tracking wool, and sheep too

Scottish tweeds are today fashioned from global wool – one of the routes is slow boat from New Zealand to Turkey where it is spun and dyed, and transported by lorry to a Scottish mill.

Another aspect of globalisation is beign raised in a forthcoming seminar (Aug 31, 2010) in Queensland University of Technology,  by Dr Anne Galloway, Victoria University of Wellington- to quote (my emphasis):

Counting Sheep: New Zealand Merino Wool in an Internet of Things

Abstract: “Pervasive computing brings together wireless, networked and context-aware technologies, including Global Positioning System (GPS), environmental sensors and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), to embed computational capacities in the objects and environments that surround us. The ‘Internet of Things’ is a related vision for future computing that proposes a shift from a network of interconnected computers to a network of interconnected objects. By virtue of their status as highly regulated and globally traded commodities, livestock animals and animal products have long been tracked and are primed to be amongst the first non-humans in such a network. Specifically, RFID-enabled livestock traceability programmes are increasingly being mandated by governments and agricultural industries worldwide to better support management of disease outbreaks and maintain access to high-value export markets. In these technologically determinist traceability scenarios, animals are largely envisioned as manageable and saleable information and farmers are more often positioned as technicians and data collectors than as animal caregivers.
Dr Galloway’s project investigates the role that cultural studies and design can play in presenting both producers and consumers with alternate visions for the future of human-animal relations. Through a juxtaposition of technological livestock management programmes and non-technological wool industry products and services, this presentation will critically question the social and cultural implications of emergent technologies and existing traceability efforts. Particular attention will be given to articulating research practices and stakeholder relations that can significantly engage relevant issues and avoid the pitfalls of both dystopian and utopian futurism.

Link: <http://www.purselipsquarejaw.org/>

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