SFPC: Day 22 - Politics and Computation: Class Two

Our second Politics of Computation class with Taeyoon. We discussed technology as a means of social control and how it might be possible to modify or improve our relationship with technologies that administer control.

On the Way to School

From my walk to school today.

Reminds me of Ingrid’s walk-and-talk on internet infrastructure.

Stuffed cat

In front of the Bus Stop Cafe on Hudson.

Bus Stop skeleton

In front of a laundromat.

Dead clown laundromat

Taeyoon's Class

For last week’s homework, Taeyoon assigned us 10 pages on Jonathan Crary’s “24/7”, a book about work and time in the age of Late Capitalism, as well as a six-page reading of Deleuze’s “Postscript on Societies of Control”.

I enjoyed this reading. It gives context to the world of computing, to why learning to program is a worthwhile endeavor. I find that there is lots that I would like to learn, but I often run out of gas when trying to learn a certain programming language or programming technique.

I think I’m more of a “humanities thinker” than an engineer, so the critical theory and reading about activism, surveillance, and culture are things that I interface with more directly.

"Can We Have a Different Relationship with Technology"

In today’s class we talked about technology as a means to control. For example, the design of the panopticon is technology. From the panopticon, we talked about the Eames Brothers, Kodak Eastman, and then Microsoft and Google.

We also discussed:

  • Facebook as “the new tobacco industry”
  • Social media literacy
  • Data privacy in Japan and Korea
  • “What’s troubling about startups is the notion of ‘exit’.” - Taeyoon
  • Using the start-up ecosystem as an artist who uses technology
  • The word “control”
  • Call centers as “control technology”
  • Delueze: “The corporation is a spirit, a gas.”
  • “We seek unmonitored, unmotivated spaces as a creative people.” - Taeyoon
  • Artists trying to map unmonitored spaces in Singapore.
  • The Pentagon, as “as a panopticon inside a panopticon”
  • Reliance-internet.org
  • Facebook and “the New Colonialism”
  • Brave New World, PRISM, Snowden
  • Dakota Access Pipeline protests and how Facebook treats dissent. “Checking in” at Standing Rock.

Taeyoon showed us a bunch of neat art projects that use tech, as well. James Bridle’s “Drone Shadows”, Taeyoon’s own project, “Shoot Me if You Can”, “NSAHEYYYY”, by Surya Mattu. Also, occupy.here and AdNauseum.


Our homework is to “plan a week without google”. We’re allowed to define what that means. Next Monday, we are assigned to live out our plan. And finally, we will be writing a Medium post at the end of the two weeks about our experience.

Today’s class reminded me of an episode of a favorite podcast, Benjamen Walker’s The Theory of Everything. The episode is about Jeremy Bentham, the designer of the panopticon.

For Lunch:

A prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich from San Panino. Yum!

For Dinner:

Leftover steamed dumplings, probably :)

Audio from Taeyoon’s class today.

Written on October 31, 2016