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Alessandro Delfanti, “Open Source Cancer: Hacking and Biodigital Rituals of Sharing,” Tues 10/14

Tues, Oct 14, 2014 from 12:10-1:30pm in SSH 1246 of the UC Davis campus.

Please join us in welcoming the new ICIS postdoctoral fellow, Alessandro Delfanti, at a Food for Thought Event. Alessandro will be presenting on his work, Open Source Cancer: Hacking and Biodigital Rituals of Sharing:

Through the website La Cura (the cure), the Italian designer and hacker Salvatore Iaconesi open sourced his brain tumor and mobilized hundreds of thousands of peers through a digital platform. His condition was turned into a global performance of de-medicalization. In order to do this, he had to hack his medical records and convert them into open formats, to make data easily readable and shareable, as well as to construct an inclusive understanding of the word “cure”. With this case I propose the concept of a “biodigital ritual of sharing”, a protocol or script adapted from hacker cultures’ public practices. While in the context of medical institutions data represented an objectification of the body, their reinscription through the ritual helped symbolized the need for a more socialized experience of cancer. Against techno-determinist utopias of distributed innovation, I highlight how open source and crowdsourcing can be seen as dense biopolitical symbols rather than mere distributed technical solutions. I also suggest that, when facing illness and disability, digital cultures imagine and perform technologies as social and relational rather than bodily prosthesis.

Note this is our Food for Thought format where everyone is asked to read a paper ahead of time. After you RSVP, you will be emailed with the paper to be discussed. Please RSVP here to receive a copy of his paper.

This event is co-sponsored with the Center for Science and Innovation Studies & the Science and Technology Studies Program at UC Davis.




Innovating Communication in Scholarship (ICIS)