Critical Machines

ARC480H1 F1
Instructor: Maria Yablonina
Meeting Section: L0102
Fall 2022

“A critical technical practice will, at least for the foreseeable future, require a split identity -- one foot planted in the craft work of design and the other foot planted in the reflexive work of critique. " - Philip E. Agre, 1997

The Critical Machines course will be focusing on the development of technical, conceptual, and critical skills and knowledges for working at the intersection of technology and critique. Throughout the course the students are invited to develop, prototype, make, and program physical and digital machines designed to interrogate the role of technology in the contemporary world.

Throughout the course technical skilling will be supplemented with discussions and reading assignments focusing on the critical aspects of computational design and robotics in architecture, art, and culture. The first seven weeks of the course we will focus on technical skill building and readings through small week-long assignments designed to get everyone up to speed technically and conceptually. In this time, we will cover technical tutorials in physical computing, programming, and computational design accompanied by lectures delivered by instructor and guest speakers. In the second part of the course the students will focus on the development of their individual projects. During this project phase additional tutorials and technical expertise will be introduced based on the project requirements.

The students are expected to have a strong foundation in computational design and physical computing prior to taking this class. Previous experience with Grasshopper and Arduino is required. It is highly recommended that students take ARC380 Physical Computing course prior to enrolling in the Critical Machines class.