Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Agricultural Vernacular : Technological Appropriation For Adaption In Complex Agroecosystems



Below is an abstract of a paper I am giving at the Balance/Unbalance 2013 Conference this weekend.


The Agricultural Vernacular : Technological Appropriation For Adaption In Complex Agroecosystems

Abstract
The Agricultural Vernacular is an experimental approach at technological appropriation of agricultural based objects for art and science, with particular emphasis on climate change issues and agriculture. Agroecosystems are subsets of conventional ecosystems where human activity through agriculture is at the core, but the area of interest also encompasses the region impacted by this activity, the complexity of its species, energy flows and nutrient balance.

Vernacular engineering and technological appropriation has a long history, especially in agricultural contexts such as adapting car engines for mechanised farm work. However, it is now recognised that modern technology is undermining user agency, limiting its own use, and removing the ability of users to repurpose their own objects and tools.

Complex systems are suggested to possess unintended consequences such as hidden fragility, where a system has a vulnerability that results in unexpected failure.  A reduction in the adaptive capacity of vernacular engineering and technological appropriation may have the potential for increasing hidden fragility within agricultural and associated ecological systems.