MINDBODYMEDIA with Professor Keefer
Wednesday evenings, Summer 2006
What are the media doing to our minds and bodies?
What have they done and what will they do?
What qualities of our humanity do these media enhance, what do they dwarf?
How do the various media differ in their influence on our MINDBODYSPIRIT?
How will our minds and bodies change with technical advances in enhancements, replacements and Artificial Intelligence?
How can you develop your own media theory?
Choose a Megalo or a Monster: Frankenstein, Alice in Wonderland, Dorian Gray, Cyborg, Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde, Grenouille, Madonna/Marilyn, Frankenstein, Batman, Superman, Spiderwoman, Terminator, King Kong
Choose a Medium: Print, Radio, TV, Internet, Weapons, Wheels, Flight
Create a Media Theory, from the POV of your Character, using your Medium to Cover:
Past, Present and Predictions of the Future
Evaluate the ethics of your theory in terms of the utopia or dystopia it might produce
Improve visual, oral and linguistic skills, connect the discipline of media studies with literature, philosophy, sociology, technology and medical science
Have fun watching movies, reading great books and using your imagination to create new theories!
1) To analyze past, present and future media trends from the POV of MINDBODYMEDIA
2) To develop your unique media theory
3) To continue the departmental focus on interdisciplinary studies by combining media theory and history with literature, psychology, creative writing, acting and web design.
In terms of skill, students will improve writing in all genre, public speaking and debate, web design, and creativity, imagination and critical thinking. In terms of content, students will read both fiction and expository cutting edge academic research as well as see films, comparing efforts to extend our being through technology and science from the eighteenth to the twenty first centuries with an emphasis on internet global communication, futuristic speculations, and the philosophy, ethics, legality, biology and sociology of Artificial Life and the incremental innovations that will lead to it.
We will primarily be analyzing the media of expression and communication such as the internet, movies, TV, radio, and print, and will focus on the ultimate transformation of our humanity into artificial life. Therefore you can either do projects on artificial life, bionic implants etc. or any way that our minds and bodies are transformed by these technological extensions. Surf through student projects in other classes, particularly YOUR COMMUNITY ONLINE and LANGUAGE AND THE BODY or other Keefer courses from the home page.
Required Reading: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, How to Survive as an Adjunct Professor by Wrestling by Julia Keefer, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman, Perfume by Patrick Suskind, A Picture of Dorian Gray, The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil, Metal and Flesh by Ollivier Dyens, Understanding Media by McLuhan.
Requirements and Grading: 20 points attendance and participation. Five little progress papers --10 points each due throughout the semester. Final project edited, enhanced and enlarged for 30 points. We will then have a party where your character reacts spontaneously based on your research.
May 17: Introductory Lecture. Games, exercises and films. Lecture on extensions. Read Understanding Media and first 9 chapters of Un-clashing Civilizations in HOW TO SURVIVE AS AN ADJUNCT PROFESSOR BY WRESTLING. Pick a character. Begin media diary.
May 24: Analyze Superman. Discuss extensions. Lecture on narcissism and megalomania in media. Read the Picture of Dorian Gray and favorite chapters from Megalomania of the Twentieth Century, Part I of How to Survive as an Adjunct Professor by Wrestling.
June 7: Discuss The Picture of Dorian Gray. Analyze excerpts of Batman. Character analysis and monologue due.
June 14: Creative Writing meeting at the Ireland House. Analyze books as media. How does book publishing differ from Internet publishing? Sensory and Cognitive description of chosen medium due. How does the medium relate to the human mindbody? Read Frankenstein.
June 21: Monsters and Madmen. See films, discussion, do improvisational writing and acting. Read Perfume.
June 28: Past history of medium in character's voice due. Bifurcated personalities. Read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
July 5: See film of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Read Metal and Flesh.
July 12: See films, discussion, improvisational acting and writing. Read The Age of Spiritual Machines.
July 14: Class makeup at the Met. Meet at the Temple of Dendur at 6:30 Friday night.
July 19: Present situation of medium in character's voice due. What problems and inequities do you find?
July 26: Future predictions due.
August 2 : Party for the Madonnas/Marilyns, Monsters, Madmen and Madwomen, and Megalos. Interaction in creative circumstances. Final papers and webfolios due.
