About Sadie Plant

Extended biogaphy of Sadie Plant by Yvette van Nierop for the DEAF03 symposium.

Sadie Plant is actively concerned with the interaction between the effects of technological developments and cultural processes. From her cyberfeminist background, she has explored the role women have played, are currently playing and might play in the future developments of new technologies. In her book Zeros + Ones, she effectively offers an alternative for the common conviction that technology is and always has been a masculine area.

She has a special interest in the side effects of technological progress, in the gap between intention and consequences. Technological developments are not confined to single purposes, once developed and marketed anyone can use them according to their own ideas. The consequences of technological developments on social relations the past century were unintended but nevertheless irreversible. Internet is changing the way people think and this ongoing process is undermining the old patterns based on ideas of the independent individual.

Sadie Plant is one of the guest speakers at the symposium Information is Alive. For the book that accompanies this DEAF Festival, also called Information is Alive, she contributed the essay Mobile Knitting. There she compares the functionality of the craft of knitting with the way the mobile phone is functioning in social relations.

Knitting itself is quite a mobile craft, since al that is needed are needles and a thread. It is also flexible in its applications; the same needles can knit both large and small socks. Knitting provides a seamless fabric that is flexible and can adjust its form, but it can also be easily undone. And the process is very easy; with a little practice it hardly requires any attention. The mobile phone is easy to use, portable and multi-functional. It offers the possibility to maintain the links between family and friends in an increasingly mobile world.

It is hard to say whether knitting had a big impact on the way humans perceived the world when it first made its appearance. Archaeological evidence of knitting is scarce. This might well be because knitted clothing was meant for extensive use and was worn until completely worn out. That the introduction of mobile phones do influence the daily routine of social practices has become clear by now but there is no way to predict how far the impact of the mobile phone will reach in the near future. In some social environments the mobile phone has already transformed into an essential lifeline that enables individuals to stay in constant contact with their loosely knitted social networks.

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