21. Making Sense through Ambiguity: Feminist negotiations of intimacy and distance in technoscientific visual cultures

Andrea Miller, The Pennsylvania State University; Nicole Miglio, State University of Milan;

In their acclaimed work Metaphors We Live By (1980), Lakoff and Johnson assert that humans 'conceptualize our visual field as a container'-a bounded territory of visual sovereignty (30-31). Countering this Western and colonialist epistemology of visuality, technological interventions in the meaning and modes of human perception challenge the very idea of a visual field, inviting questions about political accountabilities and ambiguities surrounding the visual (Haraway 1997; Kaplan 2017; Hayward 2010). In this open panel, we consider the politics of intimacy, distance, and ambiguity across technologically mediated practices of visual sense-making. We invite contributions that draw from feminist studies of visual culture, as well as queer, trans, Black, and Indigenous critiques, to envision methodological and theoretical contributions to STS analyses of technoscientific sensing across scales as well as counterpractices within scholarly and artistic engagements with visualization. Thinking with, through, and against technologies such as thermal and biomedical imaging, embedded and remote sensing systems, and techniques of data visualization, we are interested in the material, emplaced, and elemental registers of ambiguity that shape conceptions of intimacy, distance, and visuality. We invite contributions that consider the following questions: What are the material and sensorial nexuses of power, scientific reality, and practices of making visible? To whom and what are these practices accountable? How do they generate, track, and perceive their subjects? We welcome abstracts that problematize the intrinsic political premises, ethical outcomes, and possible counterimaginaries of intimacy, distance, and ambiguity within a broad range of technological artifacts and systems of visuality.

Contact: andreamiller@psu.edu, nicole.miglio@unimi.it

Keywords: Social Movements and STS, Feminist STS, Method and Practice

Published: 04/07/2023