What was the first thing you did this morning? Did you reach for your phone to check email, Facebook, Twitter? Open your laptop to play your favorite song? What was the last thing you did before going to bed? When you stand on a subway platform waiting for a train, what do see? Yes, the typical trash and rats in the tunnel, maybe a musician asking for money, but what about the other waiting passengers? It’s likely that most of them are on their phones in some way – reading an e-book, tackling their inbox, checking Facebook, or maybe listening to music.
This is something that is notable everywhere. When you step outside your office onto the street, or sit down on a bench in a park, there aren’t many people who engage with the world anymore, let alone strangers. Even walking, there are those who slow their pace in order to […]
It began with: “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Star Trek: The Original Series only made it through three of those five years, but the story lived on in four additional series and thirteen films to date. The original crew’s mission was picked up by the crew of the Enterprise-D in the series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it is this series which will be the focus of my project.
The original series premiered four years after John Glenn orbited the Earth in Friendship Seven, and concluded just one month before Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, but the historical influences that shaped the show’s creation ranged far beyond advances in space exploration. Star Trek came on the […]
Section 1: A Universe of Possibilities
The first section will represent a section of the universe. The visitors will enter a large sphere, black, with small lights all around – a 3-dimensional representation of the universe that the visitors can walk through. There will be ramps (clear – with railings! maybe plexiglass tubes?) through this space so that they can walk up and around the space. Around the edges of the sphere will be balconies (also clear) as well. Each of these “stars” (lights) will have a clear orb around them that the visitor can touch. Once an orb is touched a projection of an astronomical phenomena will appear: various star systems, pulsars, galaxies, nebulae, and others!
In this section I wish to expose the visitor to the vastness, beauty, and vision of possibilities of space. They will be immediately thrust into a space completely unlike the one they left behind, though […]
Project Proposal: Babel Video Game
Summary: My project will draw from the novel Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany to create a prototype video game called that explores how programming and communication shape reality and individuality.
1. Background on Babel-17 Original Text.
Babel-17 is set in a war-torn universe. The Invaders and The Alliance have been fighting for an indeterminable amount of time, for reasons that no one seems to remember. The Invaders are increasingly on the winning side, having developed a powerful weapon: the language of Babel-17.
When a person uses (meaning speaks or thinks in) Babel-17, they obtain a heightened sense of patterns and strategy that gives them a nearly undefeatable military advantage. This comes at the cost of self-identity: there is no singular pronoun “I” or concept of self in the language. This has huge implications for the reality and identity of people using the language. As Rydra Wong, Delany’s protagonist, asks […]
Although aware of some disparities with the instructions for the final assignment, here’s what I want to do:
Rick and Morty is an exceptionally self-conscious piece of science-fiction. The two main characters, Rick the scientist and his grandson Morty, are obviously a redefinition of Back to the Future’s Doc and Marty. But more than in just appearance, Rick and Morty, is very explicit about the show’s close attention to discussions within theoretical physics about the fabric of our reality. Specifically, the show adopts the multiverse theory to manipulate the plot. This hypothesis about the universe, of which Dr. Stephen Hawking and Dr. Brian Greene among others are proponents, is currently in the center of a heated discussion among theoretical physicists.
Science fiction has always had a close relationship to the historic moment and its technological capabilities and advancements. I get that the project is meant to be about the past & […]
Original Text Description – Old Sociocultural Horizon
Rather than opt for the course of picking a single science fiction text, I want to pick a theme that pervades many science fiction texts. I am interested in examining the agency-safety, humanity-embodiment relationship. A number of characters in science fiction text that we’ve engaged with in this course come to mind. I want to focus on three agency spectra. First, is the Jarvis-Ultron-Vision spectrum from Age of Ultron. Second is the Robbie-Speedy-Cutie. Finally is the Hnau-Hross/Sorn/Pfiftrigg/Human-Eldil-Oyarsa spectrum from C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet.
Spectrum is a weak word as it assumes linearity. Part of my aim in this project is a deconstruction of the linear nature of agency and consciousness. The old sociocultural horizon sees consciousness as linear and hierarchical. This is present in all three spectra. Jarvis for example […]
Jumper, the first novel of Steven Gould, follows a teenager, David Rice, who lives with an abusive, alcoholic father. David discovers the ability to teleport out of his difficult home situation. The novel explores teleportation as a means of escape, and as David learns and grows, he teleports his way to love and wealth, and decides to use his new powers to reconnect with his missing mother. He succeeds in reconnecting with her, but she is later killed in a terrorist attack. By the novel’s end, David comes to understand that while he can escape from certain circumstances, other features of his life, namely loss, cannot be escaped or avoided. David ultimately seeks therapy in order to learn how to accept this fact.
Our contemporary consumer reality so far lacks teleportation as an available option; however, the next best attempts at bilocation or omnipresence involve our use of technology. Social networks, […]
For my final project I plan to map and and display, in an interactive fashion, the world of New New York City from the television show Futurama on top of a map of New York City circa 1999. Futurama, first released in 1999, features a main character, Philip J. Fry, who is frozen on December 31st, 1999 and awakens on December 31st, 2999. Much of the show is based in and around New York City (called New New York City in the year 3000), and much of the show’s humor and social commentary comes from the way the city is reimagined. New York, both the city itself and ideas of it, are what drive much of the shows identity.
I want to compare New New York to 1999 New York specifically, as opposed to New York in the modern day. Futurama […]
James Tiptree Jr.’s “The Girl Who Was Plugged In” examines the ways technology can intervene, expand, and complicate the relationships and boundaries between a body and a person. First published in 1973, it is steeped in the cultural questions of the day regarding women, their bodies, and their agency. Written by an author who used an assumed name and gender, it considers the idea of a created self that exists concurrently, but in some ways separately, from the corporeal self. “The Girl Who Was Plugged In,” speaks about the hope offered by, and the inevitable failure of technological transformation in the face of a shallow and unyieldingly capitalist society.
“The Girl Who Was Plugged In” thrusts us into to a corporately-controlled dystopic future, where celebrities referred to as gods are taste-makers who influence consumers through product placement. It is a macabre world, grotesque in its superficiality, and even our […]
A Metamorphosis of Metamorphosis
Metamorphosis is a science fiction text that questions our tendency to privilege human beings over all other species. More specifically, this novella forces us to reconsider the emphasis we routinely place on the human body as a necessary quality of classifying as a human being.
Kafka tells this story from the first person point of view of a young man, Gregor Samsa, who wakes up one morning in the body of a giant vermin. Gregor maintains a continuity of consciousness from when he previously occupied a human body. We know certain physical features of the transformed Gregor like the presence of many tiny legs (one is painfully crushed in on a doorframe) and a strange mouth that inhibits human speech. However, by refusing to further clarify the physical […]
When we think about the human body, there is usually a standard image that comes to mind: two eyes side by side, a nose between, two arms and legs, hands and feet with five fingers. What if we changed the order of things and had a hand with five fingers where our right eye is and had our right eye curled inside the palm of our left hand. Would we still be human or alien, or other? In a world where lip injections are a sweet sixteen gift and we can move body fat around to create curves, how is this remodelling of the human body any different from having our mouths be on the side of our heads?
Inspired by Julio Cortazar’s short story Axolotl, I would like to create a video game for my final project where players get to choose what they look like and then must live […]