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PART THREE: OBJECT LESSONS FOR AN INFORMATION AGE

F r o m t h e p e r s p e c t i v e o f T h i n g T h e o r y w e f i n d o u r s e l v e s i n a m o m e n t o f e x t r e m e f l u i d i t y : t h e 1 9 t h c e n t u r y o b j e c t w a s s e l f - c o n t a i n e d a n d a u t o n o m o u s ( t h e t y p e w r i t e r , t h e s e w i n g m a c h i n e ) ; t h e 2 0 t h c e n t u r y o b j e c t p l u g g e d i n t o a c e n t r a l i z e d e l e c t r i c a l g r i d ( t h e e l e c t r i c f a n , t h e t a b l e r a d i o ) ; t h e d e f i n i n g o b j e c t s o f t h e 2 1 s t c e n t u r y B l u e t o o t h - e n a b l e d W i F i d e v i c e s , R F I D - t a g g e d p r o d u ubiquitous computing—communicate with us and with one another across distributed networks. As we enter this new object-space (with the challenges of nanotech- and biotech- just over the horizon), it seems advisable to take stock of where things stand. c t s ,

April 8.

Things at the Edge of Thingness: Software and the Information Appliance

Things just aren’t what they used to be! Is your cell phone a product or a service? Why is there no “on/off” switch on my printer? What makes “smart” weapons so dumb? And what kind of a “page” is a web page, anyway? The late Vilém Flusser, the Czech-Brazilian philosopher and media theorist whose work is just beginning to become known in the English-speaking world, offers some foundational thoughts on the post-modern object.

read:

Vilém Flusser, “The Non-Thing” Barry Katz, “The Work of the Hand in the Life of the Mind”

April 15.

The Shape of Things to Come: Designing for the End of Time

Science fiction writer Bruce Sterling has lately turned to writing about the fiction that is our own scientific age. Sterling is the founder of the iconoclastic Viridian Movement (http://www.viridiandesign.org/), which explores the ecological consequences of our fascination with things and our prodigious capacity to produce them.

read:

Bruce Sterling, Shaping Things

April 22.

Final Presentations

April 29.

Final Presentations

When the dog bites, When the bee stings, When I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, And then I don't feel so bad.

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