Julian Stubbe: Comparative Heuristics from an STS Perspective. Inquiring “Novelty“ in Material Practice[Abstract]
This article proposes reconfiguring comparison as a method for innovation studies. It explores how two objects – a media installation and a robotic hand – are configured as novel through a complexity of materialities, stories, and bodies. In focus are small-scale interactions that signify relations between technological objects and their stories. The methodological approach advanced in this article focuses on the construction of comparability, the perspective from which something is compared, and one’s own bodily involvement in co-producing situations. Through two configurative moments, rendering imagined objects and material referencing, this article delineates how the installation and the robotic hand materialise imaginaries and how they articulate stories of their difference. The proposed reconfiguration avows novelty as a concept through which continuities can be drawn, just as it acknowledges the locality of its articulation in different forms. Its perspective is local, as it is immersed in the net of materialities, stories, and bodies, while it moves on and re-arranges what is understood and what needs to be understood.