New Media (The Space between 1s and 0s: Digital Media and the Posthuman Vision)
ENGL 3726 , English
MWF 11:10am-12:00pm | Shin
Taught by Haerin Shin, English and Cinema and Media Arts
The Space between 1s and 0s: Digital Media and the Posthuman Vision
“Lulled into somnolence by five hundred years of print, literary analysis should awaken to the importance of media-specific analysis, a mode of critical attention which recognizes that all texts are instantiated and that the nature of the medium in which they are instantiated matters.” ― N. Katherine Hayles
As breakthroughs in medical and computer science continuously expand the scope of our bodily and mental presence, the question concerning technology – the role it plays in defining our being and reality, its functional mechanism, and the effects such new methods of mediation exert upon our perception and cognition – presses us with an ever-growing urgency. How do we define and know who we are, and how does one certify his or her own existence, in an age when mechanical augmentation, extension, or even replacement of the body is a realistic venture, and the properties of the human mind can be reproduced, preserved, and/or emulated in the form of digital code? If the human body and its operational constitution could be compatible with that of machines, and self-evolving machines could interact with or even replace humans in their intellectual capacity, what does being human and discerning the grounds of the reality we inhabit involve, and mean? Do new mediatory means reconfigure the way in which we perceive, comprehend, and in turn build the world we live in? This course explores how new media represent, reflect on, and inspire ontological discourses by focusing on the structure and workings of digital and other types of telepresence technology. Students will examine how presence and its representation have transitioned from analog to digital, and organic to mechanic channels of mediation and instantiation. Course materials and exercises will, include reading/writing/interfaces in print (static) and digitally networked media, ranging from twitter fiction, film (digital/CGI), animation (cell/digital), videogame, comics (digital/web), and television show by authors/directors/artists such as Philip K Dick, Ted Chiang, Jennifer Egan, Oshii Mamoru, and Neal Stephenson. The primary texts and varied activities, including field trips and guest lecture, will be paired with critical/theoretical readings.