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Alexei Taylor, Author

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Marhaba. Welcome.

Machine Dreams
Professor Debra Levine
Writing Intensive Fall 2012

Machines have provided the means for artists to dream different worlds into existence. Machines produce new forms of knowledge and their mechanisms impact how we structure our thoughts, our language, and even our bodies. Culture makers have always seized upon new technologies to communicate radical breaks in how in how we perceive time, movement, spacesimilarity and difference among human beings, and operations of political power.

We have explored how artists use machines to demonstrate radical breaks with earlier ideas about nature and culture, self and other, and political and social interactions. We read critical texts and viewed a variety of forms of art throughout the ages to ask:
What are the consequences and fears of engaging machines to exceed the physical, perceptual, intellectual, and aesthetic limitations of any era’s conventional aesthetic forms? Why are artists continually at the forefront of incorporating new technologies in any and every era?

We examined how writers, visual artists, filmmakers, performers and game designers have creatively engaged technology and machines—mirrors, camera obscuras, phonographs, photocopiers, projectors, telephones, computers, and satellites —to reveal and challenge assumptions about what we see and experience.  This digital book, Machine Dreams, is a class collaboration that demonstrates our exploration of how contemporary and historical technologies -- those that are always new and avant-garde when they first emerged -- have drastically changed what culture looks like and how technology mediates and produces how we understand ourselves as human and social.
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