Happening now: Roböxotica 2004 // Festival for Cocktail-Robotics, organized by Viennese cyber-art thang Monochrom.
What are cocktail robots? I don't know, I don't care. It's hard to imagine it not somehow being cool.
In the study of technological development, focusing attention on the failure, the error, the breakdown, the malfunction means: opening the black box of technology. Science and Technology Studies (especially Langdon Winner and Bruno Latour) have convincingly demonstrated that the widespread inability to understand technological artifacts as fabricated entities, as social and cultural phenomena, derives from the fact that in retrospect only those technologies that prove functional for a culture and can be integrated into everyday life are “left over.” However, the perception of what is functional, successful and useful is itself the product of social and cultural, and last but not least political and economic processes. Selection processes and abandoned products (developmental derailments, sobering intermediary results, useless prototypes) are not discussed.And that makes an amazing amount of sense. Which promising branches of game development were stopped too soon, went underground, died off, missed their market window, were eclipsed by something bigger, but not better? This is obviously related to game archiving - think The Underdogs, Digital Game Archive, etc. etc. What a fascinating subject. More on this, some day when I have the time to do the research.
Thus, from the perspective of technology research, it seems especially productive to devote attention to lines of thought and attempts that cannot be so easily integrated into the metanarrative of technological progress. This means bringing those processes into the foreground that demonstrate how technological development is a process in which technologies are cross wired as material-semiotic artifacts with social processes.