Convivial Decay: Entangled Lifetimes in a Geriatric Infrastructure

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper discusses the empirical case of an aging and obsolescent infrastructure supporting a space science mission that is currently approaching a known end. Such a case contributes to our understanding of the degrading path at the end-of-life of an infrastructure. During this later stage in the life of infrastructure we can observe common issues associated with aging infrastructures – hardware’s material decay, programming languages and software tools reaching end of support, obsolete managerial methodologies, etc. Such a case of infrastructural decay reveals how work of infrastructure maintenance may reach the limits of repair and shift from repair-as-sustaining into a mode of repair- into-decay, actively working towards the end-of-life. What this reveals is that, rather than infrastructural decay being a natural by-product of time’s passing, there is active work that goes into producing a convivial decay in which the multiple temporalities of aging and decay are brought into alignment through negotiation of what aging means, its impacts on different forms of work, and even what counts as old and new.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ACM Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work & Social Computing : CSCW '16
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date27 Feb 2016
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-3592-8
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2016


  • materiality
  • temporalities
  • life cycles
  • lifetimes
  • repair
  • sustainability
  • longevity
  • infrastructure studies
  • maintenance


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