Finishing Up

It’s been quite a semester, and somehow we’ve reached the end. Working with my drawing tablet through the last few months has been rewarding in a number of ways I never thought it would be. It’s made me think about myself, about the things with which I surround myself, and of their own lives outside of me. As my final project, I’ve produced two mini-podcast episodes, each an audio-essay on an aspect of my drawing tablet. For this project, I wanted to revisit the podcast we listened to, Everything is Alive, with a bit more of an academic bent, but still not too much. The goal was to interact with some of the concepts discussed throughout the semester, while keeping the tone entertaining and the content accessible for a wider audience. I’ve returned to the blog posts on Thick Description and Fixing is Knowing for the first episode, and expanded them a bit with a short discussion on continuity, connection, and obsolescence. For episode two, I read Donna Haraway’s ‘A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century,’ and while it brought me back especially to Objects Have Social Lives, I primarily wanted to grapple with the notion of the cyborg and of my object’s role in my life. I’ve attempted to blend together approaches we’ve worked with and through throughout the semester, thinking with Geertz (describing my tablet), Csikszentmihalyi (the importance of my thing in defining my self), Appadurai (movements and social transformations), Stallybrass (the value of my tablet, but also, its impact on my value), and a bit of Latour (the folding together of human and non-human) in approaching Haraway–all while trying to make these concepts more easily digestible. And, then, of course, there is the second central goal: not to lose the object at the center of it all, my drawing tablet. I hope you enjoy!
My tablet, photographed from above.
My tablet, drawn by myself using the tablet and Krita software.
Keuffel & Esser Sketching Board, collections of Hoboken Historical Museum
Reverse of Keuffel & Esser board, collections of Hoboken Historical Museum.

Donna Haraway’s essay is included in her book Manifestly Haraway, which can be purchased here. For transcripts for these podcast episodes, see the next blog post.

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