Tue., April 25 2017
7:00 pm

RETHINKING THE ONTOLOGY OF TECHNOLOGY Lecture by Alf Hornborg (Human Ecology, Lund University)

Breitegasse 3
1070 Vienna

Technological infrastructures developed in wealthier parts of the world are products of accumulation based on asymmetric global fl ows of biophysical resources from less affluent areas. Technological progress, in this view, is not so much a matter of ingenious and innocent breakthroughs in engineering as of devising new and profi table systems for displacing work and environmental pressures to other populations and geographical areas. This, I argue, is the essential rationale of globalized technological systems: rather than an index of generalized human progress – the pure, transcendent knowledge epitomized by the myth of Prometheus – technology since the Industrial Revolution is fundamentally an arrangement for redistributing resources in global society. Modern technology requires not just ingenuity and specialized knowledge, but also global discrepancies in market prices. It is thus as inextricably connected to societal injustices as slavery or serfdom.

Lecture: Alf Hornborg (SE) (Human Ecology)
Chair: Kilian Jörg (Philosopher/Artist)
Introduction by Bernd Kräftner (Art & Science, University of Applied Arts Vienna), Anita Kaya (Im_flieger Artists’ Association, Vienna)

 is Professor of Human Ecology at Lund University since 1993. He received his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Uppsala in 1986 and has taught at Uppsala and at the University of Gothenburg. He has done field research in Peru, Nova Scotia, the Kingdom of Tonga, and Brazil. His primary research interest is the cultural and political dimensions of human-environmental relations in past and present societies, particularly from the perspective of world-system analysis. This has led him to explore various perspectives not only from anthropology but also from trans-disciplinary fields such as environmental history, ecological economics, political ecology, and development studies. The central ambition has been to examine how specific cultural assumptions constrain human approaches to economics, technology, and ecology, and how such assumptions tend to serve as ideologies that reproduce social relations of power.

Invitation by the Art & Science master’s programme, University of Applied Arts Vienna, in context of the lecture series “Natura Naturans: In the woods” ( In cooperation with Im_flieger, in context of the transmedia research project STOFFWECHSEL – Ecologies of Collaboration, Vienna