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standby

Standby: Organizing modes of in|activity

Introduction

In the technical sense, standby refers to an operating state in which energy continues to flow despite an apparent shutdown, thus allowing for sudden reactivation. However, the term ‘standby’ extends to realms beyond electronic devices, and it has long since shaped the work environments of people such as medical practitioners, military troops, or airplane staff. Following up on this observation, this special issue of ephemera explores how standby acts as an ordinary mode of organizing sociomaterial lifeworlds.

Infrastructural Standby: Caring for loose relations

Introduction

Slowdown is a mundane part of infrastructural operations and emerges in varying compositions (e.g. Harvey, 2012; Weszkalnys, 2017). Infrastructures rest while waiting for an emergency (e.g. urban emergency infrastructures or critical architectures, like bunker systems, banking architectures or information systems); flows of money, information and passengers are hindered and stuck in waiting architectures until further notice and technical compositions remain available for possible re-usage, e.g.

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