Engaging Ambience in the Technological Milieu

Conference on Communication and the Environment:
Boulder, CO. June 12, 2015

Tyler Quiring, University of Maine / @tylerdq_

Engaging Ambience in the
Technological Milieu

  1. Wicked problem #1
  2. Wicked problem #2
  3. Working with technology

Wicked Problem #1:
The Technological Milieu

  • McCullough (2013)
  • Thiel-Stern (2014)
  • Gizmodo: Barret (2012)
“The balance has shifted away from tacit knowledge through direct experience toward explicit but indirect knowledge through communications.”
Malcolm McCullough: Ambient Commons (2013, p. 35)

Moral panics fueled by:

  • Sexism...
  • Ageism...
  • Anthropocentrism?
“...the timeless, endangered world of direct experience.”
Malcolm McCullough: Ambient Commons (2013, p. 23)

Wicked Problem #2:
Ambient Ambience

  • Foster (2004)
  • Rickert (2013)
  • Barad (2003)
“The ambient in all its forms resists discursive formulation.”
Cheryl Foster: The Narrative and the Ambient in Environmental Aesthetics (2004, p. 205)
“If the ambient dimension of aesthetic value...requires for its emergence a silencing of the epistemological impulse...how can we possibly make a case for that dimension as a powerful and worthwhile consideration in our dialogue about values and the natural environment?”
Cheryl Foster: The Narrative and the Ambient in Environmental Aesthetics (2004, p. 209)
“Ambience invites us to understand the complex give­and-take we have with our material surroundings.” It “becomes a useful distillation of ongoing dynamic shifts in a vibrant, robust environment that we seek to understand, explain, and work through.”
Thomas Rickert: Ambient Rhetoric (2013, p. 5)
“This causal relationship between the apparatuses of bodily production and the phenomena produced is one of ‘agential intra-action.’”
Karen Barad: Posthumanist Performativity (2003, p. 814)
“The locus of creation is dispersed to include the environment, which thus grants an active role to the technological apparatus as an element within the whole material surroundings.”
Thomas Rickert: Ambient Rhetoric (2013, p. 110)

Working with Technology
through Ambience

  • Rickert (2013)
  • Jenkins (2006)
  • Bogost (2007)
“Transmedia storytelling is the art of world-making.”
Henry Jenkins: Convergence Culture (2008, p. 21)
“Stop fleeing, break for good with our future, turn our back, finally, to our past, and explore our new prospects, what lies ahead, the fate of things to come.”
Bruno Latour: An Attempt at a "Compositionist Manifesto" (2010, p. 486)
“Ambient rhetoric...is less an answer in itself than an invitation to disclose anew, to build further, and so begin to dwell.”
Thomas Rickert: Ambient Rhetoric (2013, p. 37)

Thank you.

Presented by Tyler Quiring: tylerquiring.info / @tylerdq_

Many thanks to Drs. Laura Lindenfeld and Bridie McGreavy for their encouragement, assistance, and funding. This project is supported by the New England Sustainability Consortium, Maine EPSCoR, and the National Science Foundation.
Visuals by Unsplash.com, the book publishers, Tyler Quiring, Lucas Pope, MECC, and David OReilly.

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