There is an urgent need for 21st century education to be able to address the complex entangled problems of climate crisis and its relation to technological development with radical new multi-faceted transdisciplinary approaches. We believe that teaching an Aesthetics of Care with Ecology in Technological Education will provide students with the transformative set of skills and competences needed to redefine sustainable technological development for the 21st century. Following the third and fourth industrial revolutions , technology mediates ever-more aspects of everyday life to an unprecedented respect. Central to these technological shifts are transglobal computational networks (Bratton) , data assemblages (Kitchin), organised inorganic systems (Stiegler) of unprecedented scale and scope, and regimes of algorithmic governmentality (Rouvroy and Berns) that govern the ways humans interrelate with themselves (Foucault), others, the natural environment, and civil society. Accordingly, the shaping of those technologies will significantly impact how we both mediate and act upon our environment and one another. From consumer electronics to facial recognition and autonomous vehicles, technical innovations are wrought by human ingenuity and are thus inherently cultural, bounded by human ethical and aesthetic considerations (Amoore 2020, Noble 2018,) .
Therefore, it follows that an aesthetic-ethical education in technology is needed to address the wicked problems of our age: climate crisis; data extractivism and digital colonialism; surveillance and privacy; cycles of techno obsolescence and e-waste, fostering of digital inclusion and
ecologically sustainable technological innovation. We believe that a radical new trans-disciplinary approach is required for 21st century education to be able to address these complex entangled problems. We maintain that teaching an Aesthetics of Care with Ecology in Technological Education is needed to provide students with the transformative set of skills and competences needed to redefine sustainable technological development. In this approach aesthetics and ecological principles are built in and essential to technological education so that ethical uses of the latter are guaranteed. An
Aesthetics of Care means that concrete ways of caring for one-another, for human societies, and for the environment are encoded in how we design, build, interact with, employ, or aestheticise technology, so that future technologists have concrete ethical contexts to address, and tackle, societal and ecological affairs. Aesthetics of Care in this context needs to be understood as a form of praxis, an individual practice with collective implications, that permeates all social, economic and technical relationships in the anthropocene. Aesthetics of Care is informed by an understanding of Aesthetics as the “distribution of the sensible” (Ranciere 2004) that is inherently ethical and political in conjunction with our sense experience of everyday life (Saito 2017).
We bring aesthetics together with an ethics of care that understands the self as constituted by relations with others, human and non human, (Nussbaum 1996) and with our planet (Robinson 2011). From this we propose hermeneutics of care that considers the role of interpretation as restorative (Paul Ricœur), reparative (see Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick) and creative (see Ralph Waldo Emerson). Interpretation thus is an aesthetic act that opens up the potential for new forms of reasoning in relation to justice and democracy in society. This proposes an aesthetic-technological education that focuses on a curriculum design where education is seen as more than an ‘economic act’ of agency. Care, reparation and restoration are modes of ethical ‘reception’ and aesthetic ‘beholding’ that invoke and entail new ways of thinking technology beyond economic extraction. in relation to justice and democracy in society.