Conference presentation Basel, 17 May 2018

Janneke Wesseling will give a presentation at the conference Critical By Design? The Potentials and Limitations of Materialized Critique, on 17-18 May 2018 at the Academy of Art and Design FHNW in Basel, Switzerland. This two-day international research conference on the capacity of design as a mode of critique offers a unique platform for the interdisciplinary discussion of critical theories and practices from a design perspective. Renowned experts from design theory, history and practice, the philosophy of technology, the art, cultural and media studies as well as the field of human-computer interaction come together to reconsider historical trajectories, advance contemporary understandings and propose future developments of design as a materialized form of critique.

In her lecture 'The device paradigm: contemporary practices in art and design', Wesseling will focus on the concept of 'device paradigm' as developed by the American philosopher Alfred Borgmann in his Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life. A Philosophical Inquiry (1984). The device paradigm locates the crucial force that more and more detaches us from the persons, things, and practices that used to engage and grace us in their own right. The more, or the more effectively, the device yields its commodities, the less visible, or present as a thing it is. This necessarily leads to a loss of engagement with the world, while at the same time the commodities become evermore shallow. What does the device paradigm mean for contemporary art and design practices? And vice versa, what can be the role of art and design in this technology driven world?