The Institute of Culturetronics is a framework for a number of projects and design, technology and research activities that look at the intersections of local cultures and modern technologies, discussing issues of technological development and adaptation as well as the local problematics and opportunities that come with them. Through the lens of democratised technologies and the maker and DIY electronics movement it explores real and possible local approaches to technology in a globalised world to show the potentials that can occur when technological development is thought from a local perspective.
Projects in the Culturetronics framework aim to take a viewpoint on issues around cultures and technology that are free from quick assumptions and imposed development standards. By basing approaches on subjective observations in the field it is not the goal to develop usable products but to spark discussion about possible localised and democratised approaches towards technological development. A special audience of projects are not only local communities, but especially the growing scene of DIY electronics enthusiasts that should experience the potentials of the field and be inspired to use their skills to not only create but to create alternatives.
Fig. 1: STATUS QUO AND ALTERNATIVE/FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGICAL
When we look at current developments in the democratisation of technologies we can see how the development of technological objects and systems is taken back from experts and companies and put into the hands of enthusiastic amateurs. Platforms like the Arduino micro controller make the creation of electronic objects easily accessible and are supported and by a growing "maker community" around the world.
This opens possibilities for local cultures to influence the development of technological objects and systems and therefor take the step from different adaptations into new forms of creation. This has the potential to shift the current global consensus of technology towards a new system that is build on cultural diversity of technologies.
Fig. 2: FRAMEWORK OF TOPICS AND CONCERNS
The projects in the institute‘s framework is developing a mode of subjective research in different cultural environments that is inspired by methods from anthropological research which prevents the designer/technologist from giving in to remote assumptions and emphasises the individual authorship of the work and the subjectiveness of cultural perception.This research is then translated into design proposals that are not meant to be embedded in the culture they derive from but act as an example of how the creation of new technological objects and systems could be approached from a cultural viewpoint.
Fig. 3: RESEARCH TO PROPOSAL
1] Design approaches are based on personal
observations, not on remote assumptions
2] Research and design process are part of the
project to enable the audience to comprehend
the flow of thoughts and create an informed
reflection of the proposal
3] The technological approach is always thought
from an individuals perspective using demo-
4] Reflected disagreement is an ideal reaction
from the audience
5] Design proposals are set in a culturally
neutral context to keep space for discussion
in all cultural contexts
6] There is a place for fiction, speculation