December 12, 2022

Technologies of Critical Conscientization

Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research

Moisés Patricio, Accepted?, 2013/2022. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of Moisés Patricio.

Rodrigo Ochigame and Kai Ye, Search Atlas: Visualizing Divergent Search Results Across Geopolitical Borders (, 2021. Courtesy of Rodrigo Ochigame and Kai Ye.

Thais Monteiro, Portrait of Silvana Bahia, 2022. Courtesy of Thais Monteiro.

Ricardo Miyada, Portrait of Luciara Ribeiro, 2022. Courtesy of Ricardo Miyada.

Téo Miranda, Portrait of Naine Terena, 2022. Courtesy of Téo Miranda.

Levi Fanan, Portrait of Fernanda Pitta, 2022. Courtesy of Levi Fanan.

Gretchen Erti, Portrait of Rodrigo Ochigame, 2022. Courtesy of Gretchen Erti.

Rosana Paulino, installation detail, 2022. Ribbons, bottle, coffee, ceramics, digital image and wood. Variable dimensions. Courtesy of Rosana Paulino.

Conscientizações Críticas Tecnológicas (Technologies of Critical Conscientization, or Con/Crit/Tec), an intensive research residency and workshop at the Casa do Povo, São Paulo, Brazil.

The Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research (CAD+SR) announces that applications are now being accepted for visiting researchers to Conscientizações Críticas Tecnológicas (Technologies of Critical Conscientization, or Con/Crit/Tec), to be held April 23–May 3, 2023. CAD+SR invites applications from artists, designers, technologists, activists, and other transdisciplinary researchers. The deadline to apply is January 20, 2023, with notifications made on January 30. Con/Crit/Tec is open to 30 international participants and 30 participants based in Brazil. Applicants are invited to an information session on January 15, 2023.

Con/Crit/Tec centers the importance of alternative geographies and ontologies of consciousness regarding the digital, informational, and computational. It displaces technics from the laboratories, classrooms, and imaginaries of the Global North toward their everyday reinventions and appropriations taking place everywhere - in the gambiarras, in the antagonistic activism of artists and other communiites, the indigenous, anti-racist, and feminist on/offline technologies of resistance, the transnational human-machine translations, the alternative histories/pasts/presents of technological counter-hegemonies and archives, and other emergent reconfigurations of togetherness with more-than-human digital/technical/informational beings. The convening will remember and formulate technologies that center planetarity and pluriversality, challenging modernity/coloniality and extractivism.

Silvana Bahia (Olabi/Pretalab), Rodrigo Ochigame (Leiden University), Carlos Oliveira (Vamoss/SuperUber/UFRJ), Fernanda Pitta (MAC-USP), and Naine Terena (Itaú Cultural/Unemat) will join us as Faculty Fellows. The residency will also host numerous distinguished visiting artists and guest lecturers/facilitators, including Giselle Beiguelman, Joseph Kamaru/KMRU, Moisés Patrício, Rosana Paulino, Luciara Ribeiro, and others. Residency convenors: Dalida María Benfield (CAD+SR & Tierra Común), Christopher Bratton (CAD+SR & Aalto University), Bruno Moreschi (CAD+SR, GAIA/University of São Paulo & Tierra Común), and Gabriel Pereira (London School of Economics & Tierra Común).

In his book The Concept of Technology (2005), Brazilian philosopher Álvaro Vieira Pinto underscores the need to de-essentialize technology through a critical consciousness that emphasizes the multiplicity of contexts in which technologies are expressed and the always irreducible human labor that makes them material – especially when they appear to be immaterial. Similarly, educator Paulo Freire and geographer Milton Santos privilege critical consciousness in approaching the world and its tools, whether already available or yet to be built. It is this philosophical and political approach to the digital/technical/informational; one of conscientização—conscientization—that informs the collaborative work of the residency.

The residency will be organized around complementary research threads, including: Ancestral indigenous technologies; Brazilian digital art and technology; activist technologies through the lens of BIPOC and diasporic intellectual thought; building computers from non-rational computational approaches; and translations between machines, humans, and more-than-humans, seeking to expand, problematize, and rethink the communication tools we need.

The site for the residency is Casa do Povo, a cultural center that revisits and reinvents notions of culture, community and memory. Inhabited by a dozen different groups, movements and collectives, Casa do Povo expands the notion of culture. Its interdisciplinary, process-based programming and socially-engaged activities see art as a critical tool in an ongoing process of social transformation. Literally “The People’s House,” its work axes (memory; collective and socially-engaged practices; dialogue and involvement with its surroundings) stem from contemporary contexts in direct relation with Casa do Povo’s historical, Jewish and humanist premises. Another partner for Con/Crit/Tec is Tierra Común, which brings together scholars and activists responding to data colonialism in Latin America and beyond.

CAD+SR is an independent, international non-profit arts-based research center. Our work opens onto multiple horizons of collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry. Con/Crit/Tec builds on the Center’s ongoing research communities, including Affecting Technologies, Machining Intelligences (ATMI) (Brazil, 2020), the ATMI book (2021); as well as Un-Writing Nature I & II (Kenya & Italy); Cosmological Gardens (online & Italy); De/Archive East Africa (Kenya); Indigenous Planetary Ways of Knowing (Mexico); and Black Planetary Futures (online, South Africa & Senegal).

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