Author Archives: Jennifer Macdonald

Jennifer Macdonald is a Research Associate at Charles Darwin University, working on a project in Kakadu National Park with Traditional Owners and Rangers to identify indicators and methods for monitoring healthy country. She recently submitted her PhD where she worked with Rangers in south-east Arnhem Land and central Australia on how to monitor success in their land management programs. She lives in Darwin and has a mango tree in her backyard that once grew 800 mangoes in a single year.
A group of people sit in a circle at an academic conference as window washers descend outside.

Choreographies of Magic and Mess: AusSTS in Melbourne and Darwin

As the presenter encouraged the academics in the room to consider what it means for nanotechnology to sell itself as ‘magic’, boots appeared outside the window behind him. The presenter was Dr. Declan Kuch from the University of NSW and the occasion was the AusSTS Graduate Workshop, which was held on the 12th floor of Deakin Downtown in Melbourne. The provocation Dr. Kuch presented: ‘who performs the magic and for whom?’, was illuminated by the real time, situated magical performance unfolding behind him, as four high-rise window washers descended, each swiping and cleaning in hypnotic choreography. They wore orange helmets and gloves to keep warm, blue buckets clipped to their belts and bandanas protecting their faces from the water, or perhaps from us, as we smiled and pointed and ogled at their daring feats. It was an STS moment: the physicality of the window washers; the labour/danger dynamic; talk of magic and nanotechnology—science and humanities colliding in a discomforting dance. (read more...)