HL97: Imagining Media

Instructors: Jen Schnepf and James Stanley
Meeting time: Wednesday, 1-4

What questions arise when pianos play themselves, when electronics channel voices of the dead, when computers express care, concern, or fear? If technologies mediate our experience of reality, do we experience reality or media? And when will the machines that we have become so reliant on stop needing us? In the development of media technologies over the past two hundred years, we have extended our capacity to see, hear, communicate and effect change across both space and time. But our relationships with these evolving technologies have never been easy, as each extension of our capacities has made us, at the same time, more reliant on the technologies that extend them. As machines have become integrated into virtually every aspect of our lives, we have been forced to ask questions about where mediation ends and “organic” experience begins. In this class we’ll think through our troubled relationship with the machine world by considering how media ranging from the phonograph and radio, to the telephone and computer have asked us to reconsider our autonomy and our humanity throughout the twentieth century.