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Technologies, memories and affections: Improving our ethical approach to things

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Enrique Nieto and Pedro Alberto Cruz

Sustainability, understood in its beginnings as a common horizon for multiple practices and fields of study, has gradually given way to the development of increasingly sophisticated tools, with distinct dominant meanings established for each discipline. Within the field of material technologies for architectural production, sustainability seems to have found its most fertile ground in topics such as recycling, the use of "bio" materials, or energetic efficiency. However, to improve the understanding of the impact of technology on our ways of living, it appears increasingly necessary to move from the deterministic logic of sustainability into the relational domain of ecology, where the use and deployment of technologies can be observed through the multiplicity of its effects and the diversity of actors involved. In this paper we will address the case of the rehabilitation of several traditional houses located in the Murcian town of Blanca to host the “Espacio Doméstico” VideoArt Center (EDOM). In this action the selection and implementation of technologies have been aimed at impacting on diverse aspects including local communities, ethics, digital manufacturing, recycling, and policies regarding the rehabilitation of heritage buildings. While the initial approach was to address housing recovery as a heterogeneous accumulation of stories, technologies or material deployments of the domestic, our intervention strategies ascribed to the different technologies the role of mediating with existing elements through the incorporation of the very different visions of sustainability and the rol of affects in producing human and non-human entanglements. Thus, we displayed artifacts produced by digitally manufactured methacrylate assembled on IKEA structures, fluorescent power lines supported by insulators on the wall, fluorescent tattoos on walls and ceilings that guide and extend the configuration of existing flooring, esparto furniture and fabrics produced by the esparto women workers’ and village women’s associations, re-appropriations of old furniture through the implementation of new media technologies, etc. If we can see seduction as the process of converting affinities and disagreements into affirmative communication, then the EDOM proposal can be seen as an active seduction process between technologies and users who approach this kind of cultural artifacts. Through these permanently active processes, art technologies will refer the viewer to complex sensory experiences, where a combination of parody, memory and sound pushes the user to the limit of mere comprehension of works of art. This more relational approach to the issue of heritage rehabilitation, technology or art institutions is offered as an area of controversy and debate on the scope of political ecology and its potential impact on the architect’s professional practice.



               Prof. Dr. ISMAIL YILDIRIM