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Circuit Problems Workshop

Mon, 15 Jul 2019 at Amsterdam
Anthropology Common Room (B5.12), Roesterseiland Building B/C Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 1018 WV, Amsterdam

Noun, a roughly circular line, route, or movement that starts and finishes at the same place.
Noun, a complete and closed path around which a circulating electrical current can flow.
Verb, move all the way around (a place or a thing).

This workshop explores problems of circuits across three domains: evaluating Dutch beer quality, reproducing wine grapes during climate crisis, and caring for patients in trauma wards in Mumbai. In cybernetic systems, circuits facilitate movement by stabilizing connections between various nodes. But how do circuits operate when power is not electric; when dealing with plant vitalities, taste specificities, or the enclosures of death; when the very existence of ‘the system’ is something to call into question? The three papers that we’ll discuss in this afternoon workshop present history and sociality as ‘circuit problems’(Solomon, this workshop paper). Harris Solomon shows how law, medicine, and the care of trauma ward staff become vital mobility for patients with traumatic brain injury. Tait Mandler, considers beer quality as an everyday practice where isolation provides a critical component to the provisioning of ingredients. Deborah Heath offers a compelling story of multispecies alliance building and the stratified reproduction of grape varietals. In the stories shared, the circulations within which malts, vitis, and bodies move retain a sense of openness, a type of completion without resolution. How does the idea of the open circuit shift thinking about commodity chains, urban health infrastructures, and environmental plasticity? If/when circuits are problems, what might we use to facilitate movement in their place?

“Moving Into Recognition: The Unknown Patient”
Harris Solomon
Discussant: Emily Yates-Doerr

“Reproducing Terroirs: Selective Reproduction, Grape Sex, and Multispecies Domestication in the Face of Climate Change”
Deborah Heath
Discussant: Andie Thompson

Circulating Craft Beer: Calculating and Sensing Quality”
Tait Mandler
Discussant: Kim Sigmund