Research Axis 2 : Materiality


Material agency and practice is the central organizing principal behind this axis, particularly the critical undoing of the human and nonhuman (beings and things) dualism (Latour 1987, Pickering 2006). This research cluster has identified three core subthemes:

New Life Forms/New Forms of Life (Mechanical, Biological, and Computational);
Making Culture (3D Particle Systems/Continual Modulations/Software/Games);
Lives of Things/Material Agency

Researchers predominantly identified with the first theme explore how technology blurs the age-old distinctions between life and non-life, organic versus non-organic and the born versus the made (Helmreich 2009).

Researchers focusing on the second theme explore the burgeoning "do it yourself" and hacker cultures across a diverse range of practices including Maker culture, Open Source software movements, independent DIY interactive textiles and the indi-game movement. Researchers associated with the third theme address issues related to “new materialism” (Coole and Frost 2011), “material agency” (Pickering 1995), and the power and dynamics implicated in the relative position of humans in relationship to non-human things and objects.


Axis leader : Thierry Bardini

Professor Université de Montréal

Responsable d'axe : Thierry Bardini
Biography Thiérry Bardini

My research concerns the history and sociology of science and technology and, more specifically, since 1990, the history and sociology of cyberculture. I began by conducting in-depth research into the origins of personal informatics, by describing the evolution of Douglas Engelbart’s laboratory at the Stanford Research Institute and how his ideas and creations migrated to Xerox PARC and Apple. Since 2001 I have been extending this work with research into the other fundamental evolution of cybernetic synthesis, i.e. molecular biology, by reconstructing its recent history from its lesser-known side, the “non-coding” part of DNA, which American researchers dubbed “junk DNA.” This research was published in 2011 by the University of Minnesota Press, as Junkware. Since 2008 I have been concentrating on combining my analyses of these two cybernetic evolutions, informatics and molecular biology, for a study of the issue of post-humanity, or more generally the engineering of the post-human creature.

  • BARDINI, Thierry (2011). Junkware, Presses de l'Université du Minnesota,280 p.
  • BARDINI, Thierry (2011). A (Brave New) World is More than a Few Gizmos Crammed Together: Science Fiction anc Cyberculture,
  • BARDINI, Thierry (2010). Devenir animal et vie aérienne. Prolégomènes à une biologie transcendantale, "Chimère" 73, Meutes, Tiques, Larves sous la direction d'Anne Sauvagnargues, pp. 109-125.

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Hexagram est soutenu par le Programme de regroupements stratégiques du Fonds de recherche du Québec — Société et culture (FRQSC).