Brit Ross Winthereik, James Maguire, and Laura Watts

Download Full EssayThe Energy Walk

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Science and Technology Studies (STS) has a long-standing interest in the nature, effects, and embedded politics of infrastructures. Recent infrastructure studies focus on how realities are made, relationally, and consider infrastructures as sites of experimentation. Of interest in this paper are the imaginative dimensions of infrastructures as they perform a techno-imaginative setup for people to pass through.

Designing four digital walking sticks and installing The Energy Walk in a small town on the Danish west coast illustrate our making of an infrastructure. We studied how this infrastructure would relate and juxtapose entities that were not related or juxtaposed in exactly this way prior to the intervention. The chapter describes infrastructural work of relating and separating phenomena in the world – marine renewable energy, nature, landscapes and publics. Working through affect and spurring both the visitors’ and the researchers’ imagination, The Energy Walk brought into contact what was assumed and believed with what was emerging and not immediately visible. Based on a discussion of technologies of the imagination we conclude that if there is a distinct role for the digital in STS it could be as an unruly research participant that can infrastructure the ephemeral or the not quite/yet seen.