Rather than static and monolithic, our notion of the human self can be regarded as a shifting entity, perhaps a structured assemblage that, while being molded by historical and cultural conditions, actively pursues adaptation to a diversity of contexts. In her historical survey on The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt showed how in Western civilisation, the concept of self has changed over time, from within the private confines of the home into the public space of debate and political participation of modern society.
In our contemporary world of pervasive information and telecommunications technologies and ubiquitous computation devices that monitor our every move, increased attention is focused on the self. Social media network applications for example are faulted with encroaching into our private life and affairs. Yet what is it that we mean when we talk about the self? And Agency? Is there any way that we could make such notions visible? Can doing so enable us to device better strategies and approaches for preservation of our boundaries as individuals and citizens with agency?
The course combines lectures with studio sessions and design exercises. We read works related to contemporary media art theory and philosophy, and we watch movies and online documentaries. The course carries a load of up to six credits and is a semester-long endeavour.
1. Hannah Arendt was a 20th century political philosopher. Born in Germany where she was trained as a philosopher, she emigrated to the United States in 1940, during the Second World War. Among her most important works are: The Origins of Totalitarianism and The Human Condition. Please consult the Course Materials section for more information about her works.