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A Sense of Balance: Techniques and Technologies of Self-regulation

Sat, September 2, 2:00 to 3:30pm, Sheraton Boston, 3, Fairfax A

Session Submission Type: Traditional (Closed) Panel


This panel puts in conversation a set of cases in which different techniques and technologies serve to mitigate, correct, arrest, vitalize, or otherwise help bodies and selves to live with and through imbalance—vestibular, physiological, affective, moral, and creative. Panelists consider a varied repertoire of self-regulating devices, modes of engagement, and contexts: Joe Dumit considers improvisational contact dance as a window onto the political, gymnastic and practical ways that the concept-practice of balancing gives shape to our lifeworld; Rachel Prentice reflects on balance as a physical and moral category for horse riders through the lens of equestrian dressage and equine-assisted physical therapy; Kelli Moore examines how vertigo therapies help counter the temporal disorientation that can arise for domestic violence victims during courtroom proceedings; Hélène Mialet explores the management of type 1 diabetes, focusing on the different epistemologies operating in the creation of digital and organic devices that are capable of attuning to a fluctuating body; Natasha Schüll queries the phenomenology of mood management devices and apps, finding that wearable sensor technology serves as a kind of thermostat to help selves parry the volatilities of modern living. Thinking across these assorted techniques and technologies—entrainment, improvisation, reenactment, attunement, and digital modulation—the panel will explore how harmony, stability, resistance, control, and regulation are created (or not) between human (and nonhuman) bodies and their environments. What new political and moral ecology can we imagine?

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