In a world of industrial ruins shiny and clean material becomes rusty. Rust is a becoming, a process of transformation from provisionally well-defined and contoured shapes to a rough and fragile existence. Rust is part of ghostly landscapes in a time of domination by the anthropos. We live with rust and constitute rust. Rust is beautiful, as the pictures in our header evidence; an aesthetical pleasure. Rust is also the surname of a German teenager and amateur pilot who in 1987 crossed the iron curtain and landed in Moscow near the Red Square.
Taking rust as a metaphor that applies to various conditions of life on this planet, to aesthetics and to courage our lab seeks to contribute to better ways of engaging with the scientific and technological cultures that give rise to and are affected by these conditions. Embedded within the field of Science & Technology Studies lab themes are subsumed under the broader questions of knowledge production, technology development, health technologies, naturecultures and socio-material entanglements. Our approach and the challenge we take upon ourselves is ethnographic in its core. Building on the different shapes and shades that ethnography went and is still going through, the aim of the RUSTlab is to “reset” and develop participatory, sustainable, open-ended and creative approaches that push the boundaries for engaging with scientific and technological cultures.
We also work in interdisciplinary collaboration with others and invite everyone who is interested in working with us. Read more about “co-laborating” here. Currently, our issues cover cybersecurity and digital methods, affective computing and human-environment relations. The issues may change with people joining and leaving the lab.
RUSTlab stands for all this, and for Ruhr University Science & Technology Studies Laboratory. The lab is run mainly by members of the Chair of Cultural Psychology and Anthropology of Knowledge at Ruhr-University Bochum.