Ania Malinowska

Ania Malinowska, “Roboeneutics. A Method Against Imagery (Exhibit 1: Exorcise!)”

Our moment of cohabitation with technologies is marked by the necessity to xeno-reform. Patricia Reeds (2017) speaks of it in terms of “deontologization”: the radical “estrangement from what is” (where “what is” stands for the human model of imagining and designing reality).  Laboria Cubonics express it with an appeal for “alienation” – the departure from the concepts of the natural in the human for unveiling and embracing human inherent technological (machinic) provenance / structuring (in the name of technoviromental veracity). Flipping LC’s appeal to “Alienate!” with affirmative “Exorcise!,” I wish to extend (if not complete) the imperative to deontologize with the necessity for evicting the human model from our thinking about technology.  Specifically, I appeal for withdrawing the concepts of the human (and human concepts) from conceptualizing the machine, also in terms of how it has been localized into human awareness. By means of a method I tentatively call roboneutics (a coinage of robotics + hermeneutics), I wish to revisit the human colonization of materiality as exemplified by the history of naturalizing and eventually policing technology (from the machine to AI). I use the robot figure to study “the mutual contamination between concepts and actualization” (Reeds 2017), showing human imagining and dexterity as the corruption of the machine’s physical and cosmological conditioning. This first exhibit of what I hope to become a continued rehearsal of the roboneutic approach will explore the metaphor of anthropocentric possession and possessionism (to use de Certeau’s terms) to signalize the structures of our cohabitation with technology. It will also briefly outline roboneutics and its premises (against imagery) to xeno-reform the “500-year quest to make machines human.”

Ania Malinowska is Assistant Professor in media and cultural studies at the University of Silesia, Poland and a current Fulbright Research Fellow at the New School, where she is working on a project “Feeling(s) Without Organs. Love in Contemporary Technoculture.”