Vibrant Technology Research Group

"The word vibrant refers on the one hand to a kind of physical movement, specifically vibration or the rapid, rhythmical movement to and from. However, vibrancy also emphasizes vitality, or the capacity to live. A technology that is vibrant is one that can initiate its own movement and generate its own energy, physical or virtual. A vibrant technology is a source of aliveness. The idea of vibrancy in technology can be envisioned by the metaphor of a cat vs. a dog. Dogs know when it is time to play, when an intruder is approaching, when their owner needs consolation. Dogs are dedicated and loyal pets striving to please. Cats on the other hand are independent, interested in humans only as part of a greater ecosystem, not the center of their universe. The cat surprises. The cat interrupts. The cat comes and goes. The cat does not live for others; it lives with others. The cat represents vibrancy: dynamic, self-centered yet engaged in a dialogic relationship with humans. Vibrancy is concerned with how technologies engage with people, how they enable people to participate, how they produce context with us. Importantly, the term vibrant pulls attentions away from the question of what people want from technologies, vibrancy asks us to consider the possibility that, along with people, technologies have some kind of agency; that technologies can generate their own movement, that they are participants in life with people, institutions, events, and other things. Vibrant technologies are willful, social and mobile. They can intervene, interrupt or change our minds. They are co-dependent, relying on humans and their environment as sources of information and action. They enable participation and forge new relationships between humans, technology and the environment."
Maria Bezaitis, Chapter in [Radical Flux, Intel Press, 2011]

Contact: Heather Dewey-Hagborg ~ hdh216 at nyu dot edu
Google group : you should receive an invitation, sign up!
Post your weekly blog post updates to the class wiki

Meet weekly Weds. From 4-5pm in the meeting rooms.
Each week we will meet to check in on the project groups.
This is an opportunity for each group to raise questions, theoretical and technical, and to share progress milestones.
Each project will get approx. 15 minutes to report/discuss each week so plan accordingly.
Meetings are not optional, they are mandatory so check with me ahead of time if you will miss any.


Reading List:
You are expected to read the following at your own pace.
Include a discussion of each reading on your blog and reference these ideas in your presentations.

Final Deliverables:
The final deliverables will be technological prototypes exploring new interpretations of technological agency.
Students will be expected to actively participate in all project meetings and to document their progress with weekly blog posts and to link to each post on the class wiki.
Final products are expected to be fully functional working models demonstrating the students' concepts.