Milan. October 24-27, 2019
SHOT is an interdisciplinary and international organization concerned with the history of technological devices, systems, and processes as well as with technology in history, culture, and society. We explore the production, circulation, appropriation, maintenance, and abandonment of technology under specific historical conditions. And we scrutinize these epistemic, economic, social, cultural, and political conditions. Our approaches are informed by a broad concept of technology, encompassing knowledge resources, practices, artifacts, and biofacts (artifacts in the realm of the living). Accordingly, the Committee invites paper and session proposals on any topic in a broadly defined history of technology, including topics that push the boundaries of the field.
SHOT is committed to a policy of diversity. In addition to intellectual quality, we warmly welcome proposals that reflect diversity in their line-up of speakers, in particular with regard to career level, gender, and geography. The Program Committee will prioritize proposals that make a conscious effort to increase diversity: for example, proposals that include one or more female speakers, and speakers at different professional stages, with different institutional affiliations, and/or different nationalities and geographies.
SHOT Annual Meeting 2019: Milan, Italy
Exploring the Interface between Technology, Art, and Design
In the 1950s Milan was, along with Turin, the industrial capital of Northern Italy. Established companies such as Pirelli, Breda, and Falk had their factories in the outskirts of the city. It was in that economic and cultural environment that the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia “Leonardo Da Vinci,” one of the venues of the SHOT meeting, was inaugurated in 1953. Milan remains the economic center of Italy. It hosts the headquarters of national and multi-national banks and companies, Italy’s National Stock Exchange, a thriving network of new high-technology industries, and an expanding tertiary sector including logistics and transportation, food, and publishing. Four years ago it was the location of Expo 2015, whose theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” attracted 22 million visitors. Last but not least, Milan is one of the world’s capitals of fashion and design: a glamorous gallery of internationally famous brands.
Milan is also an important city of culture, with three universities, an engineering school, an economics and business school, and a medical school. And it is a city of the arts: the city center is rich with a remarkable variety of historic buildings, monuments, museums, and other treasures. Among them, Milan holds extraordinary examples of Leonardo’s work as an artist and an engineer, including the Codex Atlanticus and the Last Supper.
To pay tribute to the venue of the meeting we want to encourage proposals that engage topics related to a broadly interpreted theme of “Exploring the interface between technology, art, and design.”
In the past and present, and in different cultural traditions, technology, art, design, and craft have blended together in a cross-fertilization process. While the boundaries between knowledge formation, artistic expression, and material culture are permeable, diverse factors affect the degree to which they combine and the quality of the results emerging from their interactions. In Italy the examples of fruitful collaboration are numerous, in the present as well as in both the recent and more distant past. Similar cases can be found worldwide; examination of the clustering of interactions among technology, art, and design in diverse contexts and periods is an important project of the history of technology.
More recently we observe a growing interest in educational programs proactively encouraging and supporting collaboration among artists, scientists, engineers, architects, and craftspeople, as well as scholars in the humanities and social sciences. These programs encourage a reappraisal of different approaches to the relations between form and function in different cultural traditions.
We invite SHOT participants to reflect on these themes from an historical as well as a contemporary perspective, and with respect to a variety of socio-cultural environments. Among the aspects which deserve to be discussed is how art and design impact innovation in new as well as traditional production technologies; how digital technologies are opening new perspectives in the development of design and the arts, as well as the reinterpretation and development of traditional crafts; and how art, design, and craft can provide inspiration in the search for the transition to more sustainable consumption/production patterns.