Thursday, September 29, 2005

Signiflier of Progress?

Retro Futuro

Powered by dual surplus T-58 5200HP turboshaft engines and dual counter rotating lift rotors for stability.
This buggy has a top speed of 300 MPH and a flying time of 3.5 hours.

Our In-class Test

So, here's the example we created in class.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Automobile Design and Signifiers of Progress.

I'd like to comment on Roland Barthes' Essay on The New Citroen. I thought you may all find this amusing and funny. I used to for a time thought I wanted to be a transportation designer so I spent some time studying at particular college of industrial design. I just wanted to mention that in my woodshop 1 class we had an assignment called, "speed form." Students were to create an abstract sculptural objects out of fiber glass that communicated, "forms moving through space at high speed." I just think it's really funny that a lot of the forms you see out there in automobiles communicate the idea of "modern" and "progress" by virtue of visual communication of speed. If you can imagine a spherical ball of clay smushed into a "fast" ellipse that's what most of the projects looked like. We take it for granted that velocity signifies speed and progress in our society when the engines are virtually just a more updated version of the same technology (internal combustion engines). There's more I want to comment on this topic and will definitely post some links and pictures in the near future.

More on Industrial Design exercises: "A Glimpse of My Life Before Barthes"

Sleep deprived and exhausted I sat across the classroom wall plastered with countless shiny renderings of seemingly "futuristic cars." Our transportation design 1 class were to design a "sporty" two-seater. As the student presenting finished his sentence, the teacher paused before commenting, "'s not sporty enough you know, it's not sexy. This line needs to be faster."

It got me thinking about what we, as a society considers "sexy" and how some cars are sexy and others are meant to be tough. Does "sexy" just mean curvaceous? As in the stereotyped body of a "woman" is supposedly voluptuous to the (currently) mostly male dominated trans industry? What did my instructor mean when he said, "faster line?" Do lines have fast or slow qualities? I can't stop thinking about how we, transportation design students, attempted to evoke emotions in the customers by signifying aspects of our design with cultural cliches. A classmate designing for the "women" market proposed a car based on the styling cues of make-up products. ARGH! I can't help but note the attempt to generalize make-up products as signifiers of a vastly diverse group of people called women. And then there's the whole thing about shiny. It's never shiny enough. What|why is human fascination with shiny? Does shiny still today signify the class status of being able to afford the long laborious process of acquiring and keeping a shine? O! How shiny became a status symbol! Note the birth of the car detailing business not long after the invention of the automobile. Even though cars are the least practical of all products to have a polished finish, nevertheless we have but shiny cars. (Note: recently the Smart Car was designed with interchangeable thermoplastic body panels. Although I like shiny its soft sheen is rather a pleasant contrast!) See:, and for pictures.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Praise His Noodly Majesty!

Posting to the Blog

Some students are still expressing confusion and frustration about posting to the blog. In the upper left hand corner of the blog do you see an orange B icon -- the Logo for Blogger? Click on it. It will take you to a "dashboard" (if you haven't posted before, it may prompt you to sign in first with your screenname and password). Click on the name of our blog on the menu that appears. Then there will be a new menu on which you'll see the titles of all the posts on the blog so far. Click the big blue "create" button on the upper left hand corner of that menu and you'll get a window you can type text into. You can always go back and edit your own posts just by clicking on the titles of the ones you wrote yourself. Play around with the thing, get used to it a little. Let me know if there are still problems.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

URLs referred to in class.... (the internet archived as it really was before banner ads until the present day) (the "good guys" of finance? see for yourself)

About the Internet Bookmobile:

FSM Information (for the devout and the curious)

Intelligent Design has it's day in court. Is anybody else paying attention?

Peace and Love,


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

For Tomorrow

Remember, we are going to begin class tomorrow by returning briefly to Marx and the ink-shedding exercise we were in the middle of as class ended. Next, we'll turn our attention to Barthes. Everybody should have in mind a few of the short esaylets that they found particularly interesting or problematic so we can have a good discussion. Tomorrow I'm handing in the final course roster so it is crucial that everybody attend tomorrow -- or that you contact me tonight if you cannot make it -- otherwise I might accidentally drop you from my latest list. I'm pleased to see participation in the blog is rising, but let's see some more life in this thing, people! See you tomorrow morning.

Monday, September 19, 2005

"Disposing of Marx and Engels Labor Power"

"Disposing of Marx and Engels Labor Power" documentation of a performance piece/installation

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

encountering the blogosphere

I see why the blogs are important--not just as an extended classroom, but also as a contemporary cultural phenomena that both deserves critical thought, as well as a vehicle to facilitate that process on a global scale. This is my first blog post. It is overwhelmingly scary that anyone, anywhere could read this. Maybe it's the fear of saying the "wrong" thing, offending someone, or saying something ridiculously stupid. But then again, it's also the possibility of connecting to other human beings on a deeper level. Obviously since my communication takes place in the form of writing, I don't have to labor under anxiety to get past hours of small talks before being able to discuss these delicious mind boggling topics. So I'm getting over my fears by writing a disclaimer: that inevitably I will offend someone and am bound to say something naive or misspell some words. So be it.

With that said, having heard about blogging in the media lately, I was curious. I looked it up in the wikipedia [] WOAh! I had no idea this whole other universe existed. There are all these new words I don't even know. Words invented to describe a new frontier previously unknown to humanity. It's quite amazing...what would Marx have to say about all this? Marx would probably have a blog. I wonder what he would write . . .

Monday, September 12, 2005

Cyborg Artists

Here are some cyborg-ish artists. They are all intererested in the confluence of body/machine in different ways, and a couple even share Haraway's... optimisim (?).

Lee Bul

Tim Hawkinson


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Cyborg Manifesto: The Comic Book

Well, I've got mixed feelings about it, but certainly it exerts a certain sick fascination and deserves a look: The Cyborg Manifesto: The Comic Book.

Wikipedia: Critical Theory

Mabel pointed out to me that the Wikipedia entry for the term Critical Theory covers much of the same ground I rambled on about last week in our Introductory discussion. She's right, it's really pretty good. Check it out if you want a concise refresher or overview of the history, problems, methods of critical theory.


Critical Theory A
Critique, Subjection, Prostheses

Fall 2005

Thursdays, 9.00-11.45, Conference Room
Instructor: Dale Carrico,
Office Hours: Before and after class and by appointment.

Sept 1 Introduction
Donna Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs”

Sept 8 Diagnostic Essay Due, 2-3pp.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology

Sept 15 Marx and Engels, The German Ideology (continued)

Sept 22 Roland Barthes, Mythologies

Sept 29 Barthes, Mythologies (coninued)

Oct 6 Louis Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses”

Oct 13 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish
Paper Due, 4-5pp. due

Oct 20 Foucault, Discipline and Punish (continued)

Oct 27 Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality

Nov 3 Foucault, History of Sexuality (continued)

Nov 10 Judith Butler, Undoing Gender

Nov 17 Butler, Undoing Gender (continued)

Nov 24-25 Thanksgiving Holiday

Dec 1 Wendy Brown, Politics Out of History
Take Home Exam Due

Dec 8 Brown, Politics Out of History (continued)

Dec 15 Concluding Remarks
Donna Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs” (revisited)
Paper Due, 4-5pp.