November 4th and 5th Håkon and Jens visited Aarhus and the Anthropology of Technology (AntTec) conference. Here we gave two presentations, one on the relation between technologic and presence, and one on a certain tendency observed among skilled workers in technological workplaces: “Paper-free building sites” has been introduced to achieve efficiency, where builders work straight form the digital models. However, we observe builders sometimes breaking the rules by secretly using paper drawings after all. “you see, I need to draw the corrections on the paper when what I build deviate from the original plan.” The drawings provide a “dialogical space” where builders can negotiate according to their professional judgement, something the digital models not always accommodate for.
Based on fieldwork at construction sites and in offshore shipping, our presentation explored how the notion of craftsmanship and seamanship, and the professional dialogue transforms as organizations and work are organized as digital machines, enhancing some perspectives while excluding others. In a broader perspective, the digital organization was seen to resemble a machine, that ideally should be able to work without human intervention. Crafts- and seamanship increasingly include adjusting to, and mending “the machine”, even breaking rules to have it work – all to get the job done.
During the visit, we also, we discovered that Aarhus is a really nice city with fantastic restaurants.