Course Description

MIT 432F (Fall 2005)   The Mechanical Flower: Nurturing Technological Myths from the 19th to the 21st Century

Instructor: T. Blackmore

Course Description
Steel petals open, a new culture of technology rises. Technological roots dig below the skin of the earth to create a rhizome of connectedness that will transplant our world from the bio- to the technosphere. This course examines our persistent anxiety and exhilaration about technology as a force that can both save and destroy us, spiritually, emotionally, physically. Our technological culture fosters certain kinds of reassuring images that are diagnostic of anxious responses to a baffling mechanical environment. In order to assuage our uneasiness about the technosphere, our cultural narratives depict machines that are relatively simple to comprehend and easy to master; other narratives counter machine myths, creating panic in the mechanical hothouse. Looking out over new Arcadia we see calm rows of mechanical flowers nodding in the electric breeze.

Antirequisites: Any 400-Level MIT Course.

3 lecture hours, 0.5 course