TCS 152 TCS 152: new trends in technocultural arts
Meets Tues/Thurs 3:10-4:30 Olsen 207

Instructor: Sarah Lewison       socialsculpture at yahoo dot com

course links
Course Description   Links   Notes   more general links   Online readings   machines
ecologies notes
class blogs: Gregory Gaye
Course Forum:Arthropods and Mammals

weekly syllabus
Week 1 Sept 28 Thursday only
How do we define the terms we will work with-> art, technology and science. Where do we draw the lines between each of these? Where do they overlap with other areas of life and study?

Week 2 Oct 3+5
The Production of Science

Natural philosophy, scientific method and separation of disciplines. How science and technology are naturalized through cultural processes. Discuss science studies, Kuhn, Lewinton, amateur science societies, quack science.
Thursday Special Event: Artist Jonathon Keats

  • "Inhaling the Spore"in Mr Wilson's Cabinet of Wonders (READER),
  • "On Spontaneous Combustion, a lecture by Louis PASTEUR"
  • Statement by Mark Dion (HANDOUT)
    Artists: Museum of Jurassic Technology, Thomas Ashcraft, Carrie Dashow Forrest Mims, Margulies (symbiotic photosynthesis) Visiting Lecturer: (pending approval) Jonathan Keats (SF)

    Week 3 Oct 10+12
    Technologies of the Everyday

    Thinking about technology in War and Peace, Health and Sickness.
    Survey and taxonomies of the interpenetration of culture, commerce and technology. What do different technologies do? What are their 'native' geopolitical environments? How might we classify them? How do specific technologies work upon individuals and social groups? How do they alter perceptions of time, distance and material limits?

  • Claire Pentecost on CAE
  • "Iraqi Farmers Aren't Celebrating World Food Day",
  • Potato by Michael Pollen (all in READER)
    Viewing: Inextinguishable Fire (Harun Farocki)
    Artists: Critical Art Ensemble + Harun Farocki + + Amy Balkin
    Field Trip: UCD Department of Viticulture and Enology
    meet at class regular time

    slides and notes on machines

    TUESDAY OCT 10 WATCH: Maquilopolis by Vickie Funari and Sergio de la Torre
    PBS station: POV program (check local time)

    Week 4 Oct 17+19
    Environmental Art and Eco-Action
    "The world is bound in secret knots" How can the interdependencies of life forms be adequately represented? What kinds of tools are used to make revealing or useful interventions? Survey of ecological system-based work since 70s and on dominant concepts in the field.

  • Reading:
  • "A Fable for Tomorrow" by Rachel Carson
  • "Resisting Technology" by Ravi Agarwal
  • Ecovention: Section 1:Introduction And
    Section 8: A Short HIstory and
    one more section of your choice
  • My Relation to Joseph Beuys is Overrated by Mel Chin
  • Peter Fend statement and Project Overview by Stephanie Smith
    Demo: Mushroom cultivation (paper bag method)
    Artists: Klaus Weber, Helen and Newton Harrison, Buster Simpson, Host Analog, Mel Chin, Laurie Palmer, Tiffany Holmes, Peter Fend
    slides from lecture and more notes and links notes

    Week 5 Oct 24+26
    Techno-Visual: Viewing and Surveillance Systems

    What do you need in order to see properly? Whose property is the data gathered from the environment and how can it be used? What are the social implications of legal and technical instruments that produce and commodify information from the surveillance of the activities of daily life?

  • Readings:
  • What have you got to Hide? by Peter Fend and Ingo Gunther
  • excerpt The Body and the Archive by Alan Sekula
  • "Biocollectibles and Body Displays" Body Bazaar: The Market for Human Tissue in the Biotechnology Age by Lori Andrews & Dorothy Nelkin
  • Feet in the Water by Jean Painleve
    Artists and Projects: Trevor Paglen, Nancy Burson, Surveillance Camera Players, Ambient-TV, Peter Fend

    Thursday October 26: Maquilopolis screening on UC Davis Campus, 4 pm
    University Club Lounge. Reception follows.

    Week 6:Oct 31+Nov 2
    Pre-emptive Media and Information Art + visiting artist Brooke Singer

    What are the instruments of the surveillance society? Reworking information and data, re-engineering processes, and re-building devices to redirect the gaze.

  • Readings:
  • Panopticismby Michel Foucault
  • Product of Circumstances by Xavier Le Roy
  • The Work of Artists in a Databased Society by Ricardo Miranda Zuniga
    Field Reports and discussion (Tuesday)
    Visiting Lecturer Thursday: Brooke Singer

    Week 7: Nov 7+9
    Labor and Gender in Techno-culture

    Examining the economics of new technologies and their distribution. Who works in these industries and how have they changed conditions of work? What is the affect of new technologies on regions and populations?

  • Gender Artifacts: Technologies of Bodily Display in Medical Culture by Lisa Cartwright
  • Cyber-Labia by Praba Pilar
    Artists: Subrosa, Pornolab
    Viewings: Derivas de la Precarias.
    Visiting Lecturer: Praba Pilar

    Week 8: Nov 14+16
    Bio-Art: Genomes, Cloning and Eternal Life

    Critical questions and interventions around the production of new life forms through technological means. Readings:

  • "Biocommerce" from Body Bazaar by Lori Andrews & Dorothy Nelkin
  • To Live Forever? by Michio Kaku
  • Ch 2 + 3 from Biology as Ideology by Richard Lewontin
  • Assaying DNA instructions by Paul Vanouse
  • Meat the Future
    Viewing: Rachel Mayeri, Soft Science
  • Paul Vanouse
  • Oren Catts: Symbiotica
  • Tera Galanti (reverse breeding of silkworm)
  • Adam Zaretsky and Workhorse Zoo

    Week 9: Nov 21 Tuesday class only
    The Beach Below the Pavement

    Borrowing a phrase from the Situationists, we will examine infrastructures, real and conceptual; old and new.
    Thursday, we study artist and professional organizations that combine education and technology to increase citizen engagement in their environments. From utopian fantasies, to failed communes to ongoing contemporary projects.

  • Drop City (on the domes) (READER)
  • Military Options in Human Planning by Eyal Weizman (READER)
  • A Measure of Anacoustic Reason by Raqs Media Collective (optional) (READER)


  • Ricardo Miranda Zuniga
  • Center for Urban Pedagogy
  • City Repair

    Nov 23 Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving

    Week 9: Nov 26 + 28
    Instrumental Reversals: Do it Yourself

    science and technology into the hands of the people. Sharing technologies and procedures
    artist practices that involve collaboration and exchange of technologies
    Visiting artist: Joshua Short
    Field Trip: POSSIBLY WILL NOT HAPPEN OR MOVE TO LAST WEEK:Water treatment plant or landfill

  • Rupert Sheldrake interviewed by Barbara Vanderlinden (READER)
  • DIY Survival skim+read what is interesting to you.
  • Science as Social Action by Lewontin (READER)
  • OPTIONAL Places to Intervene in a System by Donella Meadows

  • Limor Fried
  • Home Biotech Hobbyist

    Week 10: Dec 5 + 7 Student presentations (goes into finals week)

    More Artists
    Amy Balkin: Public Smog