"Manifesto for a digital bauhaus" by Pelle Ehn in Digital Creativity.
"Augmentation, symbiosis, transcendence: technology and the future(s) of human identity" by Walter Truett Anderson in Futures.
"The Human Use of Human Beings" by Norbert Wiener and "Contesting for the Body of Information" by N. Katherine Hayles, both from Systems.
"Ten Dreams of Technology," by Steve Dietz.
One Ted Talk
Three Events & Other Talks
There are a lot of ways to approach this topic, particularly in academic terms: there is the history of design and HCI; there is future studies; there is the specific history of the computer; there is art and culture-jamming. Dietz, the curator, frames our technical desires in terms of dreaming.
Yet each approach revolves around the needs that technology is creating and solving. For Dietz directly, technological works are the attempt to pull our dreams into reality. These are not good or bad dreams, but the reflection of our culture. In contrast, Wiener and Hayles's works have definite points of view and preferences for human- and imagination-centered works. (I always prefer the latter.)
The "Digital bauhaus" piece was also quite appealing at first: for its point of view, sense of history, and cultural-activist orientation. The first two proposed studios were around the primary questions I have as well, the interrelations and augmentations of time, space, and interactivity. I notice as well a focus on improving, but I wonder: Do I think improving is a legit goal or a technocratic one? Are those opposed?
What does improving mean without a cultural intervention? In his TED talk, Brin takes for granted the notions that technology is interfering, that our lives are improved by subject-view videos, especially of physical experiences. I can think of little emptier and less-appealing, and given the fate of Glass in popular culture, it seems like I am not the only left cold by this vision.
Hayles's history of the Macy conferences gives us an inkling of how this state of affairs came to be in a surprising assertion of how information became contextless and how the information theory we know is perhaps not very true to Shannon's theories or to life. She ties the changes to increased notions of body-barrier breaching in the second wave of cybernetics.
Structurally, Hayles's history best seemed to be an example of what I am looking for with this question: it situates changes historically rather than outlining its own intentions for change. I likely prefer this because I know what I want to try and am more interested in the grounding. In opposition, the Bauhaus article hardly speaks of the Bauhaus itself at all.
Next, Anderson's future studies taxonomy, echoes Dietz from another discipline, giving us categories to think through. I wonder if I am interested more in augmentation or symbiosis? Am I using the wrong term? As Anderson puts it: "Augmentation has to do with creating abilities not biologically inherent in the phenotype. ... Symbiosis means interaction between two organisms to the mutual benefit of both. ... Transcendence means ‘going beyond’." Yet, his symbiosis examples don't really cover the benefit to the machine in any way, rather they focus on the barrier. To take an example, does the "fam" in Psychohistorical Crisis by Donald Kingsbury benefit? Or is it merely touched?
This "fam" has resonance with the idea of object as portkey, as with Lynn Hershman's Lorna (mentioned in Dietz), and both fall alongside the best image, imagination, trail from these works: Wiener's notion of organisms and organization as "an island of life in a dying world." Wiener gets at why memory, our organization of who we were, in particular seems like the right thing to imbue and object with. But to keep it from being commodified, it can not be plain.