Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Monday, May 05, 2008

Design for Living

I'll be teaching my first graduate seminar next academic year at the San Francisco Art Institute. I'm really excited about it. Here's the course description:
We find ourselves in a world we make, and find that we are made and unmade in the making of it. What are we to make of the abiding artifice that is "the political"? What are we doing when we are doing design and what do we do when we discern that design has designs on us?

In this seminar we will think design as a site through which politics are done, but typically done by way of the gesture of a circumvention of the political. At the heart of this disavowed doing of politics we will contend with a perverse conjuration of "the future." The good life is a life with a future, and it is to the future that design devotes its politicity. The species has a future, too, and its City demands design most of all.

We will survey the biopolitical field of design's futurisms through an engagement with selections from Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Roland Barthes, Donna Haraway, Judith Butler, Paul Gilroy, Jacques Ranciere, and Mike Davis and then direct our attention very specifically to the perverse futurological de-politicizations investing three contemporary design discourses: democratization through social software coding (Lawrence Lessig, Yochai Benkler, Clay Shirky, Henry Jenkins, Michel Bauwens), fairness through Green design (David Holmgren, William McDonough, Michael Braugart, Janine Benyus), and emancipation through eugenic biomedical "enhancement" (C.S. Lewis, Slavoj Zizek, Nicholas Agar, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Kaushik Sunder Rajan), as well as some of their points of inter-implication (Katherine Hayles, Eugene Thacker, Bruce Sterling).

We will conclude the seminar with a symposium directing these discursive lenses onto aesthetic, curatorial, practical, and collaborative objects and events.


Robin said...

I'd love to see the reading list for this!

I'm totally cheapening my whole profession (but having an amazingly fun time in the process) by teaching "Artificial Intelligence in Fact and Fiction" in the fall. I haven't finished culling the reading list, but it's almost more fun than I should be allowed to have.

Anonymous said...

I hope you have Lem's Golem XIV on the list, its short, insightful and fun.

jim moore

Robin said...

That one isn't on my list, actually! I could teach this whole course just with Lem. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll have to dig that one out and read it again to see why I didn't put it on my list! The Lem work that made the first cut (although I've got to do another cut):
-The Princess Ineffabelle
-The Seventh Sally
-How the World was Saved
-Non Servium
-The Computer that Fought a Dragon
-Upside-Down Evolution

I should convince someone in the English Dept. to teach a Lem course and I'll teach a complementary course on Minsky or Turing!