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Hybrid Action: Physical Intelligence in Digital Culture

  • January 14, 2014
  • By a2ru      
This class studies human movement including systems of thought and practice evolving since the turn of the last century


The term ‘hybrid action’ introduces the notion of movement, expressed in both the physical and virtual worlds. This class studies human movement, along with its systems of thought and practice, evolving since the turn of the last century. This field of study, broadly called somatics, emphasizes experiential frameworks for learning and enabling embodied knowledge, or put another way, for expanding our ‘physical intelligence’. These studies range from anatomical function and form to the most current research in neuroscience, philosophy and the arts. Providing a greater understanding of ones’ physiological system, this class introduces theoretical frameworks and physical practice with the goal of intervention and innovation into design strategies for experiential interactive media systems.

In parallel, the class looks at interactive technologies that extend and enhance our possibilities for movement, interaction, communication and understanding. Metaphorical and technical connections between kinesthetic and technologic material are discovered and applied through class projects emphasizing a process of research and prototyping. Through both group and individual projects, this class allows students to collaborate on small and larger scale systems, developing strategies for building hybrid systems that consider movement and digital media in the creation of work that impacts scale, development and design.

Short readings, written responses and in-class discussion aid in the comprehension and critical thinking around concepts of embodiment from literature, the arts, human-computer design, philosophy, linguistics and neuroscience.

The digital culture concentration in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts focuses on the creative exploration of how new media is influencing our culture, or rather, the way we live, learn, create and communicate. The digital culture concentration allows students to enhance their program of study with integrated, interdisciplinary training in creative processes and technical skills in new media with cultural applications. The curriculum is outcomes based rather than course sequence based. The curriculum uses an innovative proficiency-based network to connect courses across academic disciplines, instead of traditional methods such as course prerequisites. Proficiencies in the curriculum identify common generalized learning outcomes across disciplines participating in the initiative.

Syllabus: Hybrid Action-Physical Intelligence in Digital Culture