MappingNewsOpen AccessPhDSDN Granthgk


Dividing captures a generous contradiction: it is as much about dividing things up, as it is about joining together.

Dividing captures a generous contradiction: it is as much about dividing things up, as it is about joining together. Dividing assumes radical irreducibility of different cosmologies and a reemergence of a critique that challenges both the dialectical negation and the persistence of affirmation in contemporary posthumanism. To divide is to perform a quantitative operation by which we achieve an equal distribution. It is the mathematical operation of articulating a ratio: it requires inclusion of rational numbers to compute quantities. Concurrently, division is about unity - government or corporate activity organized in a functional unit, or a territorial section. By taking part in something some bodies are united.

The Dividing research workshop took place on 14. January 2023 with 12 contributors and guests. The research workshop was the first meeting in the process of collective work on a special issue of the Techniques Journal ( The invited contributors discussed the term in relation to their research and presented 6 propositions for the 'D' issue of the Techniques Journal, scheduled for publication in the 2024. These propositions come from different academic and practical domains, including architecture theory, philosophy of technology, African studies, new materialist informatics, network- and performing arts and feminist hacking. The workshop was hosted by Selena Savić, who will act as editor of the journal special issue, at the Critical Media Lab, Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW. The meeting was co-organized with Adam Nocek, editor of the Techniques Journal.

Techniques Journal is a hybrid publication: it is at once an academic journal and an art magazine, a curatorial platform and a design experiment. Each issue is organized around doing something, the gerund form suggestive of the perpetual or progressive action. Past issues, on Animating and Bordering are available on Techniques Journal website. Next to the special issue on Dividing, this collaboration will contribute to developing a collaborative review process, in form of an open commentary, that includes a polyphony of invited and interested voices. Further meetings are planned in fall 2023 and spring 2024.


Collapsing differences

Prof. Dr. Elísio Macamo, Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Philosophy and History, Basel University

Elisio Macamo presented on the usefulness of thinking of division as a way of producing difference. The colonial encounter between Europe and Africa seems to have rested on a similar principle. While colonial authorities were committed to a universal human notion, they pursued it by bringing the differences between the two to the foreground to collapse African “difference” into European “sameness”.

Method, Arts, and the Pythagorean Comma: Stanzae Contrappostae

Vera Bühlmann, Architecture Theory and Philosophy of Technics, TU Vienna

Before the institutional division of the arts into polytechnical arts and so-called fine arts, the liberal arts tradition used to be considered as a "canon of disciplines" and was used as mathematical organon of human knowledge. As such it was operating upon the so-called Pythagorean Comma, a physical residue of sound that cannot be rationalised – but that can also not be placed, somehow, in opposition to rationality. Vera Bühlmann’s proposition explored this legacy with respect to today's question of method in the arts, as a particular manner of working with partitionings as proportionings in an architectonic, intersectional and situational way of "figuring out" ideas.

Artificial Order: Synchronicities in Relational Breath

Lisa Müller-Trede, University of Southern California

Lisa Müller-Trede explored kinaesthetic relational codes exposed by an algorithmic order of difference within merged breath signals. This research introduces the difference in breathing bodies in search for techniques of joining, non-dividing the breaths and an informational synthesis of their patterns.

Adversarial In/Divisions: Relational Ethics and Feminist Epistemologies for Critical AI Practice

Claude Draude and Goda Klumbyte, Gender/Diversity in Informatiksystemen, University of Kassel

With this work-in-progress, Claude Draude and Goda Klumbyte invited participants to investigate and address in/division as a figuration of generating adversarial approaches to AI's extractive and fixing impetuses. Adversarial approaches usually refer to strategies of disrupting, intervening into and confusing machine learning/AI systems. While this term often is used within the context of specific technical strategies, we would like to speculate how relational ethics and feminist epistemological perspectives can inform and generate adversarial strategies, understood as ways of not only disrupting operations of systems, but also opening space for critical technical practice.

Infrastructures for Removal

Prof. Dr. Helen V. Pritchard, IXDM, Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW

Femke Snelting, Constant, Brussels

Jara Rocha, independent researcher

In this talk, Helen Pritchard, Femke Snelting and Jara Rocha of the Underground Division continue their disobedient, collective, irreverent, para-academic research into the divisions and dividings of "Frontier", a computational-cloud-based-infrastructure for services at the end of the world(s). They outlined how "Frontier" through forming a consortium have created both a market and an investment opportunity for "Carbon Removal". Carbon Removal is the imaginary and technoscience of a range of processes that seek to eliminate carbon from the atmosphere, displacing it towards a multiplicity of states, temporalities or matters. It is also a technoeconomic model based on inventive accounting methods, venture capitals and questionable practices, dividing soil and air into quantifiable potentials for future absorption. Removal provides ontoepistemic concerns on presence, action, duration and of course also transformation. Climate change is made into a problem so narrowly defined that consortia like Frontier can offer computational infrastructures as so-called solutions. The division of the undergrounds has made the ends of the worlds more profitable than ever.

Color coding the (bodily) extractivism of dark patterns

Darija Medić, Media Archaeology Lab, University of Colorado Boulder

The proposition by Darija Medić explored the lens of fragmented cognition in contemporary UX design, with a focus on the practice of unethical design ('dark patterns' as defined in HCI) and its relation to extraction of neural resources. The division, or fragmentation she seeks to address is a continuation of mind-body dualism fueled by the attention economy. The proposition is therefore to address the notion of dark patterns through their classification of the ethics of darkness and its resulting implications.