Acts of Use from Gestell to Gelassenheit: Calculative Thinking and Exploratory Doing

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Abstract / Description of output

This paper addresses the implications of open–ended instances of use and non–instrumental person–thing interactions. Central to the argument is an analysis of Heideggerian work on technology and particularly of the notions of Gestell [enframing] and Gelassenheit [releasement]. These name respectively modern technology’s inherent danger – a totalising ‘unconcealment’ of the world as mere resources to be exploited – and a possible gateway from it – in the form of an open mode of thinking, void of calculative demands towards what is encountered. Suggesting that a possible transition from Gestell to Gelassenheit needs not be intended as an exclusively metaphysical shift, as some have argued, it will then be considered how a different way of thinking could be prepared and assisted by a different way of acting, of doing. Such radical modification would crucially require questioning the very notion of use and its hazy relation to functionality. The paper ultimately makes a case for modes of interacting with artefacts through acts of use as ends in themselves, transcending teleological explanations and not exhausted in utilitarian functionalism. It is proposed that a possible prototype for this type of inherently ludic exploratory doing might be found in the activities of French revolutionary group Situationist International.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociotechnical Environments
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 6th STS ITALIA CONFERENCE
Place of PublicationMilan
PublisherSTS Italia Publishing
Pages743
Number of pages754
ISBN (Electronic)978–88–940625–1–9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • use
  • Heidegger
  • Gestell
  • Gelassenheit
  • play
  • dérive
  • Situationist International
  • STS

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