The Howling Wind, The Swerving Air. Haunted Machines 2015.
This essay was commissioned by Haunted Machines for their inaugural event, and traces the manifestation of the sociology of expectations through austromancy and wind-farms.
There is a long history of the wind being used for seeing and scrying. Austromancers look to the currents to predict what might come next; other forms of aeromancy tugs at what can be read from the clouds, from the thunder and from the lightning. What do the storms sound like? What does it mean to feel the petrichor against your teeth?
Divinations offer insight and sensemaking from the seemingly disjointed and chaotic (the breeze from the west is very strong); and in doing so, they proffer visions and expectations (which augers well for those who would do battle today). Visions offer up guidance about the pathways one might choose to go down and what might be at the end of them. Expectations are performative - they are the wishful enactments of a desired future, and they are inscribed into everything. As one cannot act without making assumptions about that act, and what it means expectations influence attitudes and shape behaviours (so bring my horse and my axe to the gate).
Cognitive, material, and social factors shape what we expect from technology and the shape of the technology itself - what visions are offered up, who endorses them, and the action they promote, driving and steering change.