Beyond inclusion: Towards the possibility of latinamerican cosmotechnics.
From systemic gendered annihilation to the extractivist dynamics which emerge as byproducts of technological imperialism, we witness the effects of different forms of violence in the geographic and political territory confined within the syntagma Latinoamerica. Rubber, crude oil, lithium and narcotics, as well as their global market, give shape to the narcopolitics present along the center-south of the american continent, that is, they determine the technological conditions of the region. Charged with its colonial history and its contemporary forms of precarity, latinoamerica is today, target to the effects of a technological fulfillment of foreign purposes instead of a technical response to local necessities. Given the political interventions present in the manipulation of information and transformation of bodies in alienated machines, that is, bodies literally transformed into bots, and the interference of multinationals in rural regions with capital-driven production ambitions – in the vampirical form described by Marx -, force us to return to the possibility of a technological thought in latinoamerica and its future implications.
The so-called postcolonial discourses and multiculturalisms have systematically invested their efforts in a process of recognition of knowledge production and practices of a cultural diversity shaped by and for global technological competition. Such discourses have accurately shown that the historical, economic and political complexity of colonial territories can’t be articulated with the same tools that the western forms of thought have produced. Yet, they fail to disentangle a conflict whose genealogy finds its origin in the factual and epistemic imposition of such knowledge forms. The vicious circle is quite clear: a revision of the imposition of western knowledge production is carried out with the means of western knowledge. We think, however, that in order to stop the infinite regress of what Anibal Quijano has called the coloniality of power, it is necessary to put into question precisely the strategies that postcolonial discourses have developed to this aim so far. Although this vessel navigates with the flag of a fight for the visibility of practices and non-western forms of thought within the western context, it transforms the cosmologies they aim to give voice to and have a dialogue with, into a merely ornamental discourse. Thus, these postcolonial and multicultural scholarships, obscure and mitigate the potential situated within local techniques. On the one hand, they characterize these cosmologies as originary -as it is explicit in the phrase “originary people” – transforming communitary agency into narratives, following the well known reduction of the origin to the natural. On the other hand, given the identification of the origin with nature, they transform plural cosmologies into static objects, which take the form of the past and of mere objects of knowledge, stripping these communities and their territories out of any possibility to become agents of their own practices and thought.
According to this perspective, the only possible strategy would be a process of recognition enabled by a translation of plural cosmologies into concepts abstracted from the forms of life and local discourses they belong to. This strategy is performed under the name of inclusion. Inclusion thus requires, as has been shown, a mechanism for mediation which establishes a relation between two fields, which, in principle, are heterogenous. We don’t want more inclusion. Our point of departure is that it is not necessary to construct a latinoamerican identity or to contain, exacerbate or instrumentalize identity at all; this tendency cancels out the complexity of the region. We need alternatives to the current mono-technological thought that reduces bodies and territories to bare life and resources -either for extractivist purposes or knowledge production-. This narrative negates any factual potency for transformation. Our aim is thus, to learn from local techniques what it means for a process to be local.
How can local techniques contribute to strategies for a pluralized technical thinking? Are local techniques capable of producing an imagination of technology that is able to escape the linear narrative of western technological progress? How does a thinking of locality contribute to imagining alternative futures without falling back to any protofascism? What is the nodal point between technological operations, religious practices, and mythologies present within the diverse forms of communities in Latinoamerica? How can the technical process of creation and instrument production go beyond its mere reduction to motifs, ornaments, songs, and decorative elements of folklorization which operate exclusively under the rubric of a “pre-columbian revival”? How can pluralized technical processes bring forth an alternative to global scale phenomena such as the standardization of “intelligence” via the formalized logic of computational processes, the abstraction of citizens to categories defined and distributed for biometrical data recollection, and the quantization of agency for the training of preemptive algorithmic procedures? Approaching the fragmentary possibilities of latinamerican technics, which are linked by a shared territory and history, yet not unified by them, is thus, a strategy for reevaluating the effects of such technological imperialism. This approach has nevertheless no intention in homogenizing languages, mythologies, religions, cultures, ontologies and technics themselves. Departing from situated technical processes we rather aim to direct ourselves towards futures that from the viewpoint of inclusion we haven’t been able to imagine yet.
Ana María Guzmán Olmos
Hugo Esquinca Villafuerte
We would like to thank Yuk Hui for his commentaries and editorial contribution to this text.
Abstracts reception: 30.11.2020
Notification of acceptance: 15.12.2020
Papers reception: 30.01.2021
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