Episode 2, Technology and Bodies

Podcast deep-diving into the messy entanglement of bodies and technologies. With special guests: Dasha Ilina, Joseph Wilk and Joana Chicau.

In this second episode of our Control Shift podcast, we chat about technology and bodies. Sometimes technologies can seem abstract, cold and removed from the messy fleshiness of our physical bodies. Through the digital realm, we can end up viewing bodies as objects with our own body data being harvested and quantified. It’s rare that technologies are designed to celebrate and include different bodies and different ways of knowing the world through our physical or embodied practices.

Part of what we try to do with our Control Shift programmes is to create experiences that acknowledge and celebrate the fact that we are always engaging with technology through our body, that every body and mind is different and remembering that bodies and minds are connected. We think that experiences which include and foreground our own and other bodies can prompt new ways of thinking and feeling about technology.

In this podcast, Control Shift Co-director Martha King is joined by three artists who all engage with the topic of bodies and technology in their work:

Dasha Ilina brings her perspective from her artistic practice including ‘Center for Technological Pain’ which explores DIY solutions to health problems caused by digital technologies. Dasha also organises a summer school called No School Nevers which focuses on a critical perspective of information and communications technology. 

Joseph Wilk shares learnings from his art practice which includes live coding, music, dance, theatre and more. His creative process is strongly impacted by his experience of disability, living with pain, physical limitations, disillusionment and disconnection from society.

Joana Chicau shares perspectives from her work across user experience, interface design, workshops and performative events, as well as her current PhD research into how fair data practices and digital rights can inform the design of algorithmic experience in digital products.

Together, Martha, Dasha, Joseph and Joana chat about everything from nausea-inducing experiences of virtual reality and the power imbalance this creates to the complex relationship of our bodies being dependent on machines.

Listen to the podcast embedded above or via Soundcloud or Spotify.

Read the full transcript here.

Links to resources mentioned in the podcast:

03:34 – Dasha mentions No School Nevers, where she met Control Shift co-director Becca
09:13 – Joseph refers to his past works like Wheeltrails
13:17 – Joana mentions an artist who inspires her called Yvonne Rainer
13:46 – Joana mentions another artist who inspires her, Augusto Boal
14:02 – Joana mentions Theatre of the Oppressed, created by Augusto Boal
14:51 – Dasha mentions her Centre for Technological Pain project.
16:01 – Dasha mentions artist Stelarc creating different extensions of the body.
16:25 – Dasha mentions her project, Are You Watching?
16:49 – Dasha mentions her project, Let Me Fix You
23:25 – Dasha mentions Scientific Management created by Frederick Winslow Taylor
31:23 – Joseph references Ursula Franklin’s talk, ‘The Real World of Technology’ – PDF available here and recordings here.
37:53 – Joseph mentions an artist called Natalee Decker and their project Crip Fantasies

Thanks to our funders Innovate UK for making this podcast possible, and to podcast editor Keziah Wenham-Kenyon.

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