Leveraging Tension

The Critical Engineering Manifesto is bold. It is a clear cut, no bullshit declaration of how critical engineers should have a moral understanding and explicit control in the work that they create. I think it is really important that standards like these are considered or even reflected on for all makers of any kind. Whether or not you implement in your work the manifesto to its purest degree, working on something that is detrimental or harmful only hinders society’s progression. And making things blindly is almost equally bad, because you aren’t actively considering the implications that your creation may have. (the word codemonkey comes to mind here). Thus having something like this manifesto is truly important because it shows that there are those who declare and acknowledge that there is a true responsibility in the role of all makers.

When I looked Julian Oliver and Danja Vasilev’s work you can see how it supports the manifesto but how it also has a creativity and artistic symbolism in the materialization of their products and work. It bridges form and metaphors in a powerful way. I thought Aisling’s point “the act of criticality has very much bee a part of artistic practice”, truly shown through with the various examples of both of these critical engineers. But I think this work also bridged nicely to Aisling’s statement that “rather than just conceiving of the role of the human as primarily to increase the efficiency of an algorithm or facilitate a transaction, we can adopt a more radical position and and consider the human also as an active and subversive force.”  This I think is really powerful because it implies that there is a potential to utilize the force of “the human” not by pleasing are creating the more “friendly” or practical thing, but rather by leveraging tension and provocative reflection/response to ignite modifications in society.


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