Luddism was a social movement in early 19th-century England that opposed industrial and technological progress. The name Luddite is derived from the supposedly mythical Ned Ludd, a weaver who destroyed two weaving machines in 1779. This Ned Ludd was chanted across poetry, literature, and authored collectively in several hundred letters. An ‘Eliza Ludd’ was penned in only one of these and remains the only non-male pseudonym deployed.
Today, machine breaking and technophobia have reduced the Luddite narrative to a colloquial stigma, though it is no longer machines that need breaking but the metaphors that obfuscate our literacies of them. In a contemporary mythology, Eliza Ludd is understood to wage revolt against the Fog, or fog computing, heir apparent to the Cloud. However, the Fog cannot be fought alone. Eliza Ludd re-emerges as a collective body to narrate a Luddism fit for our current condition.
Through a process of character-building and narrative mapping, we’ll produce material that evidences Eliza’s activities against the Fog. We’ll discuss and prototype strategies to counter what this future metaphor has already come to symbolise in our literacy of technologies today. The outcome of the workshop will then form the basis for a collective story, to be designed and disseminated amidst the backdrop of our so-called New Dark Age.
Ollie George is a designer and writer based in London, working between the fields of graphic design, art, pedagogy and curation. His practice employs an expanded concept of fiction, one that extends on the novel as its popularized ‘genre’, to re-enchant matters of education, technology and collectivity.
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