Enhancing Postphenomenology with Time: Instrumentalizing the Temporal Impact on Human – Technology Relations

Lewis, R. (Speaker)

Activiteit: Talk at an external academic organisation


Recently, while conducting a postphenomenological case study on museum selfies (Lewis, 2017), I realized that postphenomenology seemed only to capture two of the three mediating relations that I personally was experiencing. When I was walking around the museum (not taking selfies), I noticed that I was perceiving and relating to the museum and its objects through what would make a good selfie. This immaterial selfie-as-a-concept seemed to appropriate some of my perceptual intention in a very postphenomenological way (not determining, but not neutral). Though this appeared to be an embodied postphenomenological relation, the standard postphenomen-ological approach did not capture what I was experiencing. There was an internal transformation based on my past experience of taking selfies, and the future potential of the selfies I could take, both of which were changing my perception of, and experience with, the museum and its objects.

One of the strengths of postphenomenology is the way it focuses on technological objects and successfully describes how they mediate and co-constitute both our selves and the world. This technological mediation helps us to analyze and describe what is enabled and what is constrained by these specific technologies, shedding light onto effects that might be backgrounded, and helping us to more fully understand how both our lifeworlds and our selves are co-constituted by technologies. However, as we focus on giving material objects agency, Tamar Sharon points out that disciplines such as postphenomenology focus more on “breathing life into objects […] than delving into the implications of having breathed life out of subjects” (2014, p. 9), and proposes that we take a closer look at what happens with the subject. My goal is to help better understand these transformations that occur to the human subject.

I propose creating a framework that situates technological relations within a complex network of interrelations, one group being temporal (both past and future). My presentation will demonstrate how this framework can be used to better understand the interrelationality ontology that Ihde speaks of. I build on the already established concept of sedimentation (Rosenberger, 2012), which captures how our past experiences with specific technologies changes how we perceive them, often allowing them to become somewhat transparent. I also build on Asle Kiran's concept of potentiality, how the future potential of technology affects our perception of the world in the present. Both of these contribute to a grouping of temporal relations, which is part of an inclusive framework that I am assembling through my research.
Periode25 okt 2019
Gehouden opUniversity of Vienna, Austria
Mate van erkenningInternational