Event Title

Engineering Noncoherence: The Stutterings of Government(s)

Start Date

8-11-2017 8:30 AM

End Date

8-11-2017 12:30 PM

Description

A concern with safeguarding the buildings in the Old City of Acre (Israel/Palestine) has brought together, over the years, a diverse group of actors—politicians and bureaucrats, architects and engineers, stones and mortars. As a kind of pin board, this poster will examine each of these actors, one by one, in order to understand two things. First, we will learn that it can be difficult to assess exactly who does a doing. Objects and subjects, events and achievements, are “made to happen by several people and lots of things. Words participate, too. Paperwork. Rooms, buildings. The insurance system. An endless list of heterogeneous elements that can either be highlighted or left in the background” (Mol 2002:25–26). Second, we will learn that absolute consensus is not an essential requirement for cooperation, nor is it necessary for the conduct of architectural conservation. The question then becomes: how do these different actors reconcile their tasks? In order to answer this question, this poster will inquire into strategies of coordination. In particular, we will examine how an object of conservation engineers—compressive stress—becomes a singular entity, despite the fact that our observations of engineering practice suggest otherwise. We will learn to consider its multiplicity—how different versions of compressive stress hang together. This will allow us to highlight three points of passage, the narrow ends of three funnels that push actors to converge on a topic, to forge alliances around a question, fettering them together in a way that they cannot attain what they want by themselves (Callon 1984). In other words, it will allow us to consider the multiplicity of government itself—the authorities and companies, the files and folders, the meetings and agreements that allow it to hang together as a single entity. But not quite.

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Nov 8th, 8:30 AM Nov 8th, 12:30 PM

Engineering Noncoherence: The Stutterings of Government(s)

A concern with safeguarding the buildings in the Old City of Acre (Israel/Palestine) has brought together, over the years, a diverse group of actors—politicians and bureaucrats, architects and engineers, stones and mortars. As a kind of pin board, this poster will examine each of these actors, one by one, in order to understand two things. First, we will learn that it can be difficult to assess exactly who does a doing. Objects and subjects, events and achievements, are “made to happen by several people and lots of things. Words participate, too. Paperwork. Rooms, buildings. The insurance system. An endless list of heterogeneous elements that can either be highlighted or left in the background” (Mol 2002:25–26). Second, we will learn that absolute consensus is not an essential requirement for cooperation, nor is it necessary for the conduct of architectural conservation. The question then becomes: how do these different actors reconcile their tasks? In order to answer this question, this poster will inquire into strategies of coordination. In particular, we will examine how an object of conservation engineers—compressive stress—becomes a singular entity, despite the fact that our observations of engineering practice suggest otherwise. We will learn to consider its multiplicity—how different versions of compressive stress hang together. This will allow us to highlight three points of passage, the narrow ends of three funnels that push actors to converge on a topic, to forge alliances around a question, fettering them together in a way that they cannot attain what they want by themselves (Callon 1984). In other words, it will allow us to consider the multiplicity of government itself—the authorities and companies, the files and folders, the meetings and agreements that allow it to hang together as a single entity. But not quite.