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ART-301P Survey of Making-Methods, Materials and Meaning

3 Credits

This interdisciplinary course explores basic aspects of "making"--processes, material, meaning and results-and how the results shaped the course of societies. We will focus on tangible things, while we also consider how concepts function as tools. At the heart of the course is the question: "what is a tool?" Our review will be organized around basic questions: who, what, where, when, why and how. Through lectures, discussions, field trips and assignments, students will investigate the historical sweep of what it means "to make" an object and their effects on technology and society. That exploration will span a chronology from the first use of tools; through industrial processes; to innovative, present day production. The course will look into the evolution of "making," from the organic materials, to current applications, in which data and even human cells serve as raw materials. Subjects range from fundamentals like the wheel to neural networks and artificial intelligence. In the process, we will contrast and compare human and animal use and creation of tools.