Visionary Studio, Fall 2016: Unplugged, by Daniel Aktas, Peter Tresnan, Caitlin Nicole Gibbons


Technology continues to generate new tools for communication and artistic production.

We are all undeniably dependent on technological tools and gadgets in our everyday lives. The Internet, virtual reality, social media, digital self-modification, and other tools and digital spaces alter our lives and the ways in which we communicate and see ourselves and the world around us.

Contemporary artists are increasingly using technology in their work: both as an artistic medium and an opportunity to question and critique our use of it. After looking at the work of artists such as Krzysztof Wodiczko, Cory Arcangel, and Trevor Paglen, this unit introduces a wide range of artistic media to explore the state of technology and consider different perspectives.

Students consider and visualize their own ideas about technology and create work in response to the question:

Does technology control us or do we control technology?

Over the course of eight weeks, students tackle this big questions through an investigation around a series of sub-questions. These include:

What is technology?

What is the difference between the oral, the written, and the technological? How can we respond to messages/ information around us?

How have analog behaviors changed to digital ones? What does “outdated” mean? What happens when a physical object’s purpose becomes mechanized?

How do we communicate with each other today? Has technology redefined a “conversation”?

What is the difference between a user and a machine? Who uses technology?

How does technology intersect with culture and media? What role does technology play in our lives?

Visionary Studio: Unplugged, Unit Plan