Till Straube, Researcher, Workgroup Boeckler, Department of Human Geography, Goethe University Frankfurt, email@example.com, uni-frankfurt.de/50025353/01_portrait_de
In this paper I seek to critically engage with ICT – specifically digital infrastructures (like programming languages, database software, data formats, protocols, APIs, etc.) – on their own terms: by closely reading documentation materials, technical specifications, and code. I will outline a possible mode of inquiry that avoids relegating digital technologies to mere mediators of the social, or resorting to other grand abstractions. The entry point here is the problem of space: how can we account for the overflowing of spatial frames of reference by digital technologies without resorting to notions of immateriality? The approach set out insists on the metaphysical nature of the digital/physical dichotomy (among others) and proposes a radically materialist first analysis of ICT. In a next step, the problems of space and context are explored through an analytic lens building on assemblage theory, following the methodological principles of symmetry and free association. Taking further cues from science and technology studies (STS), the possibility of a topological reading of digital phenomena is explored, and in a final step extended by reading it against a diverse set of additional texts and brief examples.