Projektmodul / Project Module
The Posthuman Use of Transhuman Beings
Instructor: Vertr.-Prof. Jason Reizner
Credits: 18 ECTS, 12 SWS
Capacity: max. 15 students
Language: English
Date: Plenum: Tuesdays, 13:30-17:00; Consultations by appointment
Location: Online/Marienstraße 7b
First Meeting: 19 October 2021, 13:30 on BBB
(Link to online meeting will be sent to accepted participants by email.)
BISON Course ID: [TBA]

Description


The world of the future will be an ever more demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence, not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited upon by our robot slaves.

– Norbert Wiener, 1964


Following his groundbreaking 1948 work Cybernetics: or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, which introduced cybernetics both as a term of art and as a new scientific discipline, in 1950 Norbert Wiener went on to publish The Human Use of Human Beings, presciently envisioning how automation driven by cybernetic systems could benefit society while also warning of the potential ethical and sociological implications of their adoption and use in the context of the "limits of communication within and among individuals." (Wiener 1950)

In the intervening seven decades, these cybernetic systems have evolved from their origins as novel academic discourse to become the foundation of the now pervasive digital infrastructure that underpins how contemporary society communicates, transacts, creates and governs. The ubiquity of the interactions between humans and this infrastructure predicates the transhumanist argument that biotechnological augmentation is no longer science fiction but already the everyday lived experience of billions.

With a focus on "machines which learn; (...) machines which reproduce themselves; and (...) the coordination of machine and man" (Wiener 1964), this project module will explore the linkages and delineations between transhumanism and posthumanism at present to speculate on a future "no longer considering the interface with technology as an ergonomic relationship with an external tool that just extends the human body, but as a hybrid, or interpenetration that questions the separation of the body and its centrality." (Maestrutti 2011)

Through a series of lectures, workshops and targeted discussions, participants will address topics including cybernetics, transhumanist interfaces and singularity, critical and speculative posthumanism, post-human-centered design, telepresence/telerobotics, network cultures, information landscapes and platform ecosystems, machine learning, human and artificial intelligence, generative and autonomous systems.

Admission requirements

Enrollment in MKGMedienkunst/Mediengestaltung/MAD MFAMaster of Fine Arts – graduate students will receive this degree or MediaArchitecture MSc programs

Application and registration procedure

Application with CV1. [[Tracking Motion Detection|Computer Vision]], 2. [[wikipedia:Curriculum vitae]] and Statement of Motivation to jason.reizner [ät] uni-weimar.de

Evaluation

Successful completion of the course is dependent on regular attendance, active participation, completion of assignments and delivery of a relevant semester prototype and documentation. Please refer to the Evaluation Rubric for more details.

Eligible participants

MFAMaster of Fine Arts – graduate students will receive this degree Medienkunst/-gestaltung, MFAMaster of Fine Arts – graduate students will receive this degree Media Art and Design, MSc MediaArchitecture candidates

Platforms and Tools

This WikiHaiwaiian for ''fast'' (not an acronym). It is the name for a hypertext system for websites where the user may not only read the content but is also able to change it instantaneously through the browser.
BigBlueButton (only as necessary)
Cisco WebEx
Are.na
MURAL
Miro
Google Jamboard

Syllabus (subject to change)

19 October 2021 / Week 1
Introduction
Course Organization
Administrative Housekeeping

Assignment: For next week, please review the following:
"The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (Again)" by Doug Hill and
"Getting Started Guide to Cybernetics" by Paul Pangaro

Please be ready to share your preliminary ideas for your concept for your semester project.



26 October 2021 / Week 2
Cybernetics, or Go With the Flow (Control)
Algorithmic, Computational & Generative Forms

Assignment: In preparation for next week's guest lecture, please review:
"The idiom of co-production" by Sheila Jasanoff



2 November 2021 / Week 3
Transhumanism as Extreme Co-production
Guest Lecture with Prof. Mario Verdicchio, University of Bergamo (IT)

Co-production is the complex of simultaneous processes by which modern societies form their epistemic and normative understandings of the world. According to this framework, scientific ideas, beliefs, and associated technological artifacts evolve together with the representations, identities, discourses, and institutions that give practical effect and meaning to ideas and objects. In this lecture we will explore what this might mean in a transhuman world where the boundaries between technology and human identity tend to disappear.

Assignment: For next week, please review the following:
"Lead: America’s Real Criminal Element" by Kevin Drum

Please be ready to present your concept for your semester project for 10-15 minutes during next week's Roundtable.



9 November 2021 / Week 4
Project Roundtable I

Assignment: For next week, please review "Beyond Radical Design?", the first chapter of Speculative Everything by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby.



16 November 2021 / Week 5
Design Fiction, Speculative Futures and Xenodesign

Assignment: Over the next two weeks, experiment with Asynchronous Speculative Design Experiment on Miro and begin working on your midterm presentations.




23 November 2021 / Week 6
Independent Research

Assignment: Please complete your midterm presentations and be ready to talk for 15-20 minutes about your semester project during next week's session.



30 November 2021 / Week 7
Midterm Presentations

Assignment: For next week, please review the first chapter of Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction by Paul Dourish. If you have time, also have a look at "Donna Haraway: The Digital Cyborg Assemblage and the New Digital Health Technologies", a chapter from Deborah Lupton (PDF provided in class).



7 December 2021 / Week 8
Tangibles and Wearables: Interaction at the Edge

Assignment: Please experiment with one or more of the technologies from today's demos (TUIO, ar.js, Teachable Machine) to create your own simple tangible interaction object(s). Be ready to show what you've built and talk about how it works to bridge the gap between bits and atoms.



14 December 2021 / Week 9
Posthuman Information Landscapes
Concept Development Lab I

Assignment: For our next session, please review "Information landscapes as contexts of information practices" by Reijo Savolainen.



4 January 2022 / Week 10
Information Ontologies and Semantic Systems

Assignment: For next week, please review the Pizza Ontology tutorials we discussed in class (all links on are.na) and either build your own or expand upon an existing ontology in Protege or the ontology toolset of your choice. Be ready to talk about your process and results, with a focus on the semantic triples that express the core relationships in your system.



11 January 2022 / Week 11
Knowledge Graphs
Platform Environments

Assignment: For next week, please review "What’s so smart about the Smart Citizen?" by Mark Shepard and Antonina Simeti, as well as one additional article of your choice in Smart Citizens, edited by Drew Hemment and Anthony Townsend.



18 January 2022 / Week 12
Synthetic Realities
Post-Physical and Networked Interfaces

Assignment: TBA



25 January 2022 / Week 13
Debug Lab

Assignment: TBA



1 February 2022 / Week 14
Final Presentations