Veranstaltung: 8th Colloquium on the Biographies of Artifacts and Practices (BOAP),  05.09.22, online

Based on a collaboration of researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Aalto University, and the Technical University of Berlin, this bi-monthly colloquium provides an open platform for an international network of researchers interested in BOAP and related methodological and analytical approaches. Its main goal is to contribute to strengthening the robustness of research designs in STS and the sociology of technology and innovation. Each event features the presentation and discussion of one research project that traces the biographies of complex sociotechnical systems across multiple locales and extended timeframes, often linking multiple studies and scales of analysis.

The colloquium will take place online on September 5th, 4pm (CEST). It will feature a talk by José David Gómez-Urrego (Kaleidos – Centre for Interdisciplinary Ethnography). He will present insights from a biographical study on the construction of an ambitious sociotechnical project in Ecuador: Yachay the City of knowledge. This innovation-oriented planned city comprises a Technical University, a Science Park and a sustainable city built from scratch. José explores the temporal dynamics shaping the project and how expectations played multiple roles, both generative and destructive, in different moments across the project’s lifespan.

About the talk:

In this presentation José David Gómez explores the temporalities involved in the infrastructuring of “Yachay, the city of knowledge” – the most ambitious and controversial public infrastructural project in Ecuador’s history. Yachay, which means wisdom-knowledge in Kichwa, embodies a variety of economic, cultural, and political narratives while assembling a variety of heterogeneous actors with particular historical trajectories, motivations and expectations. Yachay is being constructed since 2012 in the valley of Urcuquí, located in the province of Imbabura in the north-central Andean region of Ecuador; it aims to combine a planned sustainable city, a science park with a business orientation, and a research-oriented public university already in operation (YachayTech) in an area of 4500 hectares. Using theoretical tools from the sociology of expectations, Science and Technology Studies, and social studies of time, José analyses how a diversity of actors mobilized expectations during the inception, implementation, and reconfiguration of the project. Furthermore, José examines how expectations interact with the infrastructural dynamics of breakdown, and repair/disrepair, thereby shaping Yachay across the project ́s life and a shifting political landscape.

The presentation draws on fieldwork conducted in Yachay for 14 months between 2016 and 2018. Contemporary ethnography is augmented by historical sensibility and archival document analysis. The research follows Yachay through four different periods. First, during its intragovernmental scaling-up process from a technical university to a city of knowledge (2006-2011). Second, during the material implementation of some of its fundamental physical infrastructure (2011-2012). Third, throughout key changes in the operation of its two main institutions (Yachay Empresa Pública and YachayTech) (2012-2017). Fourth, through the radical reinterpretation of Yachay that followed the change of government from Rafael Correa to Lenin Moreno, embodied in the very different context that the latter mobilized (2017-2018).

The presentation contributes to the ongoing discussion around futurity and temporalities in STS through an empirical case from a largely overlooked region of the world. It seeks to extend the common use of expectations in two ways. By framing expectations as interfaces between pasts and futures rather than as simply future oriented, it draws attention to past trajectories in the analysis of futures. By exploring and problematizing the notion of contexts as forms of stabilized expectations, it explores the intersection of expectations and the dynamics of infrastructures.

Zoom link and contact:
Zoom PW: 099802

If you are interested in the activities of the research network, or would like to present at the colloquium, get in touch at .

You can find more information here: 2022-09-05_Invitation_8th BOAP Colloquium_Gomez-Urrego (1)