You can also read student papers from the Keefer website: Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in VR, MUDS and MOOS, Reality TV, Excessive Internet Use Among Teenagers or Housewives, Searching for a Marital Partner Online, The Influence of MINDBODY American TV Images of Hinduism, Cyberspace and the Noosphere, Afro-American Images Online, The Lack of Qualia in Online Communication, Virtual Reality in Respiratory Care. Learn more about physics through this brilliant animation site. Come to ALICE IN WONDERLAND, courtesy of Brian Buckmann and Jean Marc Gulliet. Explore MINDBODYMEDIA through this spectacular design site.
Come to the 3DVR Panorama of BIONIC BEINGS directed by Brian B, I and IIWebfolios of the Bionic Beings
Research Projects directed by
Buchmann, Director of Bionic Beings
Jean Marc Gulliet, Director of Philosophical Obstacles
Michael Hastings, Image Consultant for Bionic Beings, Clones, Cyborgs etc
Richard McCulloch, Legal Advocate for equal rights for all of the above
Sarah Needham and Victoria Mellotti, Mock PR Consultants for MIT's AI project
Michal Hanuka, Problem Solver
Jeremy Schwartz, Risk/Luck Analyst
Religious Objectors: Deborah Dawson for Rabbis, Philip Simon for Muslims
Max, Perfection/Imperfection Analyst
Patricia Oscategui, Pain and Sacrifice Analyst
Afari Christian: AIDS in South Africa
Lorna Baker: Pedagogical Consultant
Nataly Gabra-Mariam: Emotional Memory of Robots
Nilda Diaz: Financial Advisor and Tourist Guide
Nadia Sattar: Data Smog Consultant
What will happen to US when the Bionic Beings, Clones, Cyborgs etc are fully empowered?
How would it feel like to be an Enhanced Being?
Optional Reading List
Abram, David. THE SPELL OF THE SENSUOUS.
Ackerman, Diane. A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SENSES.
Baker, Robin. SEX IN THE FUTURE: ANCIENT URGES MEET FUTURE TECHNOLOGY.
Brown, Norman O. LOVE'S BODY.
Bruyere, Rosalyn L. WHEELS OF LIGHT.
Carroll, Lewis. ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND.
Castells, Manuel. THE INFO AGE (Blackwell)
Campbell, Richard. MEDIA AND CULTURE.
Critical Art Ensemble. THE ELECTRONIC DISTURBANCE.
Descartes, Rene. DISCOURSE ON THE METHOD AND THE MEDITATIONS.
Garfinkle. ARCHITECTS OF THE INFO AGE. Mit Press, 2000.
Gershenfeld, Neil. WHEN THINGS START TO THINK. Henry Holt, 1999.
Gibson, William. NEUROMANCER.
Hall, Edward T. THE HIDDEN DIMENSION.
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray. THE MYTH OF PAIN.
The Holy Eucharist. New Testament.
Helmreich, Stephan. SILICON SECOND NATURE.
Horrocks, Christopher. MARSHAL McLUHAN and VIRTUALITY.
Jastrow, Robert. GOD AND THE ASTRONOMERS.
Johnson, Steven. INTERFACE CULTURE.
Judith, Anodea. WHEELS OF LIFE.
Kearns, Salla and Cohn. ADVANCES IN NEURAL PROCESSING SYSTEMS. Mit Press, 2000.
Kroker, Arthur and Marilouise. DIGITAL DELIRIUM.
Kurzweil, Ray. THE AGE OF SPIRITUAL MACHINES.
Leeson, Lynn Hershman. CLICKING IN: Hot Links to a Digital Culture.
McLuhan, Marshall. UNDERSTANDING MEDIA. THE MEDIUM IS THE MASSAGE. WAR AND PEACE IN THE GLOBAL VILLAGE.
Manovich, Lev. LANGUAGE OF NEW MEDIA (MIT 2000)
Martin, James. AFTER THE INTERNET: ALIEN INTELLIGENCE.
Ong, Walter. ORALITY AND LITERACY.
Postman, Neil. BUILDING A BRIDGE TO THE 18TH CENTURY. New York: Vintage Books, 1999.
Shelley, Mary. FRANKENSTEIN.
Shenk, David. DATA SMOG. HarperCollins, 1998.
Stefik, Mark. INTERNET DREAMS.
Stevenson, Robert Louis. DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE.
Swift, Jonathan. GULLIVER'S TRAVELS.
Trend, David. READING DIGITAL CULTURE.
Turkle, Sherry. LIFE IN THE AGE OF THE INTERNET.
