*Ageing companions / Geprogrammeerde veroudering / Les cyborgs
Collective worksession in Brussels, Belgium, from 17-23 June 2017
[call closes April 18]
The lifecycles of different species are linked via electronic circuits
with limited lifespan: accessories that measure biorhythms or monitor
the growth-rate of specimens; interactive medical implants, networked
pacemakers or wireless defibrillators are an everyday reality. As
minerals, plants, animals, people and machines wear out, the
technologies they carry and/or are part of, age as well. Their batteries
might be empty, their computer chips break down or remote monitors can
no longer handle the latest update. The ageing processes of biological
and technological merge and it is not always so clear whether we are
faced with physical or programmed obsolescence.
Under the influence of medicalisation, miniaturisation and algorithmic
optimization, the prolongation of life seems to be a tech-only challenge
without limits. Calibrated on the basis of constantly updating data
flows, we become-older-together regardless of who or what has access,
where we will stay all this time and how long we will last. Meanwhile,
we generate dumping sites full of leaking bits and bytes, excess
chargers and broken components. The associated ageing of bodies and
devices takes place simultaneously in microseconds and in geological
time, both on nano- and global scale. While tools innovate and flesh
declines, faltering devices keep promising eternal youth.
During the worksession Ageing companions, we will work on the
interconnected lifespan of both technology and bodies. How do ageing
bodies keep each other and their technological partners company? How do
they give an account of their generational specificities? Can we develop
ecosystems that transcend time and scale in solidarity? Are bodyparts
and extensions imaginable beyond the expiration date of concepts like
The Internet of Things and The Quantified Self? How does ageism affect
the "new" in so-called new technologies? What would it mean to engage in
wild and mutual life-long learning?
Worksessions are intensive transdisciplinary moments that Constant
organises twice a year. We create a temporary working environment where
participants can link their different types of expertise in order to
develop ideas and research projects together. We prefer to use Free,
Libre and Open Source software and data available under an open license.
Language: English, with inserts in Dutch and French.
Participants of all ages are welcome to apply. They have diverse
backgrounds, disciplines and ages. We are looking for example for
critical gerontologists, data feminists, reflective self-quantifiers,
artists who work with wearables (who wears what?), sensors (who feels
who?), micro-controllers (who controls what?).
During this intensive week we jointly develop prototypes, models and
concepts that can stretch the imagination for the connected ageing of
technology and body. We work hands-on with open hardware, visit a
high-tech lab and contribute to a special episode of Pianorama (cinema
for seniors). The week ends with a performance that Zoumana Méïté
develops together with us over the course of the worksession.
Ageing companions takes place in Brussels from Sunday evening 17 June to
Saturday evening 23 June 2018. Participation is free of charge, Constant
provides lunch and travel plus accommodation if necessary. Constant
already invited a number of participants to start the session. In
addition, 15 places are available via this open call.
If you are interested in participating, please send an e-mail to
we...@constantvzw.org before 18 April 2018 and briefly motivate your
participation. Also mention your chronological, biological and/or
subjective age. We will reply no later than 25 April 2018.
Ageing companions is developed by the association for art and media,
Constant in collaboration with the kunstenwerkplaats and community
centre De Pianofabriek.
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