Digital Media Off-the-Grid
Taught By: Rory Solomon
Off-the-grid usually connotes freedom, autonomy, and withdrawal from infrastructural dependency and the strictures governing modern life. But the status of being off-the-grid is experienced differently depending on one’s subject position. For normative subjects being off-the-grid is often framed as technological liberation that manifests as mobility, ecological self-sufficiency, shedding social obligation, and sovereignty over one’s private property. For various marginalized populations however, being off-the-grid can mean being on the wrong side of various so-called “digital divides” – that is, lacking connectivity or access to necessary tools. In all of these senses, the digital often figures prominently. In this class we will examine how the digital mediates off-the-grid narratives, and how off-the-grid infrastructures are often seen as undergirding fantasies of digital technology. We will read texts in media studies and critical race theory to explore how the grid hails different subjects differently and consider techniques for getting off grids in the contexts of surveillance, race, ecological living, transgender categorizations, and communication networks. We will conclude by endeavoring to answer why it is that digital technologies, with their complex dependencies on vast infrastructures, are nonetheless frequently associated with off-the-grid fantasies, as with control centers for "microgrids,” or when “cyberspace” is hailed problematically as an electronic “frontier.” Coursework will include hands-on work exploring how the digital mediates off-the-grid phenomena: communication experiments in wireless mesh networking and critical making with non-screen interfaces and solar power.
College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)
Department: Culture and Media (LCST)
Campus: New York City (GV)
Course Format: Seminar (R)
Max Enrollment: 18
Add/Drop Deadline: February 6, 2022 (Sunday)
Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 17, 2022 (Sunday)
Seats Available: Yes
* Seats available but reserved for a specific population.
* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 6:54pm 6/26/2022 EDT