The Reading Room #20 – Technologies of Survival (part 2)

September 14th, 17:00-19:30

Location: Stroom Den Haag, Hogewal 1-9, The Hague

Guest Reader: Nishant Shah

Texts by: Lilly Irani, Nishant Shah, Kavita Philip, Lawrence Liang

Following: The Reading Room #19 – Technologies of Survival (part 1)

This cluster of the Reading Room looks to understand the phenomena of computation through postcolonial perspectives, and proposes that existing responses perpetuate three persistent, yet critiqued, tropes in how new technologies are received. The first trope is the computer positioned as a device of control and domination, one to be seen as symptomatic of multiple intersections of exclusion and penalisation. The second is the computer seen as an emancipation device, through policies like ICT4D, that provides a solution to endemic problems through computational regeneration. The third trope is the perceived separation and need for integration, calling for the computer to be brought into a relational context with human and social conditions.

While there is a strategic need for these tropes, they are also marked in promoting an ‘extinction impulse’ that perpetuates colonial and patriarchal structures. With the theme ‘Technologies of Survival’ we seek to build a knapsack of postcolonial touchstones to unpack the computer, its computation processes, the people who are computed, and the logics of computing.

Please reserve a spot by sending an email to We will also provide you with a copy of the texts.

Note from the curators:

For this third cluster of 2017 we are very excited to have Nishant Shah as our guest. As part of the activities for this cluster we will also be organizing a public screening of Faiza Ahmad Khan’s The Supermen of Malegaon. Please watch our online event information for information on when and where the screening will take place.

Invited Guest:

Nishant Shah is the Dean of Research for the Graduate School of ArtEZ University of the Arts, The Netherlands, and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University, Germany. He was the founder of the Centre for Internet and Society, India, and the knowledge partner for the Hivos programme exploring digital technologies, youth, and building democracies. Nishant’s work is inspired by gender, sexuality and race theories and activism. His interests dovetail humanities, arts, design, policy and computation and he is committed to building infrastructure for public access to knowledge and research.

The Reading Room is curated by Flora Reznik, Sissel Marie Tonn and Jonathan Reus, and is produced by iii in collaboration with Stroom, Den Haag and with the financial support of Stroom Den Haag and the Creative Industries Fund NL.