‘Engineering Care’ aimed to address the role of contemporary technologies in the generalized crisis of care experienced in the world today. Taking in mind the emergence of services and products that manifest the instrumentalisation and economization of care, the call was an open invitation to reflect upon how the politics and ethics of care change, and to underline the need for substantial and radical responses. A central question was: Which tools and infrastructures can assist in building, maintaining and repairing relationships and bonds that fell apart in the period of financial capitalism?
The numerous submitted proposals involved concepts, initiatives and prototypes that discussed how technologies can be designed or appropriated in order to overcome existing binaries, divisions or constructions, acknowledging the needs of different worlds Within this context, the four selected projects discuss the problematics of the emerging technologies of care in relation to different fields, and introduce speculative or viable alternatives. They inform, raise awareness, or address a call for collective action, and remind us of the urge to build, hack or modify systems and machinic assemblages.
Pedro Oliveira focuses on the automated systems which are being used under the guise of humanitarian care and in reality support acts of dehumanization. Following his previous work on the utilization of accent recognition software in asylum procedures, "on the apparently meaningless texture of noise" is a proposal to intervene, appropriate and repurpose the training datasets of such systems. Taking advantage of the gaps found in the systems, a new textural exploration becomes possible, offered as a technology of care and act of resistance.
Caroline Sinders developed a ‘Care bot for the Un-Caring Social Media Landscape’. As somebody who has worked a lot on the topic of online harassment, she wishes to design a care bot that can assist victims but also inform other users. The bot is built in order to discuss practices, guides and suggestions. Shedding light to behaviours and situations, it provides valuable resources and expose the lack of care and support by today’s popular platforms.
With her project 'Molecular Sex and Synthetic Love', Johanna Bruckner refers to the desires and the sex/care regimes that the contemporary economy shapes. In accordance with her artistic practice that focuses on practices of refusal and resistance, she is looking into how the heteronormative technology-led world –with its sex and care robots– can be liberated and opposed. Bruckner develops sound files for robots to be listened, used and shared, exiting the standards and norms that the system encourages.
Hanna Husberg and Agata Marzecova are examining the politics and problematics of atmospheric care. 'As Air became this number' discusses how the datafication of the urban air and the exposure of pollution data is being introduced as a form of care by governments or municipalities nowadays. The artists underline how responsibility in such cases shifts hands from the state to the citizens, and reinforces one more neoliberal form of self-care undermining reflection and collective action.