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Title: Instrumental Anthropocentrism: insects, sustainable culture and technological innovation
Authors: Buiani, Roberta
Issue Date: 5-Jul-2016
Series/Report no.: Theories: Limiting the Anthropocene;06.11.2015 Session 3A
Abstract: Recently, we have been witnessing an intensification of technoscientific research and innovations centered on insects. Insects are genetically modified to fight devastating diseases such as Dengue Fever or Malaria; their physical ability is reproduced in stunning micro­robotics projects; their weaving abilities are directed and mediated through fabrication technologies. This interest in insects is the product of a complex entanglement of technology “with a variety of animal bodies and nature” whereby insects have made the “cyborg as imagined since the 1980s in theory and fiction seem quite old­fashioned” (Parikka 2013, 108). However, in this scenario the human is far from being taken off the picture, as these practices exploit and manipulate insects for their sustainable potentials, often producing captivating and elegant artifacts. I ask whether this newly emerging “insect industry” has potentials for transcending, or it is rather just obeying Western Culture’s imperatives of economic growth and technological innovation.
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