Issue Number Nine: Little Development Devices / Humanitarian Goods

Edited by: Stephen J. Collier, Jamie Cross, Peter Redfield and Alice Street

Coming soon! This issue of Limn examines the recent profusion of micro-technologies in the worlds of humanitarianism and development, some focused on fostering forms of social improvement, others claiming to alleviate suffering, and many seeking to accomplish both. From water meters, micro-insurance and cash transfers, to solar lanterns, water filtration systems, and sanitation devices, examples proliferate across the early 21st century landscapes of international aid. Although small-scale endeavors are far from novel, today these devices are animated by different intellectual and moral energy, drawing on novel financial and organizational resources. Many blur distinctions between public and private interests, along with divisions between obligations, gifts and commodities. At the same time, they entail novel configurations of expertise, political obligation and forms of care. The articles in this issue explore these new convergences of developmental and humanitarian projects, alongside reworked relationships between experts, governments, and purported beneficiaries, focused on fostering “participation” and “partnerships” rather than nation-building.

Contributors include:

Jacqueline Best on micro-devices and development failure
Marc Boeckler on micro-insurance in the global South
Brenda Chalfin and Xhulio Binjaku on ‘dwelling based public toilets’ in Ghana
Jamie Cross on the photovoltaic cell
Vincent Duclos on mobile health in Burkina Faso
Robert Foster on customer care in Papua New Guinea
Christopher Kelty on participatory development
Meena Khandelwal and Kayley Lain on cook stoves in India
Austin Lord on small hydro-electric devices in Nepal
Amy Moran Thomas on the gluclometer
Jonathan Morduch on microcredit
Peter Redfield on band-aids and magic bullets
David Reubi on sin taxes
Anke Schwittay and Paul Braund on humanitarian design cultures
Tom Scott Smith on IKEA’s ‘Better Shelter’
Alice Street on point of care diagnostics
Tatiana Thieme on sanitation in urban Kenya

Issue Number Eight: Hacks, Leaks, and Breaches

Edited by: E. Gabriella Coleman and Christopher M. Kelty

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February 2017: Hardly a day passes without news of a major hack, leak, or breach; with the scale of computer use and reliance on digital forms of data, no sector of society is immune to these data dumps, infiltrations, and floods. From the surveillance of dissidents to the hacking of elections to the weaponization of memes, hacking is changing in character, and it is changing the world. In this issue we ask whether hacking and hacks have crossed a techno-political threshold: how are hacks, leaks and breaches transforming our world, creating new collectives, and changing our understanding of security and politics. How has the relationship of hacking and hackers to their own collectives, to governments, and to the tools and techniques been transformed recently? What does it mean to be a hacker these days, and how does it differ from engineering, from “cyber-security,” from information warfare or from hacktivism?

Contributors: Claudio Guanieri, Nils Gilman, Jesse Goldhammer, Steve Weber, Finn Brunton, Matthew Jones, Molly Sauter, Rebecca Slayton, Adam Fish, Luca Follis, Mustafa Al-Bassam, Sara Tocchetti, Paula Bialski, E. Gabriella Coleman, Robert Tynes, Philip Di Salvo, Sarah Myers West, Naomi Colvin, Lorenzo Francheschi-Bicchierai, Ashley Gorham, Joan Donovan, Renée Ridgway, Goetz Bachmann, Tor Ekeland, David Murakami-Wood and Michael Carter, Kim Zetter. With science fiction by Cory Doctorow.

With Illustrations by Amisha Gadani

Issue Number Seven: Public Infrastructures/Infrastructural Publics

Edited by: Stephen J. Collier, James Christopher Mizes and Antina von Schnitzler

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July 2016: Infrastructure has always had a privileged relationship to both expertise and the public in modern government. But in the early 21st century, this relationship is inflected in novel ways. The purposes public infrastructure was meant to serve—welfare, quality of life, economic development, and so on—persist. But they are often conceptualized differently, promoted by different agencies, and articulated through novel technological and collective relations. This issue of Limn explores new formations of infrastructure, publicness, and expertise.The contributions examine how new forms of expertise conceive the public and make claims in its name, how publics are making novel claims on experts (and claims to expertise), and how earlier norms and techniques of infrastructure provisioning are being adapted in the process.

Contributors: Nikhil Anand, Soe Lin Aung, Jonathan Bach, Andrea Ballestero, Andrew Barry, Ashley Carse, Stephen J. Collier, Savannah Cox, and Kevin Grove, Kevin Donovan and Emma Park, Catherine Fennell, Andreas Folkers, Gökçe Günel, Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox, Cymene Howe and Dominic Boyer, Andrew Lakoff, James Christopher Mizes, Canay Özden-Schilling, Ute Tellmann and Sven Opitz, Antina von Schnitzler, and Alan Wiig

Issue Number Six: The Total Archive

Edited by Boris Jardine and Christopher Kelty

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March 2016: Vast accumulations saturate our world: phone calls and emails stored by security agencies; every preference of every individual collected by advertisers; ID numbers, and maybe an iris scan, for every Indian; hundreds of thousands of whole genome sequences; seed banks of all existing plants, and of course, books… all of them. Just what is the purpose of these optimistically total archives, and how are they changing us?

This issue of Limn asks authors and artists to consider how these accumulations govern us, where this obsession with totality came from and how we might think differently about big data and algorithms, by thinking carefully through the figure of the archive.

Contributors: Miriam Austin, Jenny Bangham, Reuben Binns, Balázs BodóGeoffry C. Bowker, Finn Brunton, Lawrence Cohen, Stephen Collier, Vadig De Croehling, Lukas Engelmann, Nicholas HA Evans, Fabienne Hess, Anna HughesBoris Jardine, Emily Jones, Judith Kaplan, Whitney Laemmli, Andrew Lakoff, Rebecca Lemov, Branwyn Poleykett, Mary Murrell, Ben Outhwaite, Julien Prévieux, and Jenny Reardon.

Issue Number Five: Ebola’s Ecologies

Edited by Andrew Lakoff, Stephen J. Collier and Christopher Kelty

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January 2015: This issue of Limn on “Ebola’s Ecologies” examines how the 2014 Ebola outbreak has put the norms, practices, and institutional logics of global health into question, and examines the new assemblages that are being forged in its wake. The contributions focus on various domains of thought and practice that have been implicated in the current outbreak, posing questions such as: What has been learned about the ambitions and the limits of humanitarian medical response? What insights are emerging concerning the contemporary organization of global health security? To what extent have new models of biotechnical innovation been established in the midst of the crisis?

Contributors: Lyle Fearnley, Ann H. Kelly, Nicholas B. King, Guillaume Lachenal, Andrew Lakoff, Theresa MacPhail, Frédéric Le Marcis and Vinh-Kim Nguyen, Alex Nading, Joanna Radin, and Peter Redfield.

Issue Number Four: Food Infrastructures

Edited by Mikko Jauho, David Schleifer, Bart Penders and Xaq Frohlich

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May 2014: This issue of Limn analyzes food infrastructures and addresses scale in food production, provision, and consumption. We go beyond the tendency towards simple producer “push” or consumer “pull” accounts of the food system, focusing instead on the work that connects producers to consumers. By describing and analyzing food infrastructures, our contributors examine the reciprocal relationships among consumer choice, personal use, and the socio-material arrangements that enable, channel, and constrain our everyday food options.

Contributors: Christopher OtterFranck Cochoy,Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier, Kim Hendrickx, Heather Paxson, Mikko Jauho,Susanne FreidbergEmily Yates-DoerrAlison Fairbrother and David Schleifer,Javier LezaunBart Penders and Steven Flipse, Xaq Frohlich, Michael G. Powell, Makalé Faber-Cullen and Anna Lappé 

Issue Number Three: Sentinel Devices

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June 2013: The polar ice cap rapidly recedes; colonies of honeybees collapse in alarming numbers; androgynous fish are detected in rivers and streams. These reports not only describe recent events, but also function as signs of an ominous and rapidly encroaching future.

In this issue of Limn we focus on how this future makes its appearance in the present. Many of the threats we now find most alarming-climate change, environmental radiation, emerging disease, endocrine disrupters, toxic chemicals-are not immediately perceptible to human senses. We rely on non-human indicators, whether animals or detection devices, to alert us to their possible onset.

Such indicators can be thought of as sentinels, or heralds of an approaching danger.

Contributors:  Hannah Landecker, Didier Torny and Emmanuelle Fillion, Sara Wylie, Ann Kelly, Vanessa Manceron, Joanna Radin, Christelle Gramaglia, Emmanuel Didier, Lyle Fearnley, Frédéric Keck, Andrew Lakoff, Sophie Houdart, Adriana Petryna, Chloe Silverman, Etienne Benson, Baptiste Monsaingeon, Jerome Whitington, Naomi Oreskes

Cover Illustration by Amisha Gadani

Issue Number Two: Crowds and Clouds

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March 2012: This issue of LIMN focuses on new social media, data mining and surveillance, crowdsourcing, cloud computing, big data, and Internet revolutions. Rather than follow the well-worn paths of argument typical today, our contributors address the problems in new ways and at odd angles: from the power and politics of statistics and algorithms to crowdsourcing’s discontents to the capriciousness of collectives in an election; from the focus group and the casino to the worlds of micro-finance and data-intensive policing. Together they raise questions about the relationship of technology and the collectives that form in and through them.

Contributors:  Christopher Kelty, Alain Desrosières, Lilly Irani, Chris Csikszentmihályi, Gabriella Coleman, Nick Seaver, Emmanuel Didier, Alek Felstiner, Tarleton Gillespie, Roma Jhaveri, Daniel Kreiss, Natasha Dow Schüll, Rebecca Lemov, Maria Vidart, Amira Pettus, Jonathan R. Baldwin, and Ruben Hickman

Issue Number One: Systemic Risk

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January 2011: Systemic risk has become a central topic of expert discussion and political debate amidst the financial crisis that began in 2008, but it also has resonances across many other domains in which catastrophic threats loom – including internet security, supply chain management, catastrophe insurance, and critical infrastructure protection. In this issue, we invited scholars to contribute genealogical and conceptual framings that inform critical inquiry into this increasingly important concept. The result is not a traditional collection of academic articles but a set of brief, preliminary reflections, prepared on short notice, that address a common set of questions, along with a handful of documents, links, images and videos that illustrate different aspects of the concept.

Contributors: Benjamin Sims, Deborah CowenMyriam Dunn CaveltyElizabeth Cullen DunnChristopher M. KeltyPhilip BougenStephen J. CollierAndrew LakoffOnur OzgödeDouglas R. HolmesRebecca LemovBrian LindsethMartha PoonGrahame Thompson

Issue Number Zero: Prototyping Prototyping

Before there was LIMN, there were several different prototypes. The first was occasioned by a conference: on prototypes. Held in Madrid in November of 2010, and organized by Adolpho Estalella and Alberto Corsín Jimenez, it was a conference for which this issue was imagined as a kind of pre-conference publication–another riff on the prototype. Many of the problems LIMN seeks to address were worked out in part through this conference and the publication: from the use of new media, to the function of conferences and conference papers, to the idea of a publication that precedes or determines a social event. Issue Number Zero was very much a prototype, and bears the traces of that concept and the discussion of it by the generous participants.

Contributors: George Marcus, Marilyn Strathern, James Leach, Alberto Corsin Jimenez and Adolfo Estalella, Alex Wilkie, Nerea Calvillo, Javier Lezaun, Lucy Suchman, Lina Dib, Michael Guggenheim, Alain Pottage

Limn is also available in print. You can buy it here.