The relationship between the humanities, science, and technology has been a matter of consternation for some time. C. P. Snow’s famous 1959 lecture, “The Two Cultures,” epitomizes this anxiety. Snow gave primacy to science and technology, shaming British society and government for not supporting the sciences to the degree it had traditionally supported the humanities. In the 21st century, the confusion continues. While the positions seem simply stirred and jogged by time, there tends to be an overarching consensus that the humanities are useless and out-of-date while technology can do no wrong. This course returns to Snow’s essay in order to look for the gray area of indetermination between the humanities, science, and technology. Our goal is to understand the relationship between art, science, and technology by way of questions of sustainability, population, and apocalyptic collapse.
Named for the 1973 dystopian science fiction film, HUAS 7305 Soylent Green: Readings in
Media Art and Theory focuses on the existential relationship between humans, art, science, and technology. Students engage the seminal texts in history and in our current moment that explain and describe the opportunities, fantasies, and failures of experiments in art, science, and technology. Themes include embodiment, extensions, prosthetics, consciousness, over- population, decline, failure, states of exception, and homo sacer.