Course Description

MIT 4035G (Winter 2014)   Special Topics in MIT: The Mechanical Flower

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.

Prerequisites: Registration in fourth year of an Honors Specialization module in FIMS. Note: Enrollment is based on a ballot system which is submitted prior to course registration.

3 lecture hours, 0.5 course