Assignment 4: What is critical making today? 

Hanson Robotics Will Mass Produce Humanoid Robot, Sophia
Sophia the Hanson Robotics Robot


In our class discussions on critical making and new media so far, we have talked about a number of concepts from key texts. We’ve debated how these concepts do or do not help us develop a definition of critical making that would speak to our current day technological and social lives. For instance, do ideas of tactical media explored during the heyday of Web 1.0 have any purchase today, when some would argue that we are entering a new digital paradigm all together? What types of issues and problems feel important in digital culture today, and what types of practices might we use to explore and critique them?


For assignment 4, you will write a blog post that explores this question, using concepts we’ve discussed in class. You will choose one topic or theme that you feel is relevant to contemporary digital culture. Some ideas might be, platforms, social media, the environment, media infrastructures, big data, artificial intelligence/ machine learning, cryptocurrencies, virtual reality, access, smart IoT– or anything else you can think of. You will chose one image or artifact that deals with this topic (this could be anything from a social media post, to a news story, an artwork, a specific technology).


In no less than 500 words, please reflect on the following questions: Is your chosen object an example of critical making? Talk about why or why not. If so, why is this the case, and how does critical making function here? If not, how does this object contradict our definition of critical making? How does this object cause us to rethink what critical making means in 2022?


You should use terms from our class discussions. To name a few of the concepts we’ve covered thus far: new versus “old” media, the medium and the message, technological neutrality, critical design, speculative design, control society, tactical media, electronic civil disobedience. You should include an image in your blog post, and post it under the “student blog” section of the course website. After posting, you will be asked to comment in response to two of your peers. 


Blog Post Due: 2/7
Comments Due: 2/9