AstroDime at 4s

July 11, 2008 at 9:49 pm Leave a comment

What is 4s? It stands for “Society for the Social Studies of Science”. It is an organization that grew out of the field of Science Technology Studies. From Wikipedia, Science and technology studies (STS) is the study of how social, political, and cultural values affect scientific research and technological innovation, and how these in turn affect society, politics, and culture”. 

AstroDime Transit Authority is going to present its “cutting edge” research on tin can telecommunications at this year’s meeting in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in August 2008. Below is the presentation description. We are honored to be included in this conference, which features some really amazing talks and international perspectives on science, technology and societies.

4S Online:

Tin Can Telecommunication: Performances and Interventions
Contact: sam smiley (

AstroDime Transit Authority is a Research and Media collective organized around ideas of transportation and communication. Throughout the course of this year, we have developed and implemented the AstroCan Tin Can Telecommunications system. Its first appearance was on Bumpkin Island, in Boston Massachusetts, and our charge was to connect several groups of people through utilizing tin can telephones.

From that preliminary research, we have been writing and creating media around metaphors of communications technologies and artifacts. What makes a communications system “work”? How do participants respond to the implementation of a small scale, low tech, short term, point-to-point telecommunications network? In making the workings of a telecommunication system visible, how is knowledge produced about it?

As artist-researchers, we publish in non-traditional and non verbal venues such as media festivals. However, we also publish a twice yearly video journal called INtransit which examines technocultures and practices. We have presented this journal at conferences such as the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. In this respect, our media and research interests cross over into STS.

With respect to our proposal for this conference we are interested in the re-embodiment of telecommunications systems in order to examine marketing systems and procedures. We use interventionist practices to make these systems transparent. Our methodologies include video interviews and documentation, surveys, performances, and research into the history of low-tech telecommunication systems. In our practice, we use the metaphors created through the marketing of “hi tech” communication systems such as cell phones, and overlay those metaphors on to a “low tech” communication system such as tin can telephones. In doing that, we hope to raise questions about the uses and misuses of communication systems in contemporary society. Hopefully we can have dialogue with other researchers in STS who share these concerns.

For our presentation, we would like to show video and still image documentation of our research to date. 

AstroDime Transit Authority Members: sam smiley, Bebe Beard, Mary Ann Kearns, Gina Kamentsky, Ali Horeanopoulis, Carrie Petkovich, and John Gayle.

Entry filed under: AstroDime Events, conferences.

Lumen Eclipse: One Minute Film Fest 2008 Bumpkin Encampment on Labor Day Weekend

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