Human-technology futures: making art, doing theory, shaking things up (Ad hoc circle 2022) Winter Symposium

Human-technology futures: making art, doing theory, shaking things up (Ad hoc circle 2022) Winter Symposium

Human-Technology Futures: making art, doing theory, shaking things up

Program of the Winter Symposia

To previous members and future participants,

As you might be aware we have made a restart and we’re now called “human-technology futures: making art, doing theory, shaking things up”.

That’s our old subtitle (from the Cybioses circle) with a new subtitle and we will organize a winter and a summer session. During this time we will, hopefully with your help, seek a 3 year renewal of our circle. Please find attached (PDF) the updated call for our winter session.

It will be in person, in Goteborg from Wednesday the 16th to Friday the 18th of March, in association with Chalmers university of technology and the university of Gothenburg. The title will be: Human-technology relations: catastrophes and open futures

Appologies for the late arrival of the call, we got approved for a 1 year circle in january so it’s been somewhat hectic in getting everything going. Do note that, for that reason, applications are expected by the 1th of March, as are requests for travel support.

— Short and long contributions welcome. The call is open for new people interested in our topics. Together with participants in previous symposiums we will additionally discuss our future activities, during the summer session  in Oslo (28th of July to the 4th of august) and as a new proposal for a 3 year circle. To be voted on by the NSU general assembly over the summer.

A further priority would be to establish the interest in the publication of a shared anthology, firstly based on the experiences of the previous circle, but also looking forward: as a stepping stone towards the new circle, with its own strategy for publications and related projects.

Please see the PDF for further details

Hope to see you soon

Eric, Palle & Maru
coordinators, NSU Circle 2: Human-Technology Futures


Winter Symposium:
Human-technology relations: catastrophes and open futures

Wednesday the 16th to Friday the 18th of March
Workshop and re-orientation meeting

We invite you to take part in our winter symposium. It is called:
Human-technology relations: catastrophes and open futures
It is the first meeting of our study circle with as its name: 

“Human-Technology Futures: making art, doing theory, shaking things up”.

Our circle is part of the Nordic Summer University and therefore we are a migratory non-hierarchical group of international researchers and practitioners. This is one of our core objectives: to bring together artists, theorists, technologists, designers, hackers, practitioners of various kinds. Hereby a productive tension is to be (re-)established that allows us a rich and committed discussion of the technological future, or, more generously formulated, of our “human-technology futures”.

Accordingly the invitation applies to anyone who is writing on or working on topics related to our interest in:
the ambivalent relationship between, on the one hand, the speculative and open futures that characterize the worlds of science, technology, media and art, and, on the other hand, the relentless, catastrophic or even post-apocalyptic, drive to commodify life forms, cultures and extend the networks of control.

About this Study Circle

During this winter symposium we want to discuss topics related to this general theme. This can be philosophical, sociological or academic in character, seeking to support the development of technology, as theoretical critique, or questioning its cultural or societal impacts. Similarly it can be a demonstration of “making” or “performing” technology that has such dimension within it and to be discussed with the circle as its audience. A contribution can be aesthetic, in the form of arts, music or literary. It’s as a combination of such contributions (as a circle) that we will seek to formulate a program and a framework for our continuation over the next 3 years.

Our circle takes place within the Nordic and Baltic framework of Nordic Summer University (NSU). Since its inception 70 years ago, the primary aim of NSU has been to provide a forum for experimentation and cross-disciplinary collaboration, welcoming members both from within and outside of universities and other institutions. Since it’s inception, technology has been one of its core themes and we sincerely hope you’ll consider joining us, to continue that legacy, or because you are attracted to current ways of seeking to remain distinctive from more conventional conferences and workshops.

Theme of the winter symposium

During the symposium we will critically engage with the future as a modernistic project: that is to say as linear and with the goal of human improvement. The title is indicative of the different dimension and contradictions that characterize the notion of an “open future”, one that is yet to be made and is characterized by human potential.

Approached analytically we can ask whether such hopeful “modernism” is the logical outcome of the premise that modern society, in every single field imaginable, is characterized by a radically transformed relationship between life and information? Or do the intense exchanges between cybernetics/AI and biology/genetics imply a break with the (philosophical) past. Simultaneously the “open future” can be approached ideologically, as the appearance of coming catastrophes hat have contours that are already visible in the modern history of science and technology.

While these analytical interests useful frame the interests of our study circle, history is not our principle objective. Rather, we reflect on this history from a critical distance with an acute interest in the actual result in the near future. The themes of interest of our core members demonstrate this variety, some of us have interests that are historically and theoretically informed, but many are practice-oriented and might again contribute with provocations, their own designs and inventions, aesthetically and so on. With this in mind we welcome you to challenge us.

To encourage you to consider a contribution, these are some of the previous themes we have organized over the years:

● ethical & philosophical perspectives on technology
● artificial intelligence and its impact on society
● the role of improvisation and creativity in the design process
● the status of originality and novelty in the creative process
● world building as a speculative tool
● hacking, free and open software and its many offshoots
● speculative prototyping and the life cycle of products (from prototype to waste)
● critical examination of technology in neoliberal economies
● sustainable futures

Format of the workshop and expected results

Our goal is to establish a productive tension between arts, makers and theorists (and everything in between). Ideally, we attract a variety of such identities that allows for a strong exchange between research and practice, humanities and the world of technology and so on, academic insiders and outsiders with other types of insider knowledge.

We are open for experimental approaches to presenting and collaborating. In the past there have been long and short presentations, textual (read out) and performative, theory-based and practical, with artistic and aesthetic aims. Ideally we are able to meet around a good variety of contributions. Feel free to contact us if you are wondering how you would fit in.

Expected results are primarily the unique experience of joining a community that values such diversity. More practically, however, the outcomes have included publications, manifestos, inventions and a solid based for future collaborations. While we expect a certain level of commitment from participants, it is perfectly sensible to come only out of curiosity.

To submit a proposal please send via email in PDF format to the circle coordinator, Eric Deibel ( You will receive a confirmation of the receipt of submission.

  1. A motivation letter (max. 350 words) . This text should include your areas of interest and a proposed research theme that fits with the various topics mentioned above. The latter is encouraged, but not obligatory.
  2. A short bio (max. 200 words)
    The extended deadline to submit proposals is the 1th of March, 2022. The preliminary program will be announced on March 6th, 2021, on where you can also find more information about NSU and sign up for the newsletter.

Membership fee:

The fee is 40 euros + the membership fee of the NSU.
– All participants of the workshop need to be or become members of NSU, which is connected with a small fee: Students, unemployed and independents, West Nordic & Baltic residents: €10. Those associated with institutions or companies: €25 or more (choose your amount). The membership fee must be paid online in advance of the symposium. Exact details about the payment will be provided on acceptance.
The membership fee is necessary to sustain the Nordic Summer University, which is a volunteer-based organization on and covers participation fees for one year.
– this winter symposium, unlike earlier versions, accommodation is not included. Our location makes that this is not feasible. Shared lunch and dinner has been budgeted.

Important dates:
Submission deadline: 1th of March
Acceptance decision and notification: 6th of March
Payment deadline: 13th of March

About the Network

About NSU
The Nordic Summer University (NSU) is a Nordic network for research and interdisciplinary studies. NSU is a nomadic, academic institution, which organizes workshop-seminars across disciplinary and national borders. Since it was established in 1950, Nordic Summer University has organised forums for cultural and intellectual debate in the Nordic and Baltic region, involving students, academics, politicians, and intellectuals from this region and beyond. Decisions about the content and the organisational form of the NSU lay with its participants. The backbone of the activities in the NSU consists of its thematic study circles. In the study circles researchers, students and professionals from different backgrounds collaborate in scholarly investigations, distributed regularly in summer and winter symposia during a three-year period.

For more information:


Eric Deibel
Coordinator Study Circle 2


Palle Dahlstedt
Coordinator Study Circle 2


Maru Mushtrieva
Coordinator Study Circle 2


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