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Dis-automation: Creative making with automation and AI

Crogan, Patrick

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Patrick Crogan
Associate Professor in Digital Cultures


This essay considers the nature and stakes of creative making with computational automation technologies. I will argue that Bernard Stiegler’s organological approach to the human as “technical life” takes care of the question of the nature of creative making, and the pharmacological critical practice that it mandates takes care of the question of the stakes. I say “takes care” to emphasise that Stiegler’s theoretical enterprise is dedicated to a “therapeutics” of contemporary technocultural transformation, because culture is best understood as a taking care of the technical pharmakon – both poison and cure – that is our irreducible technical supplementarity. After providing an assessment of Stiegler’s thinking on organology and pharmacological critique, I will discuss the work of some creative makers I have worked with or was able to interview as part of the South West Creative Technologies Network’s Automation Fellowship programme in 2019-2020. The goal is to interpret their work pharmacologically and so to elaborate and extend Stiegler’s work on contemporary technocultural becoming. Digital automation and AI are powerful drivers of the so-called Silicon Valley era of disruptive “creative destruction”. This means that the stakes of creative making and its possibilities for taking care of the future cannot be higher today.


Crogan, P. (2022). Dis-automation: Creative making with automation and AI. Media Theory, 6(2), 25-54

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 2, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 19, 2022
Publication Date Dec 19, 2022
Deposit Date May 26, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 30, 2023
Journal Media Theory
Electronic ISSN 2557-826X
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 2
Article Number 174
Pages 25-54
Series Title Special Issue: Pharmacologies of Media
Keywords Bernard Stiegler, creative production, AI and automation, organology, pharmacological critique, machinic turn
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