Art and Technoscience Studies: Objects, Process, Stoffa

Prof. Sha Xin Wei

General Introduction

This course introduces cultural and social perspectives from science and technology studies that can give teeth to art practices that engage technoscience.

This is a course with challenging readings and thrives on well-prepared in-class discussion. Students will make presentations in a choice of formats, in addition to writing short texts. This course offers students a chance to explore deeply some areas of literature, history, philosophy or cultural studies of science in relation to their practice.

Objects, Process, Stoffa

How are objects -- physical, psychological, linguistic, time-based media, politico-social, ethico-aesthetic objects -- constituted in material, discursive, and media processes? As a corollary, we will be concerned with the emergence of abstraction as a result of these practices. What is process and how can we articulate processes? Approaching these questions materially motivates us to treat matter and media as dynamical substances suffused with value.

What happens to art practices when we attend to process instead of objects?

A concrete challenge for this class will be to imagine how to use our present technologies to construct shared social objects of joint concern. What that means is part of the subject of the class as well.


Readings will be drawn from...

  • Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern
  • Martin Heidegger, What Is A Thing?
  • Lucy Suchman essay on infrastructure
  • Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus
  • Mark Sussman & Susan Simpson, Object Performance
  • Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality

Supplementary Readings

  • Jacques Derrida. Of Grammatology. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976 (1967)
  • Fran Dyson,
  • Michel Foucault. Archaeology of Knowledge. Pantheon Books (1982) paperback. ISBN: 0394711068
  • Eugene Gendlin
  • Elizabeth Grosz
  • Donna Haraway
  • Edwin Hutchins
  • Ian Hacking: The Social Construction of What?
  • Bonnie Nardi, Activity Theory
  • Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics
  • Ferdinand Saussure, A Course in General Linguistics, tr. Wade Baskin, Paperback 1, 1965) , WCB/McGraw-Hill; ISBN: 0070165246.
  • David W. Smith, essay on Husserl’s Phenomenology.
  • Isabelle Stengers
  • A. N. Whitehead. The Concept of Nature : Tarner Lectures. Cambridge University Press Reissue edition (1994). paperback. ISBN: 0521092450


You will be evaluated equally in two areas: (1) your in-class (and on-line) participation and presentations, (2) your final project and documentation.
For your final project, you have the option of writing an individual paper (8-15 pages, plus references) or participating in the production of an object, installation, or event that responds to the theoretical themes of the course readings.





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Office: Skiles 19

Office Hours: F

(and by appointment)

Telephone: 404-579-4944

Email: • x 5949•