Paradoxes of post-digital activism in art, design and architecture

  • Daniel Hora
Keywords: Aesthetic disruption, Post-digital technologies, Critical theory and making, Speculative design, Hacker art activism


Post-digital technological context re-establishes the dynamics of confluence
between the political and the artistic. Experimental challenges based on informational
devices, collaborative networked processes and generative automation turn into prominent
features in some activist practices in art, design and architecture. However, some
paradoxes persist over the possibilities of intermediation between two perspectives: the
functional heteronomy of applied arts and the aesthetic regime of autonomy in contemporary
art. In this paper, we will review discussions about critical and insurgent power
found in double-edged technological approaches, sometimes moving from aesthetical
to utilitarian effects, sometimes going in the opposite direction. We will make reference
to art projects of hacker activism and speculative design and architecture. As a closing
proposal to articulate these strands, we will present the concept of critical in-utensil.


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