Machine love?

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Description cultural studies research project on practices of programming and creativity
Has website http://www.ixdm.ch/portfolio/machine-love/, http://machinelove.ixdm.ch/?page_id=13
Persons working on Machine love
Self-organized sessions create self-organized session
Located at village C-base
Other projects...

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Machine Love? is a (post-)anthropological research project. As part of my fieldwork, I would like to get in touch with people to talk about the practices of programming, creativity, and working conditions. While every conversation is valuable to my research, I am also looking for interesting projects to visit.


Machine Love? represents an attempt to get a grip on cultural transformations in underground electronic music production and software engineering via the investigation of changes in infrastructural, material and technological conditions of labour induced by visions of creative economies. While we do agree with and depart from Marion von Osten’s diagnosis that the creative economies as outlined in strategy papers of European governments drafted in the late 1990s have to date only partly materialized (von Osten 2007), we think that the creative imperative has had considerable impact on cultures of production in the selected fields. We comprehend contemporary understandings of ‘creative’ practice to be entangled especially with, e.g. media of collaboration (infrastructural), based on affective relations with materials, and framed by the technological generation and exploitation of intellectual property.

The two subprojects of Machine Love? have been conceptualized in order to find new ways of researching contemporary cultures of production. We seek to be empirical by combining historical (forensic) investigation, ethnographic techniques and practice-based experience to gather evidence and make research public. It is our goal to contribute to the ongoing anthropology of late-modern societies in cultural studies and social science and to be faithful to experience by modifying our tools in deliberations with our objects.


Comeback of the Black Art?

The NATO Conference on Software Engineering in 1968 was a milestone in transforming software development into a systematic and scientific endeavour. In the aftermath the hitherto creative or even artistic ‘black art’ of coding was reorganized and domesticized under the paradigm of business administration and management. As a consequence of the emergence of the so-called creative industries, new economy and startup culture, software development became reframed as creative work as well.

In the light of software culture’s historical genealogy, the research project aims at investigating concrete media cultures of software development within specific institutions of the creative sector. Which ‘creative’ practices become effectuated in the ‘technical’ everyday work of developers in the design of computer games, productivity tools or audio software? How is collaboration within interdisciplinary teams shaped by the material conditions of work and the media being used? In which ways do economical models of production and the code the center of these processes correspond and inform specific cultural structures?