Infrastructure and Aesthetics

Infrastructure and Aesthetics

October 10, 2023
Infrastructure and Aesthetics

Today’s Objective

Week 8 takes an interdisciplinary turn, exploring the relationship between AI's technological infrastructure and aesthetic principles. Students will study AI-driven art and design, bridging the gap between technology and creativity. Drawing from Benjamin's and Simanowski's works, the class aims to cultivate an appreciation for the artistic potential of AI, understanding how technology is both a tool and a canvas for creative expression.

Lecture Notes

<insert slides link>

Key Concepts

  • Infrastructure: The underlying foundation or basic framework of a system or organization (from Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction").
  • Aesthetics: A set of principles governing the idea of beauty at a given time and place (from Simanowski's "Digital Art and Meaning").

To Read (Before Class)


A Cyborg Manifesto

Read the introduction (or more!) to Aesthetic Programming

To Watch

Harraway re-works her original essay in this presentation. It’s always good to hear from the actual author.

Student Facilitation Reading

"Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World" by Meredith Broussard (Section 1)

Summary: Broussard’s work critically examines the limitations of AI in understanding the world, providing an important perspective on AI's aesthetics and technological infrastructure.

Critical Questions:

  1. What are the main limitations of AI, as outlined in "Artificial Unintelligence"?
  2. How does Broussard's work intersect with the idea of AI as both a tool and canvas for creative expression?
  3. What implications does this reading have for AI-driven art and design?
  4. How does Broussard challenge common perceptions of AI's capabilities?
  5. In what ways can the limitations of AI be addressed or embraced in artistic practices?

To Watch

In Class Assignment

To Do

Read today’s materials before class & take notes on your reading
Come to class and participate in the readings and activities
‼️ Write a one page (~300 words) journal prompt on: Turn three of the prompts you will use in your prototype along with key quotes from the this week’s readings. Once you’ve got both of those things on paper, write two or three critical reflection sentences on how they might be connected. (
Final (35%)
Be sure to use the readings as background and include at least one quote or key passage from the reading.
Turn in all your assignments on Friday on eLearning