« Time to start talking less about the technology for preventing global warming and more about the technology we’ll need to live with it. » (MIT Technology review, June 2019)
For the eighth edition of the international conference of the « Mobile and Creation » research group, in a context of environmental disaster and mobilizations in which smartphones play a crucial role in visually witnessing and relaying information, our aim is to highlight the material nature of mobile culture: the geological-technical-political aspects of components, infrastructures and uses will be updated and discussed. The ambivalent dimension of mobile culture will be unfolded by insisting on its darker side, namely the extractive, energy-consuming, polluting and harmful aspects. Humanitarian crises related to the exploitation of rare earths needed for mobile technology (mainly in emerging and developing countries) will also be addressed. In addition to documenting the many controversies and conflicts that mobile culture has generated for years, by adopting the « counter-doing » methodology (Allard, 2015), the symposium will include workshops on recycling and re-use of all kinds of mobile waste in the framework of working groups involving designers, artists and researchers.By focusing on the material dimension of mobile culture, the aim is to enrich the communicative approach to uses and content, by focusing on the geophysical aspects of the terminals that make it possible.
The aim of this symposium is to contribute to the development of a « mobile ecology » inspired in part by the « ecology of attention », as proposed by Yves Citton. A « mobile ecology » that not only overwhelms the « addict » as we have become accustomed to in the media discourse, but also tackles the problem of extractive industries by unravelling the conflicts and socio-technical controversies that drive the ecological problematization of mobile phones. The range of actors involved in the relationship between the environment and mobile phones includes researchers in the life and human sciences, regulators of administrative authorities, humanitarian and techno-luddites associations, designers and makers. It is also important for us to take into account these different worlds and their members in order to broaden the field of understanding of the challenges of mobile on a « damaged » planet (Haraway, 2016), so the aim of the symposium is to update the somewhat dark side of mobile culture. In order to reflect the extent of the ecological problem of mobile phones, we wish to capture this dark mobile in the dynamics of conflict and controversy, but also in repair tactics and regulatory strategies.
The symposium will invite speakers whose disciplinary approaches or creative commitments will provide local and precise insights in order to contribute, during these two days, to building a global and contrasting understanding of the issue. The modes of intervention as well as the session formats will be designed to encourage open and collective debates on environmental and humanitarian issues that concern the greatest number of people, and as is often the case in the context of international « Mobile and Creation » symposia, it is through doing and creativity that we will also proceed, in order to collectively contribute to the development of a « ownership » of the possible outcomes of the environmental crisis towards a mobile ecology in the proper sense.
The symposium is organized by Laurence Allard (Senior Lecturer, IRCAV-Paris 3/Lille), Gaby David (Researcher, IRCAV-Paris 3), Roger Odin (Professor Emeritus, Paris 3-IRCAV), Laurent Creton (University Professor, Vice-President of Research, Paris 3-IRCAV) and Charles Edgar MBanza (IRCAV-Paris 3)
It will take place in Athena Hall at the Maison de la Recherche de Paris 3, 4 rue des irlandais, 75005 Paris
This conference will therefore contribute to the anthropocenic shift in digital studies by focusing not only on the private lives of users or AI proletarians but also on the small hands of rare earth extractivism and the damned of a damaged global system.
The final program will be announced soon! In the meantime, save the date:)