: transmedia storytelling in commercial forms of repetition and multiple commodities], • part emanates from long-term technological trends [THINK: social media and other technological platforms enabling interactive communities such as fandoms with their meta-commentary]; • and part stems from deep-seated appetites in the human brain [THINK: such as the embodied multitasking of, say, dopamine implicated in memory, learning, pleasure, attention, addiction, physical movement, trial and error practice at the edge of competence, adapting to adaptation, and so on]." (Johnson 2005: 157ff) TRANSDISCIPLINIZING KNOWLEDGE WORLDS “The epistemological challenge that transdisciplinarity presents…is profound. Forms of multi-, pluri-, and interdisciplinarity do not call into question disciplinary thinking. Transdisciplinarity does, through the principle of articulation between different forms of knowledge. Of necessity, transdisciplinary work is based on disciplinary practice. It also… makes use of multi- and interdisciplinarity. It is distinct, however, even as it is complementary…. [I]t requires that disciplinary thinking evolves to match the complexity of the issues facing science today. The realization that reality is multidimensional has implications for unity of knowledge as well. The older notion of synthesis, which perpetuated the principle that an object has only one reality whose unity must be reconstituted, is no longer possible. Transdisciplinarity requires deconstruction, which accepts that an object can pertain to different levels of reality, with attendant contradictions, paradoxes, and conflicts…. [I]ts capacity to take into account the flow of information circulating between various branches of knowledge, permitting the emergence of unity amidst diversity and diversity through the unity. A systematic and holistic approach is still possible…but in a mode of coherence rather than unity…. Transdisciplinarity was once one of many terms. It has become a major imperative across all sectors or society and knowledge domains, making it more than a fad or fashion. It has become an essential mode of thought and action.” (Klein 2004: 524) WORLD COUNTER-PARTS, A SENSORY MEDIUM AND A SENSITIVE WORLD New media infrastructures, boundary objects, and processes of learning also work across redistributed agencies, ones not located simply in the consciousness of individual humans in seeming control, but rather ones emergent across materialities of social media old and new, together with beings and economies and knowledge workers and neurobiological systems, affecting and being affected. "Thus body parts are progressively acquired at the same time that 'world counter-parts' are being registered in a new way. Acquiring a body is thus a progressive enterprise that produces at once a sensory medium and a sensitive world." (Latour 2004: 207) ON GROWTH AND DEATH OF BOUNDARY OBJECTS (Star 2010: 613-4) “Over time, people (often administrators or regulatory agencies) try to control the tacking back-and forth, and especially, to standardize and make equivalent the ill-structured and well-structured aspects of the particular boundary object.” THE TRANSCONTEXTUAL, BOUNDARY OBJECTS, COMMUNICATION TANGLES & DOUBLE BINDS Leigh Star refers to Gregory Bateson when she reflects on the origins of the concept of a boundary object: “As I delved deeper into the relations between developers and users, it became clear that a kind of communicative tangle was occurring. I used the work of

Gregory Bateson, who had studied these sorts of communicative mishaps under the heading of ‘double binds.’ As with Bateson’s work on schizophrenics, and what he called ‘the transcontextual syndrome,’ the messages that were coming at level one from the systems developers were not being heard on that level by the users and vice versa. What was obvious to one was a mystery to another. What was trivial to one was a barrier to another. Yet, clarifying this was never easy. The users liked the interface when they were sat in front of it. Yet, they did not know how to make a reliable working infrastructure out of it. They would ask the … team, who would reply in terms alien to them. I began to see this as a problem of infrastructure – and its relative nature.” (Star 2010: 610) INTENSIVE PRACTICES, knowledges, definitions, boundary work: closely negotiated among relatively bounded communities of practice; such as disciplines-in-the-making, local alliances, threatened units, long-lived organizations; emphasis on rigor and membership EXTENSIVE PRACTICES, knowledges, definitions, boundary work: speculative connections, practical coalitions, trial and error learning; such as transdisciplinary projects, transmedia storytelling, alternative practices-in-the-making; emphasis on peripheral participation and the edges of standardized practices • EXTENSIVE investigations perpendicularly analyze relative and relational shifts across authoritative and alternative knowledges • EXTENSIVE displays can work without displacing INTENSIVE work of specific communities of practice LOCAL TAYLORING AS A FORM OF WORK (Star 2010: 607) [different forms of materiality, gaps between formal representations and back-stage work] “subtly influenced the development of boundary objects in the sense of understanding local tailoring as a form of work that is invisible to the whole group and how a shared representation may be quite vague and at the same time quite useful.” TRANSBIOLOGICAL BODIES: MINE, YOURS, OURS “The transbiological body deployed here is not a singular entity, a literal referent, or a body with discrete borders and boundaries. Instead it is a prompt the contributors utilize to engage ‘trans’ and ‘biology’ and the relation between them, alongside questions of performance and performativity, animality, species modification, racialization, geography and the temporal coordinates of gender.” (Vaccaro 2011: 222) OUR SHARED INTERDEPENDENT TRANSSEX “I contend that everybody on the planet is now encompassed within the category of transgender. I illustrate this proposition by tracing some of the not-so-visible links of how this shared rearrangement of sex and re/production is unfolding. I also contend that we might be better off responding to this rearrangement, not through fear of the eco-catastrophic assumptions transsex invokes, but by embracing our shared interdependent transsex, a term that is about queering ideas of re/production, and refers to dynamic ecosystemic relations of multiple ‘bodies,’ energies, and things – animals, humans, lakes, plants, uranium, etc. – which compose broader economic re/productive relations and energies of the bioscape.” (Kier 2011: 299) The “rigor” of transcontextual feminist methods comes into play when we welcome peripheral participations (robust across sites) as well as work for an exquisite sensitivity to each horizon of possible resources and infrastructures, local exigencies, and differential memberships (plastic and local). Transcontextual feminisms as I have come to understand them, work to remain curious, even about and in the midst the affects of affiliation and disidentification, scoping extensively and scaling intensively among Ecologies of Knowledge. REFERENCES
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Bateson, G. (1972 [1969]). “Double Bind, 1969.” Steps to an ecology of mind (pp. 271-278). Chandler. Despret, V. (2004). “The Body We Care for: Figures of Anthropo-zoo-genesis.” Body & Society, 10(2-3), 111-134. Gomez, J. (2009). "The Power of Transmedia." Online video from Starlight Runner Entertainment Website. Retrieved 9 Oct, 2011, from http://starlightrunner.com/ Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: NYU. Johnson, S. (2005). Everything bad is good for you: How's today's popular culture is actually making us smarter. New York: Riverhead. Kier, B. 2010. “Interdependent ecological transsex: Notes on re/production, ‘transgender’ fish, and the management of populations, species, and resources.” Women & Performance 20/3, 299-319. Klein, J. T. (2004). “Prospects for transdisciplinarity.” Futures, 36(4), 515-526. Latour, B. 2004. “How to Talk About the Body? the normative dimension of science studies.” Body & Society 10/2-3 (June): 204-229. Online version from author's website. Retrieved February, 2009, from http://www.bruno-latour.fr/articles/article/077.html Martin, G. (1996 - 2011). “Queer the pitch.” The Phrase Finder. Retrieved 29 Oct, 2011, from http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/queer-the-pitch.html Merrick, H. (2009). The secret feminist cabal: a cultural history of science fiction feminisms. Aqueduct. National Museum of American History (1994). “Science in American Life exhibit model, 1992.” National Museum of American History photostream. Washington, DC. On Flikr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalmuseumofamericanhistory/4444058394/ Slaughter, S., & Rhoades, G. (2004). Academic capitalism and the new economy: markets, state, and higher education. Johns Hopkins. Star, S.L. 2010. “This is Not a Boundary Object.” Science, Technology & Human Values, 35/5: 601-617. Star, S.L., ed. 1995. Ecologies of Knowledge: Work and politics in science and technology. SUNY. Vaccaro, J. 2010. “’Transbiological bodies: Mine, yours, ours.’” Women & Performance 20/3 (January): 221-224.

See Katie King’s class website for SF Feminisms at: http://sffem.blogspot.com/ See Justin Dougherty's Queering the Pitch: Music for Solo Cello fundingsite at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/853261782/queering-the-pitch-music-for-solo-cello