Engineering Fictions #3.18:
Computer Says No
by Jessica Foley



Workshop within the Artist Residency Program "Matters of Facts" in the framework of project The Incomputable 

Topic led conversations informing algorithmic writing experiments and thinking with Jessica Foley

CATALYST: Jessica Foley
HOST: The Incomputable and OMG
SEED: Computer Says No…

This writing workshop session will use the Engineering Fictions process to tease out relationships between authorial voice, the production of facticity and lived experiences of the incomputable. The session is catalysed by Jessica Foley and hosted by The Incomputable Project in conversation with OMG.

Engineering Fictions is a creative process-based technique devised to support transdisciplinary research and communication through word-play, writing and conversation. EF sessions structure conditions for thoughtful and emotional conversation and spontaneous writing in relation to the impact of technology in society and culture.

 The structure of each EF session is based on roles of a host, a catalyst and a seed, as they open up a conversation within the shifting forum of people who gather into each session. The EF sessions change over time and in contingency with the context and people involved. In the spirit of Donna Haraway’s scholarship, EF operates according to the principle that “it matters which ideas we think other ideas with”. It matters what stories tell stories and it matters what worlds world worlds. Engineering Fictions is not, therefore, “an innocent universal gesture, but a risky proposition in relentless historical relational contingency.”

 What’s more, it’s enjoyable. 

Engineering Fictions was devised by Jessica Foley with CTVR and CONNECT as a technique for critical improvisation, communication and research-creation in science and technology research contexts.


Jessica Foley works as a writer and creative transdisciplinary researcher. She is currently an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at Maynooth University (MUSSI) 2018-2020 where she is developing research exploring the functions of fiction in parsing ‘Smart Cities’ and ‘Internet of Things’. She is a co-founding member of the Orthogonal Methods Group at CONNECT, the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Future Networks and Communications.

During her PhD research at CTVR/CONNECT, Trinity College Dublin, Jessica pioneered a research-creation process called Engineering Fictions with engineering researchers and artists. Since 2013 Engineering Fictions, along with its twin Stranger Fictions (2018), has become a methodology that embraces the power of fiction and writing to foster and exercise creativity, honesty, diversity and ethical courage in Science and Technology research and industry.

Jessica’s transdisciplinary practice is informed by her education in Graphic Design (B.Des. LSAD), Art and Design Education (H.Dip. LSAD), Contemporary Art (MA Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD)  and Telecommunications Engineering (PhD. CTVR/TCD).