Artifice and Agency

Monday, January 26, 2009


Has everybody been able to purchase the book? How is the reading going? Any problems to report? By all means, if any themes or problems are emerging as especially promising or perplexing to you as you read along, feel free to post about them here either before or after our discussion Wednesday.

Invitations Are In

I believe that everybody has been invited to the blog now. Please e-mail or leave a comment here if anything has gone wrong. By all means, play around with the blogging process if you haven't done this before, acclimate to the thing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Design For Living

Spring 2009, Wednesdays 1-3.45 3LH, SFAI, Dale Carrico,

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 direct our attention to the reiterated gesture of a futurological de-politicization of political aspiration through the figure of design, especially as this gesture articulates two urgent contemporary design discourses: one that would achieve sustainability (and ultimately secure social justice) through Green design (David Holmgren, William McDonough, Michael Braugart, Janine Benyus) and one that would deepen democracy through social software coding (Lawrence Lessig, Yochai Benkler, Clay Shirky, Michel Bauwens). We will survey the biopolitical context of design's futurisms through an engagement with selections from (especially) Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Roland Barthes, and Mike Davis.

Provisional Schedule of Meetings

Week One | Jan. 21 -- Introductions
I -- Sustainability By Design
Week Two | Jan 28 -- Janine Benyus, Biomimicry [purchase book]
Week Three | Feb. -- William McDonough & Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle [purchase book]
Week Four | Feb. 4-- David Holmgren, Permaculture
II -- Peer to Peer Democratization By Design
Week Five | Feb. 11 [selections] Lawrence Lessig, Code, The Future of Ideas, Remix
Week Sex | Feb. 18 [selections] Yochai Benkler, Wealth of Networks, also online discussion
Week Seven | Feb. 25 [selections] Clay Shirky, online discussion of Here Comes Everybody, and Michel Bauwens, “Peer to Peer and Human Evolution”
III -- Retrofutural Evocations
Week Eight | March 4 -- Bruce Sterling, Shaping Things [purchase book]
Week Nine | March 11 -- [selections] Roland Barthes, Mythologies [purchase book], and Daniel Harris, “The Futuristic”
Week Ten | March 18 -- No Meeting; Spring Break
Week Eleven | March 25 -- Mike Davis, Planet of Slums [purchase book]
IV -- Biopolitics As Frame
Week Twelve | April 1 Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition [purchase book]
Week Thirteen | April 8 Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition
Week Fourteen | April 15 [selections] Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish, History of Sexuality, Vol. 1, Society Must Be Defended, Birth of Biopolitics
Week Fifteen | April 22 [selections] Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer, Means Without Ends; & [selections] Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women, When Species Meet
V -- Symposium: April 29; May 6