Reading and Thinging

The first Reading and Thinging meeting happened last night. This is an open-ended project started by lab residents Radamés Ajna and Thiago Hersan, and PhD researchers Alex Pearl and Sam Skinner from Manchester Metropolitan University.

At its core, it’s a way to combine practical thinking with philosophical and academic research in a fun and informal way. Hoping to map people’s interests in the areas of philosophy, science, technology and art, and build connections between people’s practices and processes.

Most of the people that came last night are interested in art, but we had people with backgrounds and practices in literature, education, performance, science and design. It seems like there’s enough interest to keep this going on a monthly basis and collectively coming up with ways to share the group’s activities. Websites, publications, manifestos, exhibitions were all mentioned as possibilities, but it’s too early to tell. Let’s Read and Thing some more first!

For the first meeting, we suggested texts that explore the ideas of New Materialism and Posthumanism by Donna Haraway, Karen Barad and Iris van der Tuin. Some of these are quite involved, and even though not everybody read every text, we were able to present the basic concepts in the texts and use them to talk a little bit about the exhibition — Follow — that is on display at FACT.

Alex did a great job at summarizing Donna Haraway’s metaphor of the Cat’s Cradle as a method for combining, entangling and knotting different fields of intersecting research when thinking about Technoscience. In short, it doesn’t make sense to keep discussions about Science only between scientists, and what is considered “science” has to be analyzed with its many socio-political-economical implications and assumptions.

We even got to play analog Cat’s Cradle with strings and hands !