Waking the Machines
Lecture by Sara Hendren
Off-site location: OCAD U Open Gallery, 49 McCaul St, Toronto (wheelchair accessible)
Free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the Inclusive Design Research Centre
Wheelchairs, exoskeletons, 3D printed artificial limbs: these are often called "assistive technologies" — all kinds of gear, bodily extensions and supports, and prosthetic parts that restore or replace human functionality. But what other kinds of work might a prosthetic do? Whose bodies need assistance, and why? How and when do assistive devices become performances, or modes of critical inquiry? In this lecture, Sara Hendren will explore the engineering and the artmaking at work in assistive and adaptive technologies—from the familiar to the very unusual—and raise questions about what's at stake for the future of prosthetics.
This lecture is part of a three part event called Waking the Machines: Assistive Technologies and Prosthetic Agency, led by Sara Hendren, which is itself a part of Slope : Intercept, an ongoing project by the artist which investigates the inclined plane as an inherent critique of the rationalized, vertical-and-horizontal organization of global cities.
Sara Hendren is an artist, design researcher, and writer in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She makes material and digital artworks, writes, and lectures on adaptive and assistive technologies, prosthetics, inclusive design, accessible architecture, and related ideas. Her work has been exhibited in the US and abroad and is held in the permanent collection at MOMA (NYC), and her writing and design work have appeared in the Boston Globe, The Atlantic Tech, FastCo Design, and on National Public Radio (US), among others. She lectures in the Industrial Design and Digital + Media departments at the Rhode Island School of Design, and she writes and edits Abler, a syndicated column now on Gizmodo. As of September 2014, she joins the full-time faculty at Olin College of Engineering as Assistant Professor of Design.