In this course, students will participate in the conceptualization and development of an exhibition on the history of the design of computer devices. Class visits from curators, conservators, technologists, and programmers will be supplemented by readings on curation techniques and on the treatment computers as objects of cultural heritage.
We will study the changes in the shape, design, and technological capacities of devices, the organization of the computer marketplace, and the cultural significance of computers. Readings by design thinkers such as Don Norman, Alan Kay, Bill Moggridge, and Brenda Laurel will be balanced with critical theory from Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, and Bruno Latour, and media theory from Marshall McLuhan, Lisa Gitelman, and Stuart Hall.
Students will conceive design ideas for the physical space of the exhibition and for possible digital interactives, and will develop other media connections to the project. Research projects on students’ particular interests will contribute to the evolving scope of the project, giving substance to questions of the role of scholarship in improving digital information efficacy and fluency.