Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Technology Assembly Line

Today I met with a group of teachers to discuss a cross-curricular project to teach students about "perception" through famous artists. This gives us a chance to teach a number of embedded concepts, such as point-of-view, perspective, empathy, etc. Earlier in the year, we focused on Normal Rockwell's Homecoming. This month we're focusing on the works of Diego Rivera. I'm going to use a section from his Detroit Industry murals, pictured to the right.

Although I'd heard of Rivera, I wasn't really familiar with his work - it's really cool. This image really floored me. I like the sense of leverage to the left side - every man working in concert to build the V8 heart of a Ford automobile. It's also a paradox. Who is controlling who in this painting? Is it the men, creating utility from raw ore and modern technology? Or is it the belching furnace and octopus like machinery, controlling the men like puppets. Regardless, this reminded me of working in my computer lab all day - a similar paradox. We like to think of technology as a ticket to freedom (the internet, free will, ideas as power). Yet these same machines need to be fed, requiring all of our attention and energy to create something.

It's a weird dance.

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