Technocultural Futurisms: Code, Hack, Move

Technocultural Futurisms: Code, Hack, Move
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Urbana Champaign, Illinois, United States of America
April 11-12, 2018

The 150th anniversary of the University of Illinois as a land-grant institution, founded on what was then a radically new vision of technical and agricultural education for ordinary US citizens, offers a moment to reflect on the central role technology plays in the way we imagine the future. The Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, which draws members from across the humanities, arts, social sciences, and STEM fields, will place this notion of technological futurity in conversation with work in critical race, gender, sexuality, transnational, and indigenous studies through a symposium titled “Technocultural Futurisms: Code, Hack, Move.” 

“Futurisms” are artistic and political movements that challenge existing norms and dream up alternative futures. Such movements tend to erupt at moments of transition, when existing paradigms have been exhausted and the trajectories of the past no longer serve. This is such a moment, both here at UIUC and globally, and as such demands living and lively engagement. To this end, our subtitle–Code, Hack, Move–foregrounds modes of active intervention, gesturing towards critical engagements that seek not to break or replace current regimes but to re-make and re-direct them to ends towards which they may not have been originally intended. Coding, hacking, and moving are all cultural acts of imagination and reimagination as much as technical ones, and as such they have the capacity to bridge the perceived divide between the STEM fields and the arts, humanities, and social sciences. “Code” is the language through which our contemporary world is being articulated; “hack” suggests one possible way we might intervene in it; and “move” marks its affective potential, its ability to transform. Our goal is to explore these three arenas of imaginative and technological action in order to theorize the future that our present material conditions allow us to imagine.

See the website for the schedule and more information.