Re-Imagining the Body |||| Design, Data, Values and Intersectionality
There are few terrains that evoke such socio-political anxieties and ambitions as the human body. Our contemporary moment is characterized by a shift in who can understand, analyze and ‘hack’ the body. Consumer biosensors, citizen science movements such as biohacking, and patient power movements such as participatory medicine, all use technology to challenge the status quo around who can demonstrate expertise about the body. They bring both opportunities and responsibilities. How do we engage with this computational turn that now marks the everyday experience of our biology?
In this course, we will take a close look at critical debates and scholarship about the body. We will draw from art, design, theory and activism. This course will introduce and ground itself in the philosophies of critical technical practice and reflective design. That is, not only will we examine the various ways in which society conceives of the body, through the lens of data, posthumanism, nation, race, gender and dis/ability, we will also unpack how we have been personally formed by those very debates and influences. What underlying values and assumptions do you bring to engaging the body through technology? What kinds of norms are you reinforcing with your actions? What would you like to change?
This course will culminate in a set of group projects, all in conversation with each other, that we will publish online to a public audience.