FI2241 – Critical Making course

August 17, 2009matt.rattoevents0

Here’s some more context:

Re: critical making. It’s a attempt to link up STS and design methods and skills. Our goal is not to make devices but to use ‘making’ to enhance our critical thinking about complex socio-technical issues. There are a number of ‘open’ technologies developed initially for artists and designers that make it now possible to get non-technical students productive quickly. These include an open hardware microcontroller and development environment called arduino (, and an open source software development¬† called Processing ( Both of these have rich communities of developers associated with them, lots of tutorials and code online. As the semester progresses, I give the students articles to read as well as assignments to build specific objects. The first 1 1/2 hours of the class we discuss the articles and relevant topics and in the second 1 1/2 hours we move to the lab and make stuff.

The current assignment is to build a ‘biased voting machine’ (define bias as well as voting.) In this assignment, we’re addressing issues of delegation and bias, as well as the infrastructural nature of technologies. Voting machines seem such a good case for thinking through these questions, since they represent a double-whammy of delegation-¬† both their purpose (electing representatives) and their function (delegating authority/accountability). Groups are posting – take a look and feel free to comment!

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