The Hacker Jargon File. June 2, 2000
The Asheron�s Call Homepage., June 3, 2000
Slashdot: News for Nerds. June 9, 2000
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.� June 3, 2000
Ask Mynx?, July 25, 2000
Gibbler�s Page. June 19, 2000
Zanshin�s GLDojo. June 9, 2000
FrostyFX. June 19, 2000
In addition, we will see Steven Spielberg's ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and read selected articles from WIRED magazine.
At the beginning of the semester, create a Bionic or Extended Being, a Frankenstein or Robot that you can take through your research or into Digital Sandcastles, our chat room. In MINDBODYMEDIA, we are trying to understand how and why humans create technological extensions, how our lives are changed by living with them, and what the future possibilities could be. We will surf a number of web sites, see films related to this topic, read books including McLuhan and classical literature, and have in-class writing, discussion and role-playing.
We look at technological extensions of the human mindbodyspirit: the wheel which becomes the horse carriage, the train, the car, the plane, the space shuttle and then the computer zooming through cyberspace-- the extension of the legs, helping us conquer territory and consume space; the pen which becomes the printing press, the typewriter and then the computer-- the extension of our hands which becomes a weapon and expressive tool for our intellect, a way of conquering information and enhancing communication for social exchange; and finally musical instruments, the radio, TV, film and finally computer-- the extension of our ears and eyes which helps us condense and compress time into meaningful and/or entertaining sounds and images. All extensions naturally change the brain and its processing. We explore how these extensions can become crutches that atrophy the human body parts or enhancers that magnify what is both good and bad about human potential. We look at the waste products of these extensions and the damage they cause to us and the environment as well as the ways in which they have improved our environments and standard of living. We contrast the qualia or experiential state of our naked senses with the adrenalin rush and speed and stress of the extensions. We look at how extensions come together with artificial intelligence and robotics. We examine what we have lost and gained when we add technological extensions to the human mindbodyspirit.
Principles from THE END OF EDUCATION by Neil Postman:
1. All technological change is a Faustian bargain. For every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage.
2. The advantages and disadvantages of new technologies are never distributed evenly among the population. This means that every new technology benefits some and harms others.
3. Embedded in every technology there is a powerful idea, sometimes two or three powerful ideas. Like language itself, a technology predisposes us to favor and value certain perspectives and accomplishments and to subordinate others. Every technology has a philosophy, which is given expression in how the technology makes people use their minds, in what it makes us do with our bodies, in how it codifies the world, in which of our senses it amplifies, in which of our emotional and intellectual tendencies it disregards.
4. A new technology usually makes war against an old technology. It competes with it for time, attention, money, prestige, and a "worldview."
5. Technological change is not additive; it is ecological. A new technology does not merely add something; it changes everything.
6. Because of the symbolic forms in which information is encoded, different technologies have different intellectual and emotional biases.
7. Because of the accessibility and speed of their information, different technologies have different political biases.
8. Because of their physical form, different technologies have different sensory biases.
9. Because of the conditions in which we attend to them, different technologies have different social biases.
10. Because of their technical and economic structure, different technologies have different content biases.
Possible Research Projects: You are free to design your own project and bibliography on class theme
Projects can be either in APA or MLA style. In other words, you can do a sociopolitical, economic, medical analysis related to mindbodymedia or AI, or a close textual analysis comparing and contrasting different literary, philosophical or historical texts, using the reading list and your own sources.
McLuhan and his Extensions: Are they still Applicable?
Swift, Postman and the Eighteenth Century: What will this "Bridge" do for us? Has the mind body duality gotten worse?
Alice in Wonderland versus Frankenstein: The Wonders and Horrors of Imagination (and MUDS and MOOS)
The Sociology of the Artificial Intelligence Communities: Helmreich and the White Males (What kind of new elite will we create?)
The History and Hegemony of the MIT Media Lab: How does this color the research?
Will Artificial Beings have Chakras? Ray Kurzweil and his Spiritual Machines versus Kundalini Yoga
AI: The Threat to Christianity and Christian Constructs of the MindBodySpirit (James Martin,The Bible, Voluntary Human Extinction and Christian websites)
Fantasy Online with Alter Egos: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Sherry Turkle
Does It Hurt? Pain, Sensuality and Robotics (Ackerman, Hardcastle and Abram meet Alien Intelligence)
The New Brain: Data Smog and Digital Delirium Dally with Descartes
WIRED Business People and the Socioeconomic Implications of AI: A Reductionist Intelligence?
The Biology versus Technology Competition: Cloning, Sperm Banks versus Computational Creations
Dumbing Down for the Global Commuity--is it necessary? (Manovich and Castells)