Photo: Janine Schranz

Clay PCB

Patrícia J. Reis (PT/AT), Stefanie Wuschitz (AT)


Eco-Feminist Decolonial Hardware

It is an open secret that the hardware in our smart devices contains not only plastics but also ‘conflict minerals’ such as copper and gold. Technology is not neutral. We investigate alternative hardware from locally sourced materials from a feminist perspective, to develop and speculate upon renewable practices. We call it Feminist Hardware! Feminist Hardware is developed without mining in harmful ways, in an environmentally friendly way, under fair working conditions, and is manufactured from ubiquitously available materials, without generating e-waste, with consent, love and care.

We researched on fair-traded, ethical, biodegradable hardware for environmental justice, building circuits that use ancient community-centered crafts encouraging de-colonial thinking, market forces to be disobeyed, and future technologies to be imagined. Our artistic outcome is an Ethical Hardware Kit with a PCB microcontroller at its core. Our PCB is made of wild clay retrieved from the forest in Austria and fired on a bonfire. Our conductive tracks used urban-mined silver and all components are re-used from old electronic devices. The microcontroller can compute different inputs and outputs and is totally open source.

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Scientific research and concept: Patrícia J. Reis, Taguhi Torosyan, Stefanie Wuschitz
PCB design: Patrícia J. Reis, Daniel Schatzmayr
3D printing: Klemens Kohlweis
Clay manufacturing and research: Patrícia J. Reis
Textile work: Erika Farina
Ethical Hardware Kit contributors: Melanie Steinhuber, Petra Francesca Weixelbraun, Florian Winkler and Alba from Media Design class at the University of Art and Design Linz, Hannah Perner Wilson, Maria Antonia Gonzales Valerio, and Saad Chinoy

With support from: FWF – Austrian Science Fund (PEEK AR 580); Academy of Fine Arts Vienna; Mz* Baltazar’s Lab


Patrícia J. Reis (PT/AT) is a media artist and researcher whose practice encompasses various formats and media to examine the human relationships with technology with a particular focus on feminism, sensuality, and haptics. She is currently Principal Investigator of the project Hacking the body as the black box at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Stefanie Wuschitz (AT) is an arts-based researcher investigating strategies to decolonise technology. Her publications evolve around feminist hacking. Her artwork has been exhibited and screened at international venues. She is currently Principal Investigator of a project on Digital Colonialism in Indonesia affiliated to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.