Technologies and the Body
Design Cultures + Creativity
University of Maryland, College Park
Humans use their bodies for labor: for obtaining food and water, for dancing, singing, exercising, moving, sleeping, and stillness. Yet various technologies mediate our experiences with the world around us, from our commercial farming practices and god’s-eye camera surveillance, to fitness trackers and video games. Drawing on the relationships between embodiment and design, this course will investigate how bodies are constructed through the use of technologies in space over time. We will look first to the ‘essentialized’ medical body to understand its physical anatomy and the constructed spatial histories of sex, gender, race, and ability. In doing so, we will investigate the relationships between hearing-listening-sound, seeing-watching-surveillance, and eating-digesting to understand how technologies mediate various bodies through cultural notions of whose bodies count and how. Using design methodologies, we will explore how we come to know our bodies through various modes and technologies. We will then experiment with multiple forms of media and methods to design new interfaces and relationships between bodies and technologies.