The (Im)possibilities of friction
The starting point of the research project title is the question: can oppositional forces and encounters of resistance in the context of design and engineering processes be productive, and if so, what could be a possible outcome? Could the results of friction be used strategically, and be considered design?
This research problematizes frictional co-creative processes by drawing parallels with cultural, philosophical and political theories of agonism, dissidence and disobedience. By means of hands-on cross-disciplinary workshops and by producing and highlighting frictional experiences – by breaking open and appropriating software, hardware, and networks, i.e. through actual encounters with the technologies proposed - this inquiry aims to reframe the discourse about what is often described by tech-optimists as innovation.
Anja Groten (1983, DE) is an independent designer and researcher based in Amsterdam. Investigating the possibilities of frictional encounters as part of design practice, she designs collective moments of critical making, aimed at discussion, confrontation and contingency. Groten's design practice evolves around the cross-section of digital and physical media, design and art education and her involvement in different interdisciplinary collectives. Groten works on (self-)commissions and besides tutors at the Sandberg Instituut Amsterdam, and the Design Academy Eindhoven. In 2013 she co-founded the initiative Hackers & Designers, attempting to break down the barriers between the two fields by enforcing a common vocabulary through education, hacks and collaboration. Groten has lectured and given workshops at several art and design schools in the Netherlands and abroad, amongst which Changsha Normal University, City Design School and CAFA Beijing (CHN), Krefeld University of Applied Sciences (DE), University of Westminster (UK), Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee (DE), OCAD University Toronto (CA), Otis College of Art and Design Los Angeles (US), and University at Buffalo (US).
Anja Groten hosts a workshop series around the development of the self driving car together with her collective Hackers & Design and Waag Society.
Anja Groten participated in INTEGRATED 2017, the thought-provoking conference format organized by St Lucas School of Arts Antwerp. The 2017 edition focuses on the art & design of the civil domain.