The Critical Engineering Manifesto

The Critical Engineering Working Group - Berlin, October 2011  

0. The Critical Engineer considers Engineering to be the most transformative
language of our time, shaping the way we move, communicate and think. It is the
work of the Critical Engineer to study and exploit this language, exposing its

1. The Critical Engineer considers any technology depended upon to be both a
challenge and a threat. The greater the dependence on a technology the greater
the need to study and expose its inner workings, regardless of ownership or
legal provision.

2. The Critical Engineer raises awareness that with each technological advance our
techno-political literacy is challenged.

3. The Critical Engineer deconstructs and incites suspicion of rich user

4. The Critical Engineer looks beyond the 'awe of implementation' to determine
methods of influence and their specific effects.

5. The Critical Engineer recognises that each work of engineering engineers its
user, proportional to that user's dependency upon it.

6. The Critical Engineer expands 'machine' to describe interrelationships
encompassing devices, bodies, agents, forces and networks.

7. The Critical Engineer observes the space between the production and consumption
of technology. Acting rapidly to changes in this space, the Critical Engineer
serves to expose moments of imbalance and deception.

8. The Critical Engineer looks to the history of art, architecture, activism,
philosophy and invention and finds exemplary works of Critical Engineering.
Strategies, ideas and agendas from these disciplines will be adopted,
re-purposed and deployed.

9. The Critical Engineer notes that written code expands into social and
psychological realms, regulating behaviour between people and the machines they
interact with. By understanding this, the Critical Engineer seeks to reconstruct
user-constraints and social action through means of digital excavation.

10. The Critical Engineer considers the exploit to be the most desirable form of