Resilience as a Critical Approach to Technology in Rewilding Culture

My essay Resilience as a Critical Approach to Technology was published as a chapter in the book Rewilding Culture.

Rewilding Culture, ed. Erich Berger et al. (Ljubljana: Zavod Projekt Atol, 2021), 72–82.
ISBN: 978-961-92449-7-5



This essay considers how approaching the theme of resilience from a critical perspective on technology offers insight into technology’s capacity to respond to the complexity of the world. This perspective addresses the fact that technology tends to reveal certain intricacies of the world, for example, by providing solutions to one problem while opening a host of difficult-to-foresee side-effects, ethical dilemmas, and unintended consequences. And while critical perspectives on technology may offer crucial insights into and objections to various aspects that arise in that regard, discourse surrounding technology shows a tendency to streamline highly complex issues into black-and-white contrasts. This inclination towards oversimplification does not do justice to either understanding the intricacies that technologies typically entail, nor to the intention of assessing the potential faults that may arise from the use of a given technology. Proposing the theme of resilience as a lens through which to approach technology in a critical light seeks to address the unpredictable, complex, and heterogeneous contexts to which critically focused art, design, and technology respond.


Through close—and critical—examination of the issues associated with a particular technology or technological approach, it is possible to develop tools and methods that apply the benefits it offers, while mitigating the potential negative side-effects involved. As described previously, criticality does not necessarily entail the negation of technology. Instead, it requires adopting an approach that is open to the subtleties of the subject matter. It would be dangerous to assume that one approaches from neutral ground. There are many factors involved in technologies and their various surrounding contexts, but the perspectives of practitioners, users, and observers also impose their own constraints upon how a given technology in fact plays out. Much as one-size-fits-all approaches to technology tend to be unsuccessful at achieving their intended objectives, it is important to recognise that similarly straightforward ways of understanding technology may also fail to grasp the complexity of the actual situations they claim to address.