Hyperbola Stories

Presented at EASST/4S conference  August 18th – 21st 2020 — Locating and Timing Matters: Significance and agency of STS in emerging worlds

Rachel Horst and Susan Sechrist VISIT THE TWINE HERE Abstract: Experimental literature has long been a generative environment for thinking through and experimenting with theoretical ideas about systems, networks, and complex sociomaterial assemblages. Science and technology thinkers such as Latour and Haraway have often turned to the literary imagination as a provocative space for storying the implications of our sciences and maths and designing new and creative ways of thinking the world in order to find solutions to our most pressing problems. It is not just the artifact of the story, but the processual art of storying that can be a radical tool for (re)imagining and (re)inventing reality. Avant-guard groups, like OuLiPo, have focused on the process of writing to illuminate the deeply contingent and post human collaborations of authorship, and the materiality of text. In this presentation, we will share our collaborative storying methodology, which we designed to explore the narrative implications of a mathematical concept: specifically (x^2 + y^2)^2 = a^2 (x^2 – y^2), the nonlinear formula for the pedal curve of a rectangular hyperbola, the Lemniscate of Bernoulli. We each took up this formula and storied the rich sociomaterial implications of these remarkable shapes. We then engaged in collaborative, proliferating, and recursive storying, thus problematizing the binaries of reader and author, experiment and experimented, and revealing the richly contingent collaborations between tool, method, and sociomaterial context. We hope this storying methodology, as well as the emergent data of entangled texts, will be a provocation to breathe narrative possibility into the ways we think and do science and math.

Key Words::
collaborative digital writing, collaborative futures, math fiction, fiction as theory