Talks & essays

Public presentations, articles, academic papers & books where we discuss our work.

Routledge Companion

Assembling Desire

Mriganka Madhukaillya, Cristina Bogdan, Leon Tan

Essay for the Routledge Companion to Decolonizing Art, Craft and Visual Culture Education, edited by Manisha Sharma and Amanda Alexander, 2023

This creative short discusses the project “Assembly of Desire” (2018) as a pedagogical experiment that attempted a temporary disruption of the patterns of industrial cognitive labor and a reconnection with the rhythms of a specific landscape and ecosystem: the river island Majuli located in Assam, India. It looks at its two components—desire and assembly—and goes on to address the openings that the project created for those involved, one of which led to the project of building a library in the forest.

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The Question Concerning Technology in Northeast India

Mriganka Madhukaillya, Cristina Bogdan, Leon Tan

Paper presented at the Northeast Research Conclave held at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati between May 20-22, 2022

In Northeast India, an extremely rich cultural and historical setting, the challenge of the technological evolution of education makes it crucial to revisit the historical question concerning technology, as it was posed by Heidegger in his eponymous 1977 essay, then revisited by Chinese philosopher Yuk Hui in 2017, who coined the term “cosmotechnics” as a result. This paper discusses the project Library in the Forest, developed by research and design studio Forest Cybernetics, whose goal is to re-imagine how technology might serve, and not undermine, education, nature and the environment. Against universalizing notions of technology, it develops a cosmotechnical position – at once technological and ethical. The evolving curriculum brings together design practice, scientific investigation, coding and philosophy, with local/ indigenous knowledge systems, to re-situate technology in a specific set of histories of place, settlement and change.

ISEA 2022

Building a Library in the Forest

Mriganka Madhukaillya, Cristina Bogdan, Leon Tan

Institutional presentation for ISEA 2022/ POSSIBLES, the 27th International Symposium on Electronic Art, Barcelona, 10-16 June 2022

The biopolitical regime and its systems of oppression have expanded in recent decades to include digital psychopolitics, with the implication that educational systems now not only discipline bodies but also self-consciously engineer compliance and control in minds. Forest Cybernetics is a research and design studio responding to this contemporary crisis, taking the form of a pedagogy lab growing from Kaziranga Wildlife Reserve and Forest in Assam, India. In this institutional presentation, we adopt a lecture-performance format, combining a 10-minute video with a reading from our Library. We discuss the first iteration of this pedagogy lab, held in 2021 in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, and also share our learnings and proposal for the second session (currently in planning).

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