Expert in: Bioarts
My research concerns the history and sociology of science and technology and, more specifically, since 1990, the history and sociology of cyberculture. I began by conducting in-depth research into the origins of personal informatics, by describing the evolution of Douglas Engelbart’s laboratory at the Stanford Research Institute and how his ideas and creations (the mouse, the proto graphic interface, hypertext) migrated to Xerox PARC and Apple. Since 2001 I have been extending this work with research into the other fundamental evolution of cybernetic synthesis, i.e. molecular biology, by reconstructing its recent history from its lesser-known side, the “non-coding” part of DNA, which American researchers dubbed “junk DNA.” This research was published in 2011 by the University of Minnesota Press, as Junkware. Since 2008 I have been concentrating on combining my analyses of these two cybernetic evolutions, informatics and molecular biology, for a study of the issue of post-humanity, or more generally the engineering of the post-human (but also post-animal and post-machine) creature.
I am currently completing a research program funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, entitled “Post-animaux : ce que les animaux technologiquement modifiés peuvent nous révéler du futur (post)humain.” My goal is to make a “detour via animals” to develop an ethnographic view of bio-engineering without analyzing the essentially discursive practices of bioethics and science fiction.