• Technologies Otherwise 

  • Be Sociable, Share:

    < Back to library

    Posted: 13 May 2024

    Introducing Baltan's 2024 Year Programme

    “Do our technologies belong to us, and can we therefore use them to change what seems wrong and unjust in nature, or are they divine forces which, like the fire of Prometheus, we may borrow but must always handle with sacred reverence? Too often it is suggested that technological progress is a destiny already written [...] The path that leads on the emergence of a new technology is far from linear, and a critical view of this process is crucial to understanding technology not as a Pandora’s box we have found ourselves holding, but as a canvas in which we weave one thread at a time, and where our personal and cultural perspectives carry a great deal of weight” (Laura Tripaldi, Parallel Minds, p. 16)

    Technologies Otherwise - Curatorial Statement

    Does technology belong to us? It can feel like an autonomous force, an inevitable process we cannot stop or control. A feeling deriving from being excluded by its intentional opacity, a black box that understands us, without us understanding it. Is it magic, or is it capital?

    In 2024, Baltan will practise a hopeful approach towards technology, exploring how it can help us live otherwise. We will approach technology with a radical hope, in which radical has both a political and botanical meaning (from the Latin etymology of the word, deriving from radix, root): it describes both the longing for drastic change and its profound and rooted connection with the earth. Many technologies started with hope, for example, the early phase of the web or the start of the blockchain movement. Nonetheless, because of the continuous colonisation of technology by corporate capital, both have led to an amplification of centralised power and profit-driven innovation. This colonisation created a great sense of disillusion. How could we cope with it? How can we imagine a diverse and plural technological landscape resistant to the lure of capital?

    If we want to believe that technology can fix it all, let us give it another try. However, we need more than one technology because the one we have is virtually singular. Our digital realm is occupied by a monopoly of a few multinationals hoarding an ever-growing pile of creativity, talent, capital and time that could be used to revolutionise it. If it is true that current technologies free time for us to think about what truly matters, let us use it for something different than scrolling our phones. We need to develop technology that helps us reach our goals, nurture our fascinations, and preserve or challenge our values without becoming a distraction from the things that really matter to us.

    Suppose we want to design for decentralised power, for organising in small communities, for focusing on what connects us instead of what separates us, for making decisions that have the best for all of existence in mind. In that case, we need technologies we can mould according to these new needs. Moreover, we need devices that we can open up, repair, reassemble, and truly own, not flat, shiny surfaces without screws.

    Let us restart and do technology otherwise: open it up, unscrew it, dissect its materials, and rethink the narratives behind it. Let us reclaim our imaginative power and develop new stories that could inspire this process. And with these stories in mind, let us think about how developing more diverse technologies could challenge our current one. Different technologies by different voices, for different human and non-human users, with different materials and production models, for different temporalities and localities.

    Does technology belong to us? What technology? Which us?

    Materialities & Stories

    Our program will explore two different directions to inform alternative technological futures: the material aspect of technology and the new stories that will guide the imaginations of plural technologies.

    Through the Materiality of Technology trajectory, we want our audience and participants to reclaim their agency in technology through making, hacking, opening it up and following participating artists and designers in their 1-year journey with iconic technological objects.

    Through New Narratives in Technology, we look back to the mythical, fantastical and fictional stories that guided our past technological development and relationship with technology. We will create new stories that fit current challenges and new aspirations of a more equitable world in which humans will not be the main characters anymore.


    In this trajectory, we focus on rethinking through materials and problematising different aspects of our current relationship with technologies: need, which and whose need this technology replies to; development, where and by whom the technology was developed and how this could exclude different voices and needs from other cultures; accessibility and understandability for the user to feel empowered by the technology and not discouraged by its complexity; social and environmental impact of the production, life cycle and disposal. These categories are not a fixed framework, but rather thinking prompts for the different formats of the trajectory and technologies analysed.

    The formats through which we will explore them are two: Objects-in-residence and Tools for Resistance.


    An object is the intersection of economic, material, political and social interactions. Starting from a specific technological “object”, we invite artists/designers to take it apart, materialise/visualise how it works, analyse how it is produced and assembled, what materials are chosen and where they come from. The outcomes of their residency will be presented at Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Europe’s largest festival for arts, technology and society.

    • Smartphone - Thomas Thwaites
    British designer and writer Thomas Thwaites, known for his Toaster Project, will create a Screen Time app for smartphones that links your digital consumption to ecological limits. This will be an app that throttles your digital consumption after an externally imposed limit has been reached, rather than some arbitrary limit imposed by oneself to help oneself. As well as making clear that digital consumption has an ecological cost, the app intends to suggest we need to limit our consumption-based not only on what’s good for us but also for the wider ecology.

    • Battery - Azahara Cerezo
    Azahara will analyse the extractive dimensions and chemical processes behind batteries and the possibilities of finding alternatives to their use, deriving from an ongoing line of work that confronts the abstraction of digital technologies with their physicality. In her project, Sediments of Power (working title), she will focus on the lithium batteries used in electric vehicles as a way to address the ambivalence of the energy transition, material dependencies, and the consequences embedded in our modes of inhabiting. The project is organized in three research lines: self-made alternatives to manufactured lithium batteries; on-site work in future mining sites as part of the European plan for self-sufficiency in raw materials and the analysis of current supply chains of electric car batteries.

    • Third-party cookies - Marie Dvorzak
    Building on the research that she did for her graduation project 200.000.000 Instructions x Second at Design Academy in 2022, Marie Dvorzak connects the immaterial digital processes such as obtaining and storing third-party cookies, to their real-life environmental, economic and social impact, e.g. increased data centres' energy consumption. The impending deprecation of third-party cookies, a technology that has enabled large platforms and ad networks to track users’ browsing behavior across websites for almost two decades, is imminent. In her project, Hidden in plain sight: An Exploration of Third-Party Cookies (working title), Marie Dvorzak aims to contextualize the end of these controversial data strings by framing them as a material and economic phenomenon that has been depleting the planet's resources, acting as an early enabler of information capitalism, and somehow evading most attempts at regulation.

    Tools for Resistance

    In Tools for Resistance, we invite artists and designers to host workshops on resisting the current technological paradigm of designed opacity and planned obsolescence. In five workshops, we reclaim technology by opening it up, hacking it, training it and exploring open-source software and hardware alternatives

    • Avoiding the Brick - Marco Pagan
    In this workshop Avoiding the Brick, Marco Pagan introduced participants to the modding practice, guiding them to hack their Android devices to modify the software and avoid planned obsolescence or system privatisation, used to fuel trade and consumption.

    • Open Hardware - Silvia Binda Heiserova
    This workshop by Silvia enables participants to design, develop and produce their hardware from scratch, using 3D prints, cables, microcontrollers, sensors, and other customisable components, and program their hardware's behaviour and digital content.

    • Train your own AI - Bureau Moeilijke Dingen
    In this workshop by Bureau Moeilijke Dingen, an Eindhoven-based design studio, the participants will teach Artificial Intelligence products the desired behaviour.

    • Open-source software alternatives - Dyne.org
    In this session, Dyne.org Foundation will introduce the audience to the free and open-source software alternatives for media production, writing, protecting one’s privacy, communicating and navigating using GNU/Linux.


    To develop new technological narratives, we will start by reading and discussing four foundational stories of technologies in the Marginalia reading group. In the Lecture Series, we invite contemporary thinkers to share how they question the current technological narrative. The online learning community Make Technology Yours Again (MTYA) stays on these topics for eight weeks, reflecting, discussing and practising other ways of doing technology. MTYA concludes with proposals for new narratives for technologies that will be further developed with writers and accompanied by essays and short stories in the publication A New Mythology of Technology.

    • Marginalia
    Session 1: Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines and Ancient Dreams of Technology by Adrienne Mayor, a fascinating untold story of how the ancients imagined robots and other forms of artificial life.
    Session 2: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley tells the story of Doctor Frankenstein, who decides to give life to his creation.
    Session 3: The Wind's Twelve Quarters by Ursula K. Le Guin is a collection of 17 short speculative fiction stories, which talk about, among others, the philosophy of science, empathic powers, magic, numbers, craft and other-than-human intelligence.
    Session 4: On the Origin of Species and Other Stories by Kim Bo-Young is a collection of science fiction stories on post-human existence through the lens of biology, technology and social interactions.

    • Lecture Series
    We organise four lectures by contemporary researchers, philosophers and thinkers that relate to our approach. We host these in several locations in Eindhoven and collaborate with Eindhoven-based events and organisations, such as the STRP festival (check our first lecture), bringing the discussion to different audiences. With this lecture series, we want to expand our reach to students from the Technical University, for this, we work together with Studium Generale TUe. We are also exploring hosting lectures at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven and as part of the lecture series at Design Academy.

    • Make Technology Yours Again (MTYA)
    Building on the experience of our Make Economy Yours Again online learning community, we have adapted the format to the approach of Technologies Otherwise. The learning community gathers weekly online for eight weeks to create a knowledge base for new technological narratives. We will explore topics related to how technology shapes human behaviour, perception and bodies; how it could make us more aware of our interdependence on other species and how our political history influences the technological developments we are living today among others.

    • A New Mythology of Technology
    The experience of Marginalia and the outcomes of MTYA will feed into a book entitled A New Mythology of Technology. We explored foundational stories in Marginalia, and in this book, we write new ones that are looking beyond the horizon we see now towards a hopeful future. The book will include a collective story by Marginalia participants and stories written by: Critical Inquiry Lab students at Design Academy Eindhoven, MTYA participants (further developed) and invited writers. Each story will be coupled with a reflective essay exploring these stories' implications in guiding towards hopeful technologies. This publication will conclude our Technologies Otherwise programme, offering a site for reflection and imagination and a vehicle to spread our experiences.

    Technologies Otherwise is supported by Creative Industries Fund NL and Stichting Cultuur Eindhoven.


    test lexicon


    Economia is the festival of

    < Back